Memo to: Richard Lugar, chairman, Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Re: An Anti-Diplomat at the UN?
Dear Senator, you've known me for more than 30
years, from your days as Mayor of Indianapolis and my days as associate editor
of The Wall Street Journal. When I tell you John Bolton is a true force
of darkness, you can be sure I do not do so lightly. "Darkness" in
this sense is the absence of light, and Bolton is a protégé of Richard Perle,
who has been known for decades in Washington as "The Prince of Darkness."
They are both masters of misinformation, believing that their "just cause"
gives them the right, even the responsibility, to make the facts and intelligence
fit their personal political objectives. They're patriots and I would never
say they are not. But it is not in their nature to be straight, and both men
will always advise the use of force rather than bother with diplomacy. They
loathe and despise the United Nations. When President Bush asked John Bolton
if he has respect for the UN, Bolton said he did, but remember he is a force
of darkness and will always say what he believes will advance his personal goals.
I've been watching Bolton from a distance from the earliest days of the administration,
knowing of his associations with Perle and the neocons at the American Enterprise
Institute (AEI), which I have long characterized as the HQ of what President
Eisenhower called "the military-industrial complex." Here are just
a few samples selected from my commentaries in the last several months of 2003,
a period when the neocons believed they had Iraq under control and were eager
to tackle the other members of the "Axis of Evil," Iran and North
Miller, Warhawk Reporter" July 23, 2003
Here note my comments on Judith Miller of the N.Y. Times, who we now
know helped promote the disinformation spread by Iraqi exile Ahmed Chalabi about
Saddam's weapons of mass destruction. Miller co-authored a book with Laurie
Mylroie, a scholar at AEI who later wrote The War Against America: Saddam
Hussein and the World Trade Center Attacks. The book, now totally discredited,
posited fictitious accounts of Saddam being behind 9/11. In my memo, I quote
Paul Sperry of WorldNetDaily.com, who reported back then that the CIA would
not back that assertion in an October 2002 report to the president:
"Mylroie lists Clare Wolfowitz, wife of the No. 2 Pentagon official,
among her friends in her book's acknowledgments. She also gives a nod to John
Bolton, one of the State Department's biggest Iraq hawks, and Lewis 'Scooter'
Libby, top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, whose wife also is an AEI scholar."
Rejects U.S. Plea on Iran" Aug. 27, 2003
In this memo a month later, I referred to an article in the Tehran Times,
but the heart of the comment was a long quote from Dr. Gordon Prather, the chief
army scientist in the Reagan years, regarding Bolton:
"John Bolton, the State Department warhawk, is probably the unnamed
Western diplomat who claims the IAEA's recent report on Iranian uranium enrichment
proves Iran is seeking a nuke capability. Says Gordon Prather, who forwarded
me this piece, 'Up until now, Bolton et al. have been claiming that the Iranians
intend to produce weapons-grade plutonium in the Bushehr light-water power plants.
The Iranians no doubt would like to acquire nukes, observing what has happened
to Iraq. But the notion that Iran could produce weapons-grade Pu [plutonium]
in Bushehr under the noses of the Russians and the IAEA is ridiculous. By continuing
to insist that they could and would, Bolton has lost all credibility, and his
usefulness in Vienna the home of the IAEA-NPT-NSG regime is at
an end. He should resign. Or fall on his sword.'"
Colin Powell to Retire" Sept. 29, 2003
This was a memo I wrote to Colin Powell one month after the previous comment:
"You began your diplomatic service in 2001 by showing a willingness
to engage Pyongyang at a time when it showed every sign of finally opening up.
But that did not fit with the Pentagon's aim of tackling 'The Axis of Evil,'
a term you should have never permitted to go into the president's State of the
Union address. The president himself went even further with his gratuitous personal
insults of North Korea's president. It has been downhill ever since. Every opportunity
Pyongyang has offered for peaceful resolution of the nuclear issue has been
shot down by your neocon 'minder' at State, John Bolton, who clearly works for
the Defense Policy Board, not you. It has been embarrassing to hear you defend
Bolton's belligerent blusterings when you should have been telling the president
you want him replaced."
Stovepipe to the Oval Office" Oct. 20, 2003
Do you remember Seymour Hersh's New Yorker article about how cooked-up
intelligence was being "stovepiped" to President Bush, going around
the intelligence community? John Bolton was of course one of the chief stove-pipers.
