Thursday, March 22, 2007

Sociopaths Say the Darndest Things

For John Bolton, a curious source of pride:

A former top American diplomat says the US deliberately resisted calls for a immediate ceasefire during the conflict in Lebanon in the summer of 2006.

Former ambassador to the UN John Bolton told the BBC that before any ceasefire Washington wanted Israel to eliminate Hezbollah's military capability.

Mr Bolton said an early ceasefire would have been "dangerous and misguided".

Mr Bolton now describes it as "perfectly legitimate...and good politics" for the Israelis to seek to defeat their enemy militarily, especially as Hezbollah had attacked Israel first and it was acting "in its own self-defence".

Mr Bolton, a controversial and blunt-speaking figure, said he was "damned proud of what we did" to prevent an early ceasefire. [...]

More than 1,000 Lebanese civilians and an unknown number of Hezbollah fighters were killed in the conflict.

Israel lost 116 soldiers in the fighting, while 43 of its civilians were killed in Hezbollah rocket attacks. [emphasis added]

Yeah, what's not to be proud of. As I've been saying all along, there are influential members of the Bush administration, and its coterie of like-minded ideologues, that have an unhealthy belief in the efficacy of military solutions to complex, deep rooted conflicts.

To such an extent that negotiated settlements (even exploratory negotiations!) are viewed as born out of weakness, equivalent to appeasement and as inevitably leading to unnecessarily costly compromises at bargaining tables shared with adversaries that would be better dealt with on the battlefield.

At the very least, there is an overriding desire to use military force to hammer opponents until an eventual "negotiated" settlement accepted under extreme duress is sufficiently slanted and one-sided so as to be made more palatable.

All the dead bodies that pile up in the meantime? Well, some people derive a sense of pride from the results of their handiwork.

(hat tip to Scott Lemieux's Pen.. d at LGM - who has some photographs that Bolton might want to frame on his mantle)

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