Friday, July 29, 2005

Friday Surprise – Bolton Lied!

In 1977, as a 19-year-old seaman in the U.S. Navy, I was questioned in an incident that took place in the Philippines and to which I was a witness. I distinctly remember being questioned. I recall what the Judge Advocate General (JAG) officer questioning me looked like. I remember my nervousness – even though I was not the subject of the investigation – and I can still recall most of the questions that were asked of me.

That was 28 years ago.

So here's President Bush's United Nations Ambassador nominee John Bolton claiming he doesn't remember talking to a State Department investigator two years ago and being questioned about faulty prewar intelligence that Iraq was seeking nuclear materials in Africa.

Now it turns out he was indeed questioned.

Mr. Bolton is either approaching senility or lying – take your pick. Either one disqualifies him from being our country's chief diplomat.

This is all coming out thanks to the persistence of Democratic Senator Joe Biden, who has been leading the charge to get all the facts out on Bolton before the Senate goes into summer recess and Bush has the opportunity to go around the confirmation process and appoint Bolton.

"It seems unusual that Mr. Bolton would not remember his involvement in such a serious matter," said Biden, the senior Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "In my mind, this raises more questions that need to be answered. I hope President Bush will not make the mistake of recess appointing Mr. Bolton."

"Unusual" is a nice, senatorial way of saying that Bolton is lying. Senator Barbara Boxer of California agrees and has called on Bush to withdraw Bolton's nomination.

And, of course, any talk or investigation into pre-war intelligence related to uranium, Niger or Ambassador Joe Wilson leads right back to the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame – which likely accounts for Bolton's faulty memory.

So what's Bush going to do with the nomination now that it looks like Bolton is fibbing all over the place? For this administration, I say it will be either the Medal of Freedom or a recess appointment to the United Nations.