Josh Marshall on the Return of John Bolton


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Joshua Micah Marshall and I teamed up together a couple years ago and had a co-branded “Bolton Watch” website during much of the battle over John Bolton’s failed confirmation bid to serve as Ambassador of the United States to the United Nations. We were among those who helped beat Bolton then.
But he’s back — and Josh has a great video clip on Bolton and some of what he’s been saying while promoting his new book.
But a reader of TWN just sent a note to Josh Marshall stating:

Your friend Steve Clemons will probably write you to tell you that Bolton’s a “pugnacious nationalist in the Jesse Helms mold” rather than a neocon.

I just wanted to commend the reader, BR, who is right on that front — but am still glad that Josh Marshall is shining a spotlight on the continuing trouble that John Bolton is trying to stir up.
— Steve Clemons


20 comments on “Josh Marshall on the Return of John Bolton

  1. Kathleen says:

    Sandy…. yessss, that’s the one… you’re a sweetheart! Thanxxx.


  2. samuel burke says:

    Free trade means no sanctions against Iran, or Cuba or anyone else for that matter. Entangling alliances with no one means no foreign aid to Pakistan, or Egypt, or Israel, or anyone else for that matter. If an American citizen determines a foreign country or cause is worthy of their money, let them send it, and encourage their neighbors to send money too, but our government has no authority to use hard-earned American taxpayer dollars to mire us in these nightmarishly complicated, no-win entangling alliances.
    Ron Paul.
    antiwar dot com


  3. Sandy says:

    You may mean this one?
    VANITY FAIR, November 2007
    Americans working in Iraq for Halliburton spin-off KBR have been outraged by the massive fraud they saw there. Dozens are suing the giant military contractor, on the taxpayers’ behalf. Whose side is the Justice Department on?
    by David Rose November 2007


  4. Reggie says:

    There’s a great interview with Dr Gordon Prather regarding bonkers Bolton over at


  5. LInda says:

    For perhaps ten years now as part of OMB, annual report cards are done on all federal agencies’ and departments’ progress in developing and implementing sound fiscal management policies. Year after year most departments get a grade of C. DOD always has and still receives an F in both Clinton and Bush Administrations. Much as I would like to blame Zakheim for this, it is an endemic problem at DOD that has existed for decades. It’s really Congress’ fault for not demanding reform as part of its oversight responsibilities. Of course, Congress is part of the military-industrial-complex. This is not a partisan issue at all, but a public policy one that neither party ever really has addressed–and I doubt if they ever will.


  6. ManagedChaos says:

    Ahh, Team B…Sort of like today’s Office of Special Plans. Parallel intelligence gathering, hyping of external threats, ideologically driven members or “outsiders” tasked with a “competitive analysis”. What do you know, our own favorite scumbag neo-con Paul Wolfowitz, was in Team B and it was approved by then DCI, George Bush. Oh, and don’t forget Rummy was Sec. Defense at the time as well. But none of this is related to Watergate, Iran/Contra, 9/11, Plamegate or the Iraq war because they live in separate vacuums. Nope, nothing to see here.


  7. Tim C. says:

    Regarding the McCarthyite attacks on the CIA in the early 1950s, see David M. Barrett, The CIA and Congress (2005), esp. pp. 66-81, a chapter entitled “Communists and ‘Perverts’ in the CIA”.
    There is a rich cold war history of attacks by the far right on the CIA–think “Team B”


  8. Ben Rosengart says:

    Kathleen — those facts about the CIA blew my mind too. But Ms. Saunders seems to be a serious journalist. You can read her book yourself.
    Her book is available on Amazon under a couple of different names; I think the name I referred to above is the US version, whereas I read the UK version. I don’t know how they differ, if at all. Right now, the cheapest version available looks to be a UK hardcover, though last night there was a US paperback for $6, sadly no longer available.


  9. pauline says:

    btw, Dov Zakheim, is a dual Israeli/American citizen and has stalked the halls of US government for over 25 yrs. He has set defense policy which influenced Reagan, Clinton, Sr. and Jr. This rabid firster was the controller of the Pentagon, as poa pointed out, when an audit discovered over a trillion dollars was missing.
    Gee, think about it for a moment…
    And, if that’s not amazing enough, many of Israel’s armaments were obtained (thanks to Zakheim) at bargain basement prices. It seems squads of US F-16 and F-15 were classified as “military surplus” and sold to Israel at a tiny fraction of their value.
    Oh, and to think the Pentagon can’t supply our troops in the ME with safe Humvees or bulletproof jackets.
    This guy may be the firster-of-the-firsters. If not, imo, he’s in the top 2 running neck and neck with Perle.


