Friday, July 01, 2005

Sleep tight, mates, in your quilted Chambray nightshirts.

Joe Conason has an article on today about why the Bolton nomