Bolton’s role in diplomat’s ouster questioned
U.N. tribunal ruled arms-control chief’s dismissal ‘unlawful’
The Associated Press
Updated: 9:05 p.m. ET June 4, 2005
I thought of fisking this AP story earlier; but I honestly thought nobody could be so disingenuous as to cite it as some sort of justification of the Democratic attempt to vilify John Bolton, both preventing his ratification as ambassador to the UN and also, if possible, destroying his life and career. Foolish me. The ink was barely dry (the phosphors were barely glowing) before it was being quoted all over the place by triumphalist liberals: ah-HA! It’s the smoking gun!
Note that indented paragraphs are taken directly from the AP story; my responses are unindented.
A former Bolton deputy says the U.S. undersecretary of state felt Jose Bustani “had to go,” particularly because the Brazilian was trying to send chemical weapons inspectors to Baghdad. That might have helped defuse the crisis over alleged Iraqi weapons and undermined a U.S. rationale for war.
Note that the only phrase in quotation marks is “had to go.” The unfounded conclusion that it was because Bustani “was trying to send chemical weapons inspectors” to help “defuse the crisis over alleged Iraqi weapons” is the AP’s voice, not that of the “former Bolton deputy,” whoever that is (AP never says).
Bustani, who says he got a “menacing” phone call from Bolton at one point, was removed by a vote of just one-third of member nations at an unusual special session of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), at which the United States cited alleged mismanagement in calling for his ouster.
The vote was 48 to 7 (!) to oust Bustani, with 43 abstentions. Had those abstainers wanted to keep Bustani, it would only have taken only 18 of the 43 members to change their votes from “present” to “nay” to keep Bustani and thwart the hated United States of America.
Firing set ‘unfortunate precedent’
The United Nations’ highest administrative tribunal later condemned the action as an “unacceptable violation” of principles protecting international civil servants. The OPCW session’s Swiss chairman now calls it an “unfortunate precedent” and Bustani a “man with merit.”
“Many believed the U.S. delegation didn’t want meddling from outside in the Iraq business,” said the retired Swiss diplomat, Heinrich Reimann. “That could be the case.”
“Many believed?” Many of whom — career UN apparatchiks?
Bolton has been criticized for supposed bullying of junior U.S. officials and for efforts to get them fired.
Criticisms that have been unsubstantiated or downright debunked during the lengthy confirmation hearings on Bolton. This is inuendo at its worst: AP mentions charges raised by political enemies of Bush and Bolton without revealing that none has actually been verified upon investigation and many have been disproven.
In May 2000, one year ahead of time and with strong U.S. support, Bustani was unanimously re-elected OPCW chief for a 2001-2005 term. Colin Powell, the new secretary of state, praised his leadership qualities in a personal letter in 2001.
But Ralph Earle, a veteran U.S. arms negotiator, told AP that he and others in Bolton’s arms-control bureau grew unhappy with what they considered Bustani’s mismanagement. The agency chief also “had a big ego. He did things on his own,” and wasn’t responsive to U.S. and other countries’ positions, said Earle, now retired.
None of the Leftists quoting this article that I have seen have included the above paragraph, which hardly suits their argument.
Both Earle and career diplomat Avis Bohlen, who retired in June 2002 as a top Bolton deputy, said the idea to remove Bustani did not originate with the undersecretary. But Bolton “leaped on it enthusiastically,” Bohlen recalled. “He was very much in charge of the whole campaign,” she said, and Bustani’s initiative on Iraq seemed the “coup de grace.”
But they all find room for this one, leaving the impression that Erle and Bohlen agree that the reason for the ouster was that Bustani was trying to “defuse” the Iraq situation. In fact, neither is quoted as saying any such thing; in the paragraph not quoted, of course, we find out why they really thought Bustani should go.
“It was that that made Bolton decide he had to go,” Bohlen said.
“That” was what — the mismanagement, the big ego, or the Iraq initiative? This quote is put into a separate paragraph, leaving us totally in the dark whether it connects to the Bohlen quote in the paragraph above or to something completely different.