  10. Kathleen says:

    Linda… someone taught Dopey something??? Coulda fooled me.
    Ben R. wrapping my head around the idea of the CIA doing anything liberal is going to take me some warm up exercises. Can’t quite picture it, but I see your point about them using some liberal stances to combat Communism.
    Sandy… do you still have the link to that super article, People vs Profiteers? I saved it in my East Coast computer and meant to email it to my West Coast one, but forgot to do it.
    Valerie Plame still wants to know who originally told Darth about her. Revoltin Bolton has always had my vote on that one, along with the poorly executed Niger Forgeries.


  11. arthurdecco says:

    To be able to claim John Bolton is “a great, insightful American” without hurling on your own shoes surely requires a level of delusional denial only a NeoCon apologist or dimwit could dredge up – especially after so much evidence to the contrary has been made public.
    Consider Bolton’s shameful partisan chicanery in the 2000 Florida recount saga if you need an example of why he’s neither a “great” nor an “insightful” American.
    John Bolton has been described in sworn testimony as a “Kiss up, Kick Down kind of guy”. He’s a traitorous criminal who has yet to be charged with any of his crimes against the Constitution. He’s certainly no “great American”. He could be more accurately described as a sad, venal, enabling little man enamored with power and the Powerful – a flawed, bombastic failure if there ever was one.


  12. kotzabasis says:

    John Bolton is not only a “pugnacious nationalist”, but also a great insightful American whom the mice that the mountain has brought forth are gnawing with envious pleasure, due to their weak character and intellectual inadequacy.


  13. john somer says:

    Why do you publicize REecess John by continually mentioning him. I haven’t seen you doing the same to Don Quijote who’s equally relevant


  14. Linda says:

    Zakheim has been around as a conservative Republican since he served in Reagan’s DOD. He was among the Vulcans who taught Bush foreign policy during the summer of 2000, then served as Comptroller and Undersecretary of DOD from 2001-2004. He’s now a VP at Booz Allen Hamilton. So he’s definitely part of the military-industrial-complex.


  15. Ben Rosengart says:

    The name’s not familiar to me. Who is he?


  16. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Well, Steve doesn’t consider Dov Zakheim a “neo-con” either. Dov’s just a good ‘ol boy that managed to misplace a couple trillion bucks.


  17. Ben Rosengart says:

    Well, I don’t have the Saunders book to hand, but as I recall, McCarthy slammed the CIA for its activities related to what Saunders calls the Cultural Cold War. The Agency was funding painting, music and poetry, here, in Europe and in Latin America, as part of a soft propaganda war with the USSR. It was also cozy with a lot of center-left groups, trade unions and the like, bolstering them as counterweights to the Communists.
    I think you can rather easily imagine a right-wing politician demanding indignantly to know what the U.S. was doing funding Abstract Expressionist art and socialist politics. Then and now, the right had a habit of taking things out of context with appeals to a sort of militant ignorance, all under the false banner of “common sense”.
    Does that give you the picture?


  18. arthurdecco says:

    Explain to me how you criticize the CIA from a McCarthyite stance.
    In plain English, please.


  19. Ben Rosengart says:

    He’s certainly made common cause with the neocons. I’d call him a neocon fellow-traveller. Steve’s point is about Mr. Bolton’s intellectual DNA. The neocon group is an East Coast, cold-war liberalism kind of thing. (Read Frances Stonor Saunders’s _The Cultural Cold War_, for example, and see how many names you recognize.) Bolton’s type of person wasn’t working with the CIA in those days; he would’ve been criticizing the CIA from a McCarthyite stance.


  20. Sandy says:

    John Bolton not a NEO-CON???
    Established in 1997 by a number of leading neoconservative writers and pundits associated with the American Enterprise Institute, the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) is a nonprofit organization whose declared aim is “to promote American global leadership….
    …the group’s first order of business was Iraq, which as George Packer writes in his 2005 book The Assassins’ Gate, would serve “as the test case for [neoconservative] ideas about American power and world leadership” (p. 36). Upset over the failure of the first President Bush to oust Saddam Hussein, neoconservatives had long been agitating for more aggressive U.S. action, penning numerous articles on the subject, creating pressure groups like the revived Committee for Peace and Security in the Gulf (whose members included Abrams, Khalilzad, Perle, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, John Bolton, and David Wurmser), and attracting other factions on the Republican establishment to the cause….


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