Monday, April 18, 2005
My second Bolton post: I hadn't intended on addressing the nomination of John Bolton to be U.S. representative to the U.N. a second time, hence the misnamed nature of last week's post. But, as I've continued to watch both talking heads on the cable news programs and verious Democratic pols, I'm mystified by the opposition to him on grounds that he's "mean" to subordinates. Sen. Barbara Boxer (Dumb-Calif.) suggested that Bolton needs anger-management courses.
Mark Steyn, as is the norm, put it best:
So I was interested to hear about the kind of violent Boltonian eruptions that had led Boxer to her diagnosis. Well, here it comes. (If you've got young children present, you might want to take them out of the room.) From the shockingly brutal testimony of Thomas Fingar, assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Intelligence Research:
Q: Could you characterize your meeting with Bolton? Was he calm?
Fingar: No, he was angry. He was standing up.
Q: Did he raise his voice to you? Did he point his finger in your face?
Fingar: I don't remember if he pointed. John speaks in such a low voice normally. Was it louder than normal? Probably. I wouldn't characterize it as screaming at me or anything like that. It was more, hands on hips, the body language as I recall it, I knew he was mad.
He was ''standing up'' with ''hands on hips''! Who's he think he is -- Carmen Miranda? Fortunately, before Bolton could let rip with a ''pursed lip'' or escalate to the lethal ''tsk-ing'' maneuver, Fingar was able to back cautiously out of the room and call the FBI anger management team, who surrounded the building and told the deranged diplomat to come out slowly with his hands above his hips.
Well, I haven't been so horrified since . . . well, since David Gest split from Liza Minnelli and launched a multimillion dollar suit for damages because she'd beaten him up. As ''The Daily Show's'' Jon Stewart observed, ''There is no conceivable amount of money worth telling the world that you were beaten up by Liza Minnelli.'' Likewise, whatever one's feelings about the U.N. and Kofi Annan and multilateralism, there's nothing that could get most self-respecting men to appear in front of a Senate committee and complain that Bolton put his hands on his hips. At least, Liza allegedly beat David to a pulp. True, she'd recently had two hip replacements, so if she'd slapped her hands on her hips, she'd have fallen to the ground howling in agony, and David could have run for his life. Or, indeed, strolled for his life, given that she was overweight, barely 5 feet tall and a decade his senior. But my point is: Even Gest might have balked at complaining about hands on hips.
Still, in the ever accelerating descent into parody of the Senate confirmation process, nothing is too trivial. By the time Boxer and Co. are through huffing about the need for anger management lessons, Two-Hips Bolton will be able to walk into every saloon in Dodge and the meanest hombres will be diving for cover behind the hoochie-koochie gals' petticoats before his pinky's so much as brushed his waist.
And what exactly did this analyst do to provoke this eruption from Bolton? According to reports, Bolton had proposed some language on Cuba and biological weapons for a speech he was to give. The analyst in question disputed the language and Bolton asked him to run the language past other intelligence agencies to get their take on it.
The analyst did this, but attempted to prejudice what the other intelligence agencies would say by attaching a note to the request attacking the proposed language. One of the other intelligence agencies, apparently thinking this attachment somewhat odd, sent it directly to Bolton. Bolton called the analyst into his office and the analyst denied attaching it to the request.
So, in other words, this analyst told a bald-faced lie to his boss -- and he's supposed to be the victim?
I just shudder to think what would've happened to me had I done something similar in the private sector. Do you get to collect unemployment when you've been fired for cause?