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Hullabaloo


Saturday, June 04, 2005

 
Shoes Tumbling To The Ground

If any Democratic Senators are looking for a way to shine light on the Downing St Memo(and I'm not holding my breath) this may be the way to do it. And the beauty of it is that they can use that loudmouthed cretin John Bolton to do it:

John R. Bolton flew to Europe in 2002 to confront the head of a global arms-control agency and demand he resign, then orchestrated the firing of the unwilling diplomat in a move a U.N. tribunal has since judged unlawful, according to officials involved.

A former Bolton deputy says the U.S. undersecretary of state felt Jose Bustani "had to go," particularly because the Brazilian was trying to send chemical weapons inspectors to Baghdad. That might have helped defuse the crisis over alleged Iraqi weapons and undermined a U.S. rationale for war.

[...]

The Iraq connection to the OPCW affair comes as fresh evidence surfaces that the Bush administration was intent from early on to pursue military and not diplomatic action against Saddam Hussein's regime.

An official British document, disclosed last month, said Prime Minister Tony Blair agreed in April 2002 to join in an eventual U.S. attack on Iraq. Two weeks later, Bustani was ousted, with British help.

[...]

After U.N. arms inspectors had withdrawn from Iraq in 1998 in a dispute with the Baghdad government, Bustani stepped up his initiative, seeking to bring Iraq - and other Arab states - into the chemical weapons treaty.

Bustani's inspectors would have found nothing, because Iraq's chemical weapons were destroyed in the early 1990s. That would have undercut the U.S. rationale for war because the Bush administration by early 2002 was claiming, without hard evidence, that Baghdad still had such an arms program.

In a March 2002 "white paper," Bolton's office said Bustani was seeking an "inappropriate role" in Iraq, and the matter should be left to the U.N. Security Council - where Washington has a veto.

Bolton said in a 2003 AP interview that Iraq was "completely irrelevant" to Bustani's responsibilities. Earle and Bohlen disagree. Enlisting new treaty members was part of the OPCW chief's job, they said, although they thought he should have consulted with Washington.

Former Bustani aide Bob Rigg, a New Zealander, sees a clear U.S. motivation: "Why did they not want OPCW involved in Iraq? They felt they couldn't rely on OPCW to come up with the findings the U.S. wanted."

Bustani and his aides believe friction with Washington over OPCW inspections of U.S. chemical-industry sites also contributed to the showdown, which went on for months.


The article discusses at some length what an asshole Bolton was, menacing and inapprorpiate, but then what else is new. What is interesting is that the article connects the dots between Downing St and this explicitly.

This is an AP article. Unfortunately, it is also on the wires on Saturday where it is most likely to be overlooked. Unless we refuse to let it.

The media needs a hook to start talking about Downing St. I think Bolton's toast, but if the nomination goes forward I would certainly hope that the Democrats would use this as an opening to start talking about it. If Bolton ends up withdrawing because of this (and he might) then the media also has an excuse to talk about it.

I wonder if Monsignor Russert will see fit to discuss this between Hail Mary's on Press the Meat tomorrow morning?


Hat tip to samela




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