Bolton: Bustani’s Iraq work ‘inappropriate’
After U.N. arms inspectors had withdrawn from Iraq in 1998 in a dispute with the Baghdad government, Bustani stepped up his initiative, seeking to bring Iraq – and other Arab states – into the chemical weapons treaty.
In other words, after Clinton pulled the inspectors out over repeated Iraqi interference, threats, bullying, and spying on UNSCOM, Bustani wanted to cut his own, private deal with Hussein to send in his own inspectors — unauthorized by anyone — to give Iraq a clean bill of health. There is, of course, no doubt in AP’s collective mind that Saddam Hussein was utterly innocent:
Bustani’s inspectors would have found nothing, because Iraq’s chemical weapons were destroyed in the early 1990s. That would have undercut the U.S. rationale for war because the Bush administration by early 2002 was claiming, without hard evidence, that Baghdad still had such an arms program.
Like a web, the pieces are falling into place… like a puzzle, the strands all come together at the center. In authorial voice, AP simply tells us that Iraq had NO chemical weapons (but we found chemical artillery shells in 2004) because Iraq HAD destroyed them all (but they still, to this date, cannot show any evidence of such destruction)… and the claims of WMD by “the Bush administration” completely lacked any “hard evidence” that Iraq had WMD programs — which we found in the post-war inspections. Thank God we had the AP to tell us which parts of the Duelfer report to ignore!
Notice that this entire paragraph is the AP’s characterization, not a quotation.
In a March 2002 “white paper,” Bolton’s office said Bustani was seeking an “inappropriate role” in Iraq, and the matter should be left to the U.N. Security Council – where Washington has a veto.
Nice little smear at the end. Clear implication: the only reason Bolton wanted the UNSC to be in charge was so that we could veto all this evidence that would prove bushliedpeopledied. Again, however, this is simply the AP leaping to a conclusion that just coincidentally matches with what they’ve thought (and said) all along.
Bolton said in a 2003 AP interview that Iraq was “completely irrelevant” to Bustani’s responsibilities. Earle and Bohlen disagree. Enlisting new treaty members was part of the OPCW chief’s job, they said, although they thought he should have consulted with Washington.
This is a complete non-sequitur. Bolton clearly meant it was “completely irrelevant” for Bustani to offer to send in his own arms inspectors to replace or dispute UNMOVIC inspectors… not that it was irrelevant to try to get Iraq into the Chemical Weapon Treaty. Hence, Erle and Bohlen were not “disagreeing” with Bolton; they were talking at cross purposes to what the AP writer wanted to say. In fact, they might simply have been asked whether it was part of Bustani’s job to enlist new members, without being told that their answer was going to be portrayed as if it contradicted Bolton’s.
In June 2001, Bolton “telephoned me to try to interfere, in a menacing tone, in decisions that are the exclusive responsibility of the director-general,” Bustani wrote in 2002 in a Brazilian academic journal.
Iraqi chemical-weapons inspections are the “exclusive responsibility” of Jose Bustani? Not when he proposed doing so; it was then the “exclusive responsibility” of UNSCOM, the United Nations Special Commission; and when he wrote this article, it was the “exclusive responsibility” of UNMOVIC, the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission. Bustani never had Iraqi chemical-weapons inspections in his portfolio… he just wanted it.
Somehow, “wanting it” transsubstantiated into it being his “exclusive responsibility.”
In a stern rebuke issued in July 2003, the three-member U.N. tribunal said the U.S. allegations were “extremely vague” and the dismissal “unlawful.” It said international civil servants must not be made “vulnerable to pressures and to political change.”
Unlawful? What “law” did it violate… the law of averages? Even Bob Riggs — earlier cited by AP as a fierce Bustani booster — wrote in 2002 that “although more states abstained or opposed the US resolution than supported it, the vote was technically legal and successful.”
What we have here is a UN tribunal ruling in favor of a career UN diplomat against the United States… right after the United States had successfully prosecuted the Iraq war in spite of repeated attempts by the bribed members of the Security Council to hogtie us. Quelle dommage!