Bolton’s Mouth: Writing Checks His Ass Can’t Cash

Bulletin to “Anne Applebaum”:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A18706-2005Mar8.html?referrer=email and others who argue that John Bolton’s “blunt” manner makes him “an ideal candidate to be America’s U.N. ambassador”: your boy has a history of doing stupid things. Competence matters, kids.

Case in point: “Bolton’s fave strategy”:http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2002_03/boltonmarch02.asp of naming countries who
(the US thinks) are violating international arms control agreements. Additionally, he simultaneously derides such agreements as ineffective, apparently appointing the US as judge of who’s behaving correctly and who isn’t.

The Iraq debacle obviously proves why this is asinine, but there is another example: Libya.

Before Libya decided to get rid of its WMD programs in December 2003, Bolton said several times that Tripoli was pursuing a biological weapons program. For example, he “told the BWC Review Conference”:http://www.acronym.org.uk/bwc/revconus.htm in November 2001 that:

bq. The United States believes that Libya has an offensive BW program in the research and development stage, and it may be capable of producing small quantities of agent.

He made a similar statement to the HIRC in June 2003. And in several other places.

Bolton even went so far as to issue a veiled threat against Libya in April 2003:

bq. we are hoping that the elimination of the dictatorial regime of Saddam Hussein and the elimination of all of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction would be important lessons to other countries in the region particularly Syria, Libya and Iran, that the cost of their
pursuit of weapons of mass destruction is potentially quite high.

The problem is that Libya had no BW program, just chemical and nuclear wepaons programs. A senior administration official “said at the time”:http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2004_01-02/Libya.asp that Libya “admitted to past intentions to acquire equipment and develop capabilities related to biological weapons” and had dual-use facilities.

As with Iraq, the administration might say “Well, seemed like a good idea at the time,” but the publicly available evidence suggests that the intel didn’t quite jibe with Bolton’s spiel. The public “CIA 721 reports”:http://www.cia.gov/cia/reports/721_reports/jan_jun2002.html#6 from that time said that “Evidence suggested that Libya also sought dual-use capabilities that could be used to develop and produce BW agents”

Yes, we should be concerned about proliferation if/when the intel warrants such a concern. And sometimes intellligence is ambiguous/inaccurate. Fair play. But it’s just moronic to shoot your mouth off in public when you’re wrong AND simultaneously decrying everyone else’s inability to see the truth.

In case you were wondering, Bolton’s blunt BW talk accomplished exactly nothing when it came to Tripoli’s disarmament. Even the US doesn’t make that argument. [“more here”:http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2004_06/NewsAnalysis.asp].

P.S. There are 3 ACT interviews “here”:http://www.armscontrol.org/ for all you Bolton junkies.

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