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Well, I didn't get the chance to disagree with John Bolton in person last month, but the Financial Times let me at him today with a letter I wrote in response to Bolton's op-ed piece "How Iran probed, found weakness and won a triumph" from Monday's FT.

It's clear from the other responses that Bolton has lost all credibility in the thinking person's world. Yet this is whom the Bushies would have again foisted upon the diplomatic world had the Democrats not retaken Congress.

Abominable.

My letter -- for which they created the headline "Cackling disdain from Bolton induces gasps all around" and published almost verbatim -- beneath the fold.

Sir,
Having encountered John Bolton last month when I was an audience member on the BBC's Question Time Iraq special, I find his fear-mongering insulting both in person (albeit by satellite hook-up from Washington) and in print ("How Iran probed, found weakness and won a triumph", April 9).

Possibly this is due to his general belligerence: during the taping his cackling disdain for fellow panellists and audience members who disagreed with him induced gasps all around (inaudible to viewers).

Or possibly it is due to the fact that he continues to beat the drums of the "we must get them before they get us" propaganda that helped the Bush-Blair alliance wage an unprovoked, premeditated, ultimately disastrous war on Iraq.

That night Mr Bolton continued to assert that getting rid of Saddam Hussein alone justified the action the coalition took: "We've eliminated a horrendous dictator who was a threat to the peace and security of the Middle East and beyond," he said, "one of the world's pre-eminent threats and a person who used weapons of mass destruction against Iran and against his own people." This in spite of the fact that United Nations inspectors were only months away from concluding that WMD in Iraq didn't exist ("It would not take years, nor weeks, but months," Hans Blix had told the UN Security Council two weeks before the invasion).

Saddam Hussein was a terrible dictator who had nothing to do with al-Qaeda or 9/11. Exaggeration of his might and influence led to motives that led to an unwinnable war, one in which my son has been fighting with the US Marines for the past seven months.

I am therefore disinclined to accept any of Mr Bolton's opinions on Iran, having tired of dealing with warring politicians dominated by Texas oilmen crying "wolf!" (or is it Wolfowitz?) in the Middle East, particularly as it is my own flesh and blood on the line.

If the prickly Mr Bolton isn't up to fostering the kind of diplomacy that Tehran can deal with, then let's find someone who can.

Enough war. Enough loss of blood and treasure. Enough.

I was also impressed with this observation from one of the other letter writers:

The one aspect the analysis left out was that Saddam Hussein's removal from power, while bringing increased instability to the Middle East, also removed a counterweight to the regime in Tehran. This little detail has not escaped Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad's attention, but what about Mr Bolton and his friends in Washington?

Meanwhile the bullshit in Washington continues apace.

Originally posted to demetroula on Wed Apr 11, 2007 at 05:54 AM PDT.

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