October 13, 2019

John Bolton, You're Fired

“Thursday night, The New York Times reported, we narrowly avoided a first step toward what could become a regional war in the Middle East. President Trump’s go-ahead—reportedly quickly revoked—for airstrikes targeting radar stations and missile facilities would almost certainly have resulted in Iranian deaths. This would not have been a replay of the targeted attack on Syria, a broken state in the middle of a civil war, in 2017. At that time, fearing an engagement with Russia, a military power, the Pentagon gave notice that the strike was coming. This strike, by contrast, against a regional power like Iran, would have seen a reprisal—most likely with Iranian proxies (Hezbollah or militia in Iraq) attacking American targets in the region, which would doubtless be seen as requiring a response in kind. There would have been no way of avoiding a regional conflict that experts say would make the Iraq War look small and simple.

Make no mistake: This is John Bolton’s war. It’s a war that the current national security advisor has been advocating since 2007. He has spoken of bombing Iran on TV, in print, as a government official, and as a private citizen. He has received payment from an Iranian dissident group, the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (MeK), listing a $40,000 speaking fee for “European Iranian Events” in July 2017 on a government financial disclosure form (experts say the total number over a series of years could be significantly higher). He spoke at MeK’s conference in July 2017, promising regime change in Tehran. This war has been, in theory, on the table ever since President Trump took to the podium to announce the unilateral withdrawal of the United States from the JCPOA, and a strategy of “maximum pressure” through sanctions that are starting to crush the Iranian economy. But it did not become likely until John Bolton was appointed to the position of National Security Advisor.

John Bolton’s history as a hawk is well known, but what the public is less aware of is his manipulation of the national security state into achieving the outcomes he wants. Bolton is reported to have manipulated intelligence when he was in the George W. Bush administration on the issue of Cuban bioweapons. He was part of the team that built the intelligence case for war with Iraq, arguing that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. The Guardian has reported he even went so far, in 2002, as to force a Brazilian diplomat who had gotten Saddam Hussein to sign on to the Chemical Weapons Convention to leave his post, threatening his children (Bolton denied making the threat).”

Read more

JJ Editor's Picks

"Kurds have been staunch allies in America's struggle against ISIS. Without them, America would have paid a far steeper price in blood and treasure to defeat the brutal outfit. That's why President Trump's move to pull U.S. troops out of..."

"For the first time since President Richard Nixon refused to turn over the White House tapes, the United States is facing a genuine constitutional crisis. To be sure, Donald Trump had already created a crisis in the presidency by abusing the..."

"Every October for the past five years, Fat Bear Week has showcased some of the healthiest, hungriest, and chonkiest bears in Katmai National Park and Preserve, a four-million-acre expanse of wilderness in southern Alaska..."

"I sat on my childhood bed, surrounded by 52-year-old stuffed animals, with a smartphone lodged between my ear and shoulder. My father had died unexpectedly the day before, and I was jotting down notes as my rabbi back in Ohio described various..."

"In August, it was SoulCycle and Equinox. The month prior, Home Depot. Back in 2017, L.L.Bean. These are only a few of the companies to ignite the collective ire of progressive consumers over corporate ties to Trump. In the case of the boutique..."

"Movies like Gemini Man are usually ideal airplane viewing. Take a formulaic plot about spies and cloning, then add dialogue so predictable that getting interrupted by pilots’ announcements and turbulence and your seatmate’s need to get up and..."

"It’s still unclear whether Israel’s next election will be in four years or four months. But either way, if the center-right wants a better outcome, it needs to learn the lessons of September’s election. So here are two: First, while center-right..."

"Smart homes, bountiful oceans and casual sexism: the future as envisaged from 1967 ‘Yes, life will be richer, easier, healthier as space-age dreams come true.’ In 1967, the Ford Motor Company (then known as Philco-Ford) released the short film..."