I have not had time to dissect the entire list of signers of “national security practitioners” who signed the “America Can Do it All Alone” letter circulated and organized by Frank Gaffney.
However, there is one name that just screamed out at me when I took another look this morning: ABRAHAM SOFAER.
His support of John Bolton and Bolton’s presumed appreciation of Sofaer’s support raises yet another fundamental question about the kind of people who support John Bolton’s candidacy.
Abe Sofaer once wrote about a small dinner he and Donald Rumsfeld had with former Iraq Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz decades ago — and told the tale of the evening in a Wall Street Journal op-ed. After I read the op-ed, I immediately e-mailed WSJ Editorial Page Editor Paul Gigot and said that Sofaer was not giving a full picture of his own role in supporting one of the world’s worst thugs and a state-sponsor of terrorism.
I wrote this letter, which was published by the Wall Street Journal on August 29, 2003:
THROWING A LITTLE LIGHT ON ‘DARK SIDE’ COMMENT
Abraham Sofaer’s late-in-the-day report on a dinner held 18 years ago between himself, Richard Fairbanks, Donald Rumsfeld and Tariq Aziz (“Arab Nationalism Self-Destructs,” editorial page, Aug. 21) entertains not only because we learn more about the colorful interactions between America’s and Iraq’s empowered elite decades ago, but because it shows how frequently those who hold positions of power in Washington refashion their own images.
Mr. Sofaer correctly writes: “However intelligent and refined he seemed, Aziz committed himself to the dark side. Like all other ideologies based on tyrannical rule, Iraq’s Nazis did far more harm than good.” I have no problem with Mr. Sofaer’s depiction of Aziz, but his admonition about the “dark side” applies equally to himself.
Abraham Sofaer served as Libya’s legal counsel against the legal action brought by families of the Lockerbie bombing victims — and he did this at the law firm of Hughes, Hubbard & Reed that was in fact the very same firm working on behalf of these bombing victims’ families.
Mr. Sofaer’s analysis of Iraq’s current circumstances may be solid, and his dinner dance with Messrs. Rumsfeld and Aziz worth reporting, but his failure to disclose the dark side he once chose undermines his status as a judge of these matters.
Executive Vice President
New America Foundation
John Bolton has a lot of isolationist supporters from Move America Forward who want the United Nations evicted from U.S. soil. And he has others like Alan Keyes who show either Bolton’s desperation for support or Keyes’ desperation to get on such letters.
But Sofaer is an order of magnitude worse in his lawyerly defense of those who sponsored and directed terrorist attacks while his own law firm was advocating on behalf of its victims.
If we are to take these letters seriously — then we need to ask ourselves about the character and profile of those sending them.
Maybe Fox News will finally look into something that matters when it comes to these proliferating letters in favor of and opposed to John Bolton.
— Steve Clemons