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John Bolton Should Be Ashamed Of Himself. But That Would Require A Sense Of Shame
John Bolton should be ashamed of himself for the reckless decisions he made in the run-up to the Iraq War and for his chickenhawk mentality, but that would require a sense of shame.
Next month, Bolton will once again be back in the White House, this time as President Donald Trump's national security adviser, having in the past served as President George W. Bush's ambassador to the United Nations.
Should we be worried? Yeah, we should.
We should be worried about tens of millions of civilian and U.S. military deaths in the opening salvo of a potential war with North Korea, of which Bolton argued for late last year in The Wall Street Journal, where he reasoned that a pre-emptive strike against Pyongyang was an acceptable military option.
That is not a view shared by the Pentagon.
"I would suggest that we will win," Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told Congress last year of war on the Korean peninsula, though he cautioned that "it would be a war that fundamentally we don't want" that would be "more serious in terms of human suffering than anything we've seen since 1953."
We should be worried about getting bogged down in another, and far deadlier quagmire in the Middle East, since Bolton in 2008 called for striking inside Iran at the same time that 158,000 American troops were in Iraq, and in 2015 pushed for the United States to bomb Iran — a move that would predictably lead to a traditional force-on-force war that would slowly morph into another long slog of insurgency.
And what of that insurgency, spurred by the regime change after the invasion of Iraq? Bolton, a man who loves regime change, has at least that one in his pocket — and how did that turn out?
Under President Bush, Bolton was among a number of chickenhawks feverishly pushing the lie that Saddam Hussein needed to be stopped right this minute, lest he use his non-existent nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction against us. Bolton was credibly accused of manipulating intelligence. And he told us the Iraqis would greet Americans as liberators, and would quickly exercise their newfound freedom and establish a functional democracy.
He was incredibly wrong. John Bolton should be ashamed of this fact.
His and the decisions of others during the period helped destabilize much of the Middle East, led to the deaths of more than 4,400 American troops, wounded nearly 32,000 others, and killed anywhere from 100,000 to 500,000 Iraqis.
Because he has no shame.
He's not a serious thinker. He is a Fox News blowhard who wrote the foreword to a book written by two of the most-prominent Islamophobes in the United States; a man who favors force over diplomacy in just about every instance.
He is a man dangerously unqualified for the position he is about to hold. He is a man who, in Donald Trump's own words, "should have zero standing" after being an advocate for the Iraq War and its "waste of blood and treasure."
But he will be Trump's national security adviser on April 9.
And we all should be ashamed.
Former Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, whom President Donald Trump recently pardoned of his 2013 murder conviction, claims he was nothing more than a pawn whom generals sacrificed for political expediency.
The infantry officer had been sentenced to 19 years in prison for ordering his soldiers to open fire on three unarmed Afghan men in 2012. Two of the men were killed.
During a Monday interview on Fox & Friends, Lorance accused his superiors of betraying him.
"A service member who knows that their commanders love them will go to the gates of hell for their country and knock them down," Lorance said. "I think that's extremely important. Anybody who is not part of the senior Pentagon brass will tell you the same thing."
"I think folks that start putting stars on their collar — anybody that has got to be confirmed by the Senate for a promotion — they are no longer a soldier, they are a politician," he continued. "And so I think they lose some of their values — and they certainly lose a lot of their respect from their subordinates — when they do what they did to me, which was throw me under the bus."
Fifteen years after the U.S. military toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein, the Army's massive two-volume study of the Iraq War closed with a sobering assessment of the campaign's outcome: With nearly 3,500 U.S. service members killed in action and trillions of dollars spent, "an emboldened and expansionist Iran appears to be the only victor.
Thanks to roughly 700 pages of newly-publicized secret Iranian intelligence cables, we now have a good idea as to why.
BANGKOK (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Mark Esper expressed confidence on Sunday in the U.S. military justice system's ability to hold troops to account, two days after President Donald Trump pardoned two Army officers accused of war crimes in Afghanistan.
Trump also restored the rank of a Navy SEAL platoon commander who was demoted for actions in Iraq.
Asked how he would reassure countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq in the wake of the pardons, Esper said: "We have a very effective military justice system."
"I have great faith in the military justice system," Esper told reporters during a trip to Bangkok, in his first remarks about the issue since Trump issued the pardons.
For one veteran who fought through the crossfires of German heavy machine guns in the D-Day landings, receiving a Congressional Gold Medal on behalf of his service and that of his World War II comrades would be "quite meaningful."
Bills have been introduced in the House and Senate to award the Army Rangers of World War II the medal, the highest civilian award bestowed by the United States, along with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
An airman at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base was arrested and charged with murder on Sunday after a shooting at a Raleigh night club that killed a 21-year-old man, the Air Force and the Raleigh Police Department said.