Originally appeared on The American Conservative.
The Wall Street Journal reports on Bolton’s eagerness to attack Iran last year:
President Trump’s National Security Council asked the Pentagon to provide the White House with military options to strike Iran last year, generating concern at the Pentagon and State Department, current and former U.S. officials said.
The request, which hasn’t been previously reported, came after militants fired three mortars into Baghdad’s sprawling diplomatic quarter, home to the US Embassy, on a warm night in early September. The shells – launched by a group aligned with Iran – landed in an open lot and harmed no one.
But they triggered unusual alarm in Washington, where Mr. Trump’s national security team led by John Bolton conducted a series of meetings to discuss a forceful American response, including what many saw as the unusual request for options to strike Iran.
“It definitely rattled people,” a former senior US administration official said of the request. “People were shocked. It was mind-boggling how cavalier they were about hitting Iran.”
Bolton and like-minded Iran hawks have had a cavalier attitude about attacking Iran for years, so it should come as no surprise that Bolton has brought that same aggressive recklessness into government now that he is National Security Advisor. This episode shows how determined Bolton and his allies have been to turn any incident into a pretext for a larger conflict with Iran. It also shows how willing Bolton is to endorse military action regardless of the situation. The New York Times reported on the same story, and described Bolton’s habit of shutting out dissenting voices from the policy debate:
As the president’s national security adviser, he has largely eliminated the internal policy debates that could air high-level disagreements.