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“Why Is The GOP So Angry At Everything These Days?”: Fevered Lunatics Whose Principal Policy Option Is To Fight Rather Than Talk

At the end of a week when many paused to reflect during Passover and Easter ceremonies, a question with no real answer seemed to crash into our culture with all the subtlety of a marching band in a funeral parlor: Why do so many Republicans seem so angry all the time at so much around us?

The fury of some like Ted Cruz is understandable. It’s fueled by his massive ego and outsized ambition along with his personal belief that he is so smart and the rest of us are so pedestrian that he can manipulate opinion to win the Republican nomination for president with the support of the mentally ill wing of his party.

“A real president,” Cruz the bombardier said last week, “would stand up and say on the world stage: Under no circumstances will Iran be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons. Iran will either stop or we will stop them.”

Then there is the minor league Cruz, the tough talking, totally in-over-his-head governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, who is running to crack down on the salaries of teachers, cops and firefighters everywhere. Oh, he’ll also teach Iran a good lesson by throwing any deal out the window no matter what other countries might think. Imagine Scotty informing Angela Merkel of his decision while he wears his Cheese-Head Hat.

There are so many others too. There’s the kid who started the pen pal club with the ayatollah, Tom Cotton. There’s the mental midget from Illinois, Mark Kirk, who went right to the basement for his best thought on Iran, claiming that England got a better deal from Hitler than the U.S. got from Teheran. Kirk, not a history major.

But my personal favorite? In this corner, from Baltimore, wearing the costume of a true warrior, locked and loaded and ready to roll, the former Ambassador to the United Nations, John “Bombs Away” Bolton. He took to the Op-Ed page of The New York Times to declare war on Iran. After all, why waste time!

“The inconvenient truth is that only military action…” Field Marshall Bolton wrote, “can accomplish what is required. Time is terribly short, but a strike can still succeed.”

Bolton, of course, is one of the Mensa members who told George W. Bush that it would be swell to go to war in Iraq. Twelve years later things are really going well there.

At least Bolton knows war on a firsthand basis. At age 18 he was in South Vietnam where…OH, I’M SORRY…MY MISTAKE…that was another Bolton. That was Dennis Bolton from Bedford, Indiana, born two weeks before John Bolton was born in Baltimore in November 1948. Two different young men with two different tales to tell.

Dennis Bolton went to Vietnam. John Bolton who went to Yale. Dennis Bolton was killed near DaNang on April 19, 1967 where he served with the Marines while John Bolton finished his freshman year at New Haven.

In 1967, Bedford had a population of about 13,000. It’s a nice small town where Gene Hackman could have filmed Hoosiers, one of the great sports films ever. Ten young men from Bedford were killed in Vietnam.

Indiana, of course, is the state where Mike Pence and Republicans in the state legislature spent the week clowning it up over their lost fight to make it harder for some Americans simply to be happy. Make no mistake about it, their war was against same-sex marriage and they suffered a TKO when the country turned against them in the snap of a finger, an overnight knockout delivered with stunning speed. But I digress.

In 1967, Baltimore had a population of about 930,000. It’s a tough town with a lot of different neighborhoods, some dangerous, many working class, where Barry Levinson hadn’t made Diner yet and HBO hadn’t given us the gift that is The Wire. Four hundred and seventeen residents of Baltimore were killed in Vietnam.

Dennis Bolton’s name is on the wall of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington. John Bolton’s name was on the Op-Ed page of The New York Times as well as on the lips of some angry, fevered lunatics whose principal policy option is to fight rather than talk.

Obviously, Bolton never made it to Vietnam. He joined the Maryland National Guard to avoid going to Vietnam and, hey, good for him. At least he served.

Of course, he blamed his absence from combat on the politics of the time. On liberals like Ted Kennedy and others, claiming they had already lost the war by the time he was ready to take on the North Vietnamese Army. I guess that explains the itch, the unfulfilled need, the frustration that guys like Bolton have lived with across the decades.

And today, “Bombs Away” Bolton still has a strong desire to light it up. And according to some pundits he’s even considering a run for president. Obviously his platform will remain as unchanged as his thinking: Different time, different dangers, different countries but same selfish solution: Send someone else’s kids to fight and die while Bolton and others play with a lit fuse in a world more dangerous than dynamite.

 

By: Mike Barnicle, The Daily Beast, April 5, 2015

April 6, 2015 Posted by | Iran, John Bolton, War Hawks | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Stop Listening To John Bolton”: He Has No Idea What He’s Talking About, And It’s Scary He Was Ever In Power To Begin With

There’s an old joke, or sort of joke, about how bombing for peace is like f*cking for virginity. In that analogy, John Bolton is trying to f*ck us all over.

Bolton, United States Ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush, has written an op-ed in the New York Times arguing that to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear bomb, the United States should bomb Iran. This “reasoning” is as reckless and unreliable as its messenger.

