Bolton: Unified Iraq Is Not In U.S. Strategical Interest
UN Ambassador has made some comments that will likely raise eyebrows in the Bush administration, and not just because of his still-weird facial hair:
Former U.S. envoy to the United Nations John Bolton said in an interview published in France that the United States has “no strategic interest” in a united Iraq.
Bolton, who resigned last month from his temporary appointment as U.N. ambassador, also told the French daily Le Monde that U.S. President George W. Bush’s administration acted too slowly to hand power over to Iraqis after toppling Saddam Hussein in 2003.
“We did a disservice to Iraqis by depriving them of political leaders,” Bolton was quoted as saying, adding that the Coalition Provisional Authority that initially ran Iraq allowed terrorists to regroup. Bolton was speaking in English, and the interview was published in French. An English-language copy of the interview was not available.
So did something suffer in the translation? Maybe, but it certainly sounds like Bolton and what some have said more quietly.
Bolton was always blunt-spoken and it sounds as if now that he’s out of the administration he’s not sugar coating his comments for them, either. Such as:
Bolton suggested in the interview that the United States shouldn’t necessarily keep Iraq from splitting up. The Bush administration and the Iraqi government have said they don’t want Iraq divided.
“The United States has no strategic interest in the fact that there’s one Iraq, or three Iraqs,” he was quoted as saying. “We have a strategic interest in the fact of ensuring that what emerges is not a state in complete collapse, which could become a refuge for terrorists or a terrorist state.”
And apparently this criticism from Bolton is getting to be something of a habit:
The comments marked the second time in less than a week that Bolton had criticized the Bush administration’s policy. On Fox News last week, he said the United States may not be able to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons because it was following a flawed diplomatic strategy.
What is emerging now on several fronts can perhaps be most accurately traced to the roll out of Bob Woodward’s State of Denial before the 2006 elections. That book pulled away the Wizard of Oz curtain to reveal an administration headstrong in its convictions, determined to impliment specific policies but falling short of what so many administrations have done: truly weighing and taking into consideration alternate policies from preferered ones, pondering the full extent of consquences from policy options and ensuring skillful policy implementation.
The Bolton comments again underscore the disconnect between the (sometimes) slickly pitched spin on issues and the reality of what’s happening in actual practice. The administration seldom has admitted when it was wrong but now there are an awful lot of politicians and officials from both parties who are ready to admit it for them.
PS: If this story gains “legs” should we take bets on how long it’ll be before Bolton gets a call and clarifies what he REALLY meant and said?