Here is Hersh:
"A few months after George Bush took office, Greg Thielmann, an expert
on disarmament with the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research,
or INR, was assigned to be the daily intelligence liaison to John Bolton, the
undersecretary of state for arms control, who is a prominent conservative. Thielmann
understood that his posting had been mandated by Secretary of State Colin Powell,
who thought that every important State Department bureau should be assigned
a daily intelligence officer. 'Bolton was the guy with whom I had to do business,'
Thielmann said. 'We were going to provide him with all the information he was
entitled to see. That's what being a professional intelligence officer is all
about.' But, Thielmann told me, 'Bolton seemed to be troubled because INR was
not telling him what he wanted to hear.' Thielmann soon found himself shut out
of Bolton's early-morning staff meetings. 'I was intercepted at the door of
his office and told, "The undersecretary doesn't need you to attend this
meeting anymore."' When Thielmann protested that he was there to provide
intelligence input, the aide said, 'The undersecretary wants to keep this in
the Horse, Cheney the Rider" Oct. 23, 2003
How did Bolton get the job at State in the first place? This is from Jim Lobe,
a Washington correspondent:
Not only did Cheney personally intervene to ensure that Powell's best friend,
Richard Armitage, was denied the deputy defense secretary position, but he also
played a key role in securing the post for Paul Wolfowitz. Moreover, it was
Cheney who insisted that ultra-unilateralist John Bolton be placed in a top
State Department arms position, from which he has pursued policies that run
counter to Powell's own preferences."
Joke We Played on Pyongyang" Nov. 6, 2003
Bolton was working both Iran and North Korea, stove-piping around Colin Powell,
who was just in his way. Here were my observations in early November 2003:
"By now, though, it is clear to Pyongyang that the warhawks in the
Pentagon – and their stooge, John Bolton at State – don't want compliance and
never have. They want a nice little war, or at least a regime change and another
puppet government like they have arranged for Iraq. What good did it do Baghdad
to persuade the IAEA that it was no threat? The boys want An American Empire!
Secretary of States Colin Powell, whose heart is in the right place, has been
trying to work things out with Pyongyang, but every time he makes a diplomatic
move, his Undersecretary Bolton has a press conference and calls Kim Jong Il
a commie rat fink. What can a poor secretary of state do when his big boss,
the president, now and then has a press conference and calls Kim Jong Il a commie
rate fink? The general should resign and write some new memoirs, that's what."
Bad, Bad Iranians (and North Koreans)" Nov. 12, 2003
Here I defer again to Gordon Prather, an expert on the politics of nuclear
weapons diplomacy, complaining as he has for years about Bolton's misinformation
about Iran violating the Nonproliferation Treaty:
"As undersecretary of state, John Bolton has led the charge in denouncing
Iran for violating the NPT. Dr. Prather notes: 'Bolton to the contrary, as I
understand the NPT, the R&D 'dabbling' the Iranians did but did not report
on gas-centrifuge and laser-isotopic enrichment is not in and
of itself a violation of the NPT.' The treaty only requires that laboratory
experiments which might be used for dual-use projects only be reported when
they are about to go into a pilot production. The record indicates the Iranians
abandoned these projects long before they got to that stage."
U.S. Must Avoid Paranoia" Nov.17, 2003
In mid-November I ran an op-ed by Zbigniew Brzezinski, who of course had John
Bolton in mind when we warned against conducting foreign policy as if there
were a wolf behind every tree. I added my comments:
"This appeared Saturday in the International Herald Tribune,
on the heels of report that Israel is considering bombing the Iranian nuclear
power plant being built for them by the Russians. The concentration of paranoia
is at the State Department desk of John Bolton, the Perle/Wolfowitz ally, who
now seems totally devoted to provoking U.S. military action against Iran, North
Korea, and other countries suspected of thinking about nukes. To be successful,
the effort has to be accompanied by the demonization of the International Atomic
Energy Agency (IAEA), which says there are no nuke programs underway in any
of these places."
I've written much, much more about Bolton, Senator Lugar, and would be happy
to supply you with that material and other observations about his behavior that
I've not published. I know the president wants you to come through for him and
bring Bolton through as our United Nations Ambassador. But do the president
a real favor and allow the nomination to fail. Bolton can always get a job at