Thursday, August 09, 2007


Since John Bolton was ousted from his position as US ambassador to the UN, he appears have taken up permanent residence in the Newsnight studios. Last night, complaining that the IAEA under Elbaradei has refused to say exactly what the neo-cons want him to say on Iran, Bolton came out with this:
"All that Elbaradei has said, and he is an apologist for Iran, in effect, is that he doesn't have evidence of the programme. I think the intelligence is there for all to see."
Has a familiar ring to it, wouldn't you say? Hands up all those who remember being called an apologist for Saddam back in the day.

Bolton was, of course, one of the cheerleaders for the war against Iraq. And he was in the lead in the Bush administration's attempt to block Elbaradei's reappointment as head of the IAEA in 2005. Being good at the job and displaying integrity in the face of enormous pressure is not acceptable when it exposes the extent to which political dogma overrides the facts in the Bush Whitehouse. Fortunately, Bolton lost. For the record, 34 of the 35 members of the IAEA board member countries supported Elbaradei's reappointment. Only one was opposed.

In the now traditional ironic style, the war on Iraq which Bolton was so enthusiastic about has actually strengthened the position of the Iranian regime to unprecedented levels. Bolton should have himself shot for aiding the enemy.

And Iran, unlike Iraq, could theoretically acquire the ability to build nuclear weapons in the not too distant future. Whether they are attempting to, as Elbaradei rightly points out, remains open to doubt. Not for Bolton and chums, of course, but for rational people not blinded by ideology.

There are plenty of commentators who argue that after the monumental disaster of Iraq, the US would not possibly take military action against Iran. I disagree. It is important to realise that Bolton, and indeed the Bush regime generally, are absolutely unable to learn from their own mistakes because they are almost entirely impervious to the facts.

And if that doesn't scare you, you're a lot braver than me.

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