Bolton Gets Sandbagged?

A funny thing may have happened to Bonkers Bolton on his way to getting Senate confirmation as ambassador to the United Nations.

While Bonkers was busy (a) preventing the UN Security Council from calling for a temporary lull in the killing of Lebanese civilians by Israelis in "self-defense" and (b) strong-arming the Security Council into calling on Iran to give up its IAEA Safeguarded nuclear programs, Joe Lieberman, Bush’s favorite Democrat and arguably the strongest supporter of Israel in the U.S. Senate, went down to defeat in a Democratic primary election.


Only a few weeks before, Congress had almost unanimously approved a resolution "condemning Hamas and Hezbollah and their state sponsors" – Syria and Iran – and "supporting Israel’s exercise of its right to self-defense."

According to Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter’s national security adviser, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) had prepared the resolution, given it to Congress, and told them to pass it.

“The Bush administration is bad enough in tolerating measures they would not accept anywhere else but Israel,” says Henry Siegman, the former head of the American Jewish Congress and a Middle East expert at the Council on Foreign Relations. “But the Congress, if anything, is urging the administration on and criticizing them even at their most accommodating. When it comes to the Israeli-Arab conflict, the terms of debate are so influenced by organized Jewish groups, like AIPAC, that to be critical of Israel is to deny oneself the ability to succeed in American politics.”

And to be confirmed as ambassador to the United Nations.

So, on the eve of Security Council deliberations earlier this year on what – if anything – to do with the “Iranian dossier” the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency had improperly sent them, recess-appointment, apparently unconfirmable Bolton made this outrageous threat:

“This is a real test for the Security Council. There’s just no doubt that for close to 20 years, the Iranians have been pursuing nuclear weapons through a clandestine program that we’ve uncovered.

“If the UN Security Council can’t deal with the proliferation of nuclear weapons, can’t deal with the greatest threat we have with a country like Iran – that’s one of the leading state sponsors of terrorism – if the Security Council can’t deal with that, you have a real question of what it can deal with.”

Now, as all members of the Security Council knew full well, Bolton was lying. Or, rather, repeating an Israeli lie. No one, including IAEA inspectors on the ground, has ever "uncovered" any evidence that the Iranians have been pursuing a nuclear weapons program.

So, the Security Council essentially remanded the Iranian dossier to the IAEA Board.

But last month, Bolton managed to have brought before the Security Council the "failure" of the Iranians to accept the terms of the outrageous demand – made ostensibly on behalf of the European Union – that Iran suspend immediately and indefinitely all IAEA Safeguarded programs. According to Bolton, that alleged failure ought to be determined by the Security Council (under Article 39 of the UN Charter) to be a "threat to the peace" in the Mideast.

All the time Bolton was arguing that Iran’s refusal to give up its inalienable rights under the Treaty on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) constituted a "threat to the peace," nuke-armed Israel – never an NPT signatory – was actively engaged in actual wars of aggression in Palestine and in Lebanon.

Nevertheless, by falsely charging that (a) Iran had been in noncompliance with the NPT and its IAEA Safeguards Agreement, and that (b) Iran had "consistently and brazenly defied the international community by continuing its pursuit of nuclear weapons," Bolton got the Security Council to pass Resolution 1696, which Bolton falsely claimed required Iran to comply with all the "requirements" listed in the Iranian IAEA dossier as well as requiring all UN Member states "to prevent the transfer of resources to Iran’s nuclear and missile programs."

Now, whom do you suppose claims Iran’s IAEA Safeguarded nuclear programs and Iran’s ballistic missile programs are threats?

Well, Bush – on behalf of "our allies."

But just as Bolton was accomplishing all this heavy lifting on behalf of "our allies," Lieberman loses a primary election to Ned Lamont, a political unknown.

Too bad Lieberman’s defeat didn’t come a few weeks earlier.

Congress might not have overwhelming passed the AIPAC resolution.

Bolton might not have prevented an immediate cease-fire in Lebanon.

Bolton might not have gotten UNSCR 1696 passed.

Oh well, maybe it’s not too late to prevent Bolton’s confirmation.

Author: Gordon Prather

Physicist James Gordon Prather has served as a policy implementing official for national security-related technical matters in the Federal Energy Agency, the Energy Research and Development Administration, the Department of Energy, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Department of the Army. Dr. Prather also served as legislative assistant for national security affairs to U.S. Sen. Henry Bellmon, R-Okla. -- ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee and member of the Senate Energy Committee and Appropriations Committee. Dr. Prather had earlier worked as a nuclear weapons physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and Sandia National Laboratory in New Mexico.