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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Bolton: A Prime Mover of the Iraq WMD Fiasco

Bolton: A Prime Mover of the Iraq WMD Fiasco

by Greg Thielmann
The president-elect who repeatedly taunted his Democratic opponent for supporting the Iraq invasion and whose transition team recently dismissed a CIA assessment by noting, “these are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction,” is reportedly considering John Bolton to be deputy secretary of state. Bolton is, of course, one of these “same people.” If Donald Trump chooses to nominate a prime mover of the Iraq WMD fiasco for a key State Department position, he will really outdo himself in converting the ironic into dark comedy.
John Bolton served as undersecretary of state for arms control and international security affairs from 2001 to 2005. During this period, Bolton was a champion for unilateral and violent resolution of international differences, his views more closely aligned at the time with those of Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld than with those of his nominal boss, Secretary of State Colin Powell.
Bolton does not suffer from the intellectual laziness or attention deficit disorder of the president-elect. He was a voracious reader and energetic participant in the policy process at State. Even his critics acknowledge his positive contribution in launching the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), a multilateral effort to mitigate trafficking in weapons of mass destruction (WMD) material. But Bolton’s ideological approach and grating manner damaged the international standing of the United States and the foreign affairs function of the U.S. government during his State Department tenure.

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