John Bolton Should Be Ashamed Of Himself. But That Would Require A Sense Of Shame

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John Bolton, Former United States Ambassador to the United Nations, at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) sponsored by the American Conservative Union held at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in Oxon Hill, MD on February 22, 2018
Michael Brochstein/Sipa USA/Associated Press

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.

Instead, Bolton has no regrets about invading Iraq. He has no regrets about sending other people to die in war, as long as his life isn't on the line.

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.

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