Monday, June 06, 2005

Bolton and Downing Street Memo

Key Democrats say likely can't block Bolton

The Senate returns this week from recess and again will face the contested nomination, which has twice been delayed by Democratic concerns about Bolton, the top U.S. diplomat for arms control they say has a record of abusive, erratic behavior that should disqualify him for the sensitive diplomatic job.

"[Bush] is making a mistake, a serious mistake, not only institutionally, but for his own naked self interest".

Speaking of Bolton as a mistake,

Bolton Said to Orchestrate Unlawful Firing

John R. Bolton flew to Europe in 2002 to confront the head of a global arms-control agency and demand he resign, then orchestrated the firing of the unwilling diplomat in a move a U.N. tribunal has since judged unlawful, according to officials involved.

A former Bolton deputy says the U.S. undersecretary of state felt [OPCW head] Jose Bustani "had to go," particularly because the Brazilian was trying to send chemical weapons inspectors to Baghdad. That might have helped defuse the crisis over alleged Iraqi weapons and undermined a U.S. rationale for war.

Bustani was *doing his job*, but that got in the way.

Bolton has been criticized for supposed bullying of junior U.S. officials and for efforts to get them fired. Bustani, a senior official under the U.N. umbrella, says Bolton used a threatening tone with him and "tried to order me around."

Given how America has been throwing its weight around on the global stage the past few years, I

a. am not terribly surprised that this guy Bolton is George W. Bush's choice for ambassador.
b. think it's quite enough, thank you, and this fellow shouldn't be in charge of anything more international than perhaps a Canadian cow living in Minnesota?

Now, recall that at this same point in time, the US had already decided to invade Iraq, so having Bustani send weapons inspectors to Baghdad might undermine their "case for war". Around which, per the Downing Street Memo, intelligence and facts were being fixed.

Bolton didn't come up with the idea of removing this Bustani guy who wouldn't play ball with the US, but he jumped on it, first trying to suppress facts and get certain Americans hired at OPCW, making a menacing phone call Bustani, and then the US threatened, illegally, to withhold their dues (22% of that organization's budget) if Bustani stayed in office.

All, quite possibly, to protect their "case for war" in Iraq.

What I see here is a pattern of behavior, one that doesn't care about reality, but only about manufacturing a justification for a war with Iraq. Fixing intelligence around policy, using “spikes of activity” to try to provoke Saddam into doing something that would justify an invasion, as the Downing Street Memo describes, and removing any obstacles, like the head of a UN agency, that might hinder the path to war.

We must continue to demand a formal inquiry into these actions. If the US was taken to war based on deceit and a rationale conjured out of thin air, we must know. And the administration who took us there must be held accountable.

I'm not asking for anything more than the truth. I'm an American citizen, and my elected officials work for *me*. I want to know what they're doing in my name.

[*] OPCW: Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons

Bush and Blair made secret pact for Iraq war

According to Sir Christopher Meyer, the former British Ambassador to Washington, who was at the dinner, Blair told Bush he should not get distracted from the war on terror's initial goal - dealing with the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

Blair 'dissuaded Bush from attack after 9/11'

The Lies That Led To War

Tens of thousands of people are dead in Iraq, including more than 1,600 U.S. soldiers and Marines, because of false allegations made by President George W. Bush and Di Rita's more immediate boss, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, about Saddam Hussein's nonexistent weapons of mass destruction and equally imaginary active nuclear weapons program.

The truth. That's all I want. Let the chips fall where they may.

 | After Downing Street

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