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Monday, August 01, 2005


recess appointment

john bolton is set for a recess appointment to the american chair at the united nations.

i remain ambivalent about the man and his position, even as it represents part of a neoconservative buildup of barbarians at the international level, though i think a recess appointment is less a miscarriage of justice than might at first be assumed. cant, of course, continues to pour from the white house as water from the mouth of a mighty river.

"This post is too important to leave vacant any longer, especially during a war and a vital debate about UN reform," Bush said.
isn't this the same administration that denigrates virtually any international obligation or institution at almost every opportunity as an impediment to national will? how important could they really think it is? not very, if bolton's choice of shop is any indication.

what is perhaps the penultimate hubris for the administration in this affair is that bolton is a suspect in the plame affair which has haunted karl rove so doggedly. he is under investigation at state for his role in the niger-yellowcake intelligence fraud -- the criticism of which earned ambassador wilson the retribution of having his wife's covert status at cia exposed.

... the larger internal administration battle [was] over who would be held responsible for Bush using the disputed charge about the Iraq-Niger connection as part of the war argument. Based on the questions they have been asked, people involved in the case believe that [US Special Prosecutor] Fitzgerald looked into this bureaucratic fight because the effort to discredit Wilson was part of the larger campaign to distance Bush from the Niger controversy.

Wilson unleashed an attack on Bush's claim on July 6, 2003, appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press," in an interview in The Post and writing his own op-ed article in the New York Times, in which he accused the president of "twisting" intelligence.

Behind the scenes, the White House responded with twin attacks: one on Wilson and the other on the CIA, which it wanted to take the blame for allowing the 16 words to remain in Bush's speech. As part of this effort, then-deputy national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley spoke with Tenet during the week about clearing up CIA responsibility for the 16 words, even though both knew the agency did not think Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger, according to a person familiar with the conversation.
it has been suggested that bolton, who was ensconsed at the state department, may share responsibility for circulating the secret state department memo which made plame's identity to the white house.

bolton further saw fit to lie about his being interviewed by investigators to congress.

"It seems unusual that Mr. Bolton would not remember his involvement in such a serious matter," said Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, the senior Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "In my mind, this raises more questions that need to be answered. I hope President Bush will not make the mistake of recess appointing Mr. Bolton."
it may end up being a relatively minor point in the context of the history of american diplomacy. but bolton's appointment serves to underscore the increasingly obvious malignancy of the bush administration, exemplified in total contempt for law, process and morality. faced with rising levels of dissent against their dictatorial absolutism even within the republican party -- even among the heretofore compliant loyalists like bill frist -- one wonders how long that can claim any kind of high ground. despite engaging their friends and organization to pretend that the president is above questioning -- as any proper emperor would have to be -- fitzgerald's investigation marches on, with rumors growing ever stronger that indictments for espionage may come down on prominent white house officials.

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