John Bolton has been appointed as national security adviser to the President. My advice to investors is to put all of your money in companies that produce weapons of war. Bolton never saw a foreign policy problem that could not be solved with a good war.
Mr. Bolton was a major cheerleader for the war against Iraq, which ended up being a colossal disaster for the United States. Many of Bolton’s fellow neo-cons have recognized it as such, but he clings to his mistaken belief that it turned out just fine. This, despite the fact that it needlessly cost the lives of about 4,500 brave American service personnel to date, killed and injured hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians, created continuing strife in Iraq, cost trillions of dollars in direct and indirect expenditures, made Iran the preeminent power in the region, turned the Middle East upside down with the resulting chaos that is still playing out in the region today, and seriously degraded our country’s military readiness, among other things.
All of this was predictable, but Bolton was too focused on attacking Iraq to bother considering the actual facts or the consequences of war. After all, he had never felt the heat of battle. He admits having signed up with a guard unit to avoid having to serve his country in Vietnam. Many of us stepped forward as Bolton stepped back.
Bolton was Under Secretary of State for Arms Control during the run-up to war and certainly had access to information showing Saddam posed no threat to the U.S. The CIA admitted as much to Congress in mid-2002, before it was muzzled. The U.N. weapons inspectors flatly stated that Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction. The Guardian newspaper in London reported that British intelligence believed Colin Powell’s purported mobile germ warfare labs were only weather stations, which is what they actually were.
Anyone with common sense who kept reasonably well informed through reputable news outlets could have concluded that attacking Iraq was totally unnecessary, a gigantic blunder and against our national interest. To illustrate that a person did not have to be an arms control “expert” to understand the danger, I sent a proposed guest opinion to the Idaho Statesman in August of 2002, making those very points.
In addition to the needless cost of American blood and treasure, the op-ed said: “While we will undoubtedly eliminate Saddam, we’ll also have to take responsibility for a chaotic aftermath. It will take many thousands of American troops and a number of years to feed and rebuild the country, to keep the Kurds and Shiites from taking revenge against the Sunnis, to keep the Turks and Iranians out, and to keep instability from spreading to the surrounding countries. And, I don’t expect we will be regarded as benevolent conquerors.” And, that all assumed that we would not make such a disastrous mess of trying to reconstruct the Iraqi state. After Powell telegraphed that the administration was hell-bent for war, I dropped the op-ed as futile.
The folly of the Iraq war should have been readily apparent to someone in Bolton’s position, especially if a guy who grew up on a potato farm in Idaho could figure it out. But, to see what is clear-cut in front of him, a person must open his eyes as well as his mind. John Bolton is not that kind of person. He is a chicken hawk who sees war as a foreign policy tool of first resort.
Bolton has advocated war with both Iran and North Korea. Either or both would produce calamitous consequences. He learned nothing from the Iraq experience and would send additional American troops to their needless deaths just to prove his brilliance. The President should drop him like a hot potato.