The Corner

A Bolton Basher…

…on my column today. E-mail:

You wrote, “Never mind that Senate Democrats were filibustering Bolton, which is not very collegial.” But the Democrats were NOT filibustering Bolton. In fact, the first and most crucial delay in the confirmation vote came from a Republican senator.

You also wrote, “The Bolton fight would have been cleaner if Democrats had said something like, ‘We’re liberals, and we’re afraid he’ll be too tough at the U.N.’ ” Since no Democrat (or anybody else I’m aware of) ever said anything like that, it would only be cleaner for you. In fact, we are now in precisely the opposite situation. Because Bolton has a strong anti-UN history, and clearly does not have the full backing of the U.S. government, it’s hard to say how he can be at all “tough” at the U.N.

You also wrote, “That charge was based on internal disputes — a healthy thing, since intelligence is almost always uncertain and debatable — about how to interpret intelligence about Syrian and Cuban weapons programs.” This is true, but it misses the larger point that Bolton’s attitude is square in the middle of one of the biggest problems our country faces in the world today: the fact that we got involved in a protracted war based on the manipulation of intelligence.

ME, very briefly:

1) Sorry—the Democrats WERE filibustering Bolton.

2) Democrats clearly would have preferred someone who would play nice with Kofi and Co.—but just were afraid to say it. Bolton now has the backing of the president, which is all that is going to matter.

3) Saying his “attitude” was in the middle of the problem is a weasely way of admitting that Bolton himself had nothing to do with the Iraq intelligence failure.

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