Thursday, May 12, 2005

A Nasty Guy, But He's Our Nasty Guy

John Bolton, in response to a question from John Kerry, asserted his right to freelance, saying, "A policy official may state his own reading of the intelligence (assuming the information is cleared for release as a policy matter) as long as he does not purport to speak for the intelligence community."
The problem--apart from Bolton modifying State Department policy to excuse his behavior--is that Bolton has pushed his own views without having them cleared, sought to punish those who disagree, and has not provided a disclaimer when the intelligence does not support his assertions.
Condi Rice, who voiced her support for Bolton, either doesn't expect to get, or doesn't care if she does get, the same insubordinate treatment Colin Powell got:
Mr. Bolton's supporters, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, have defended his conduct as appropriate, saying he was right to ask tough questions.
The Secretary has it backwards: The point is not that Bolton "asks tough questions," but that he doesn't allow others the same privilege and cannot tolerate anyone disagreeing with him.
Senator Voinovich is offering excuses for why he held up the vote three weeks ago:
Sen. George V. Voinovich (R-Ohio), who three weeks ago forced a delay in a vote because he had concerns about Bolton's "interpersonal skills," noted that he slowed the approval of Richard C. Holbrooke, President Bill Clinton's nominee for the same post, because he heard Holbrooke was a "kind of nasty guy, arrogant and so forth."
The party line seems to be he's a nasty guy, but he's our nasty guy.

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