“I think it is inappropriate and illegitimate for an international civil servant to second-guess the conduct that we’re engaged in in the war on terror, with nothing more as evidence than what she reads in the newspapers.” – John Bolton, our U.N. ambassador.

Bolton is surely aware that the evidence that the U.S. has engaged in torture, and “cruel, inhuman and degrading” treatment of detainees may be found in more than just the newspapers. Has he read his own briefs? He could also read the Schmidt Report, the Jones-Fay Report, the Taguba Report, the Schlesinger Report, the Bybee memo, the Yoo argument, the reports from the International Red Cross, and on and on. His own government has provided ample evidence of its own violation of American law and basic human rights. What you find in Bolton is something democratically repulsive, but one that is very close to the view of Dick Cheney. That view is that the public should never second-guess its own government in the conduct of a war. I wish we didn’t have to. But when you have bungled a war this badly, and committed war-crimes in the process, what would Bolton have us do? Trust, sadly, is no longer an option. It no longer became an option the minute looting broke out in Iraq and the secretary of defense, responsible for maintaining order in a country he had just invaded, shrugged his shoulders. From that moment of complete and proud dereliction of duty, we were on notice that these people couldn’t be trusted.


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