It has been reported that “almost the entire senior hierarchy of Israel’s military and security establishment is worried about a premature attack on Iran and apprehensive about the possible repercussions,” according to Israel’s former chief of defense forces. Robert Gates, who served as Secretary of Defense under both Bush and Obama, cautioned against military strikes in Iran, warning, “A military solution, as far as I’m concerned … it will bring together a divided nation. It will make them absolutely committed to obtaining nuclear weapons. And they will just go deeper and more covert.”

Gates said the only long-term solution is convincing Iranians that nuclear weapons capacity is not in their interest—the goal of current diplomatic talks.

Even the director of the CIA under Bush said that the Bush Administration explored but ultimately rejected a military strike on Iran, concluding it would only “guarantee that which we are trying to prevent—an Iran that will spare nothing to build a nuclear weapon and that would build it in secret.”

News reports suggest that the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China are making headway in diplomatic negotiations with Iran that would halt nuclear weapons development in Iran for at least a decade and submit the country to rigorous inspections. But Republicans, so eager to bash President Obama on any count, have not only immorally (and possibly illegally) undermined U.S. diplomacy and credibility in the international community, they have argued President Obama is somehow causing brinksmanship by relying on smart diplomacy to avoid nuclear war.

We are supposed to believe this because John Bolton tells us to.

Bolton also asserts that somehow, though Israel having nuclear weapons has not been perceived as a threat in the region, “Iran is a different story.”  Oh, okay. Why, exactly?  “Extensive progress in uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing reveal its ambitions.”  So Iran’s nuclear enrichment is extra-threatening because Iran is engaged in nuclear enrichment?  I’m not saying we shouldn’t be treating a nuclear Iran as a major and especially-dangerous problem—clearly the Obama Administration is taking the threat seriously. No one is arguing, especially given Iran’s recent expansionist push into Yemen and Iraq, that Iran should be taken in general as anything other than a serious threat to the world, no matter what and even more so with nuclear capacity.

But Bolton is employing “just trust me” reasoning to hype military action. “Saudi, Egyptian and Turkish interests are complex and conflicting, but faced with Iran’s threat, all have concluded that nuclear weapons are essential.”

How do you know that, Mr. Bolton? “Obviously, the Saudis, Turkey and Egypt will not be issuing news releases trumpeting their intentions. But the evidence is accumulating that they have quickened their pace toward developing weapons.”

Would that be the same evidence you relied on to assert that Saddam Hussein was developing WMDs—the same intel the administration used as the justification for going to war in Iraq? Bolton provides little solid evidence of his sky-is-falling assertions. We’re just supposed to trust him, I guess, based on his reputation.

Now, I realize this is the point in the article where Republicans will drone on about liberals reliably pointing to George W. Bush as a way to avoid scrutinizing Barack Obama. Whine away, but the fact is that when veterans of the Bush Administration’s disastrous foreign policy drag their own selves out of the dustbin of history to proclaim their expertise and wisdom, reminding the nation of the bountiful evidence to the contrary is entirely fair game.

When former Vice President Dick Cheney went on Fox News to attack President Obama’s strategy in Iraq, host Megyn Kelly shot back, “But time and time again, history has proven that you got it wrong as well in Iraq, sir.” Kelly listed Cheney’s failings: “You said there was no doubt Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction; you said we would be greeted as liberators; you said the Iraq insurgency was in the last throes back in 2005; and you said that after our intervention, extremists would have to, quote, ‘rethink their strategy of jihad.’ Now, with almost a trillion dollars spent there, with 4,500 American lives lost there, what do you say to those who say you were so wrong about so much at the expense of so many?”

Cheney’s response was to disagree with Kelly’s characterization—and keep asserting his righteousness. And so it also goes with John Bolton.

In 2002, while serving as Bush’s Under-Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, Bolton said, “We are confident that Saddam Hussein has hidden weapons of mass destruction and production facilities in Iraq.”  And regarding launching war in Iraq, Bolton assured, “I expect that the American role actually will be fairly minimal. I think we’ll have an important security role.” And now Bolton is the foreign policy advisor for Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign. Which doesn’t exactly burnish his credibility.

Now Mr. Bolton wants to lead the charge, once again, into war. In fact, he’s gone a step further this time. In the case of Iraq, at least Mr. Bolton and the Bush Administration could claim preemptive military action against a tyrannical government that had allegedly actually obtained weapons of mass destruction, even though those allegations ultimately (knowingly?) were false.

But here, Bolton is using the future threat of acquisition of nuclear weapons to justify preemptive military action now. In 1992, right-wing hawk Benjamin Netanyahu warned that Iran was just “three to five years away” from nuclear weapons capacity. Should we have preemptively bombed them then?  I mean, facts schmacts right?

Secretary of State John Kerry says that Iran is still six years away from nuclear capacity. Others say it’s more like two or three, but even still: Reasonable people would argue there’s still time to let a diplomatic solution be worked out and tested. And reasonable people would try other plausible solutions before resorting to all-out war. But Republicans are, increasingly, not reasonable—perpetually too eager to both criticize President Obama and pull the trigger on war regardless of the fact that their track record has been a perpetual f*cking mess.

 

By: Sally Kohn, The Daily Beast, March 26, 2015

March 27, 2015 Posted by | Iran, Iraq War, John Bolton | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

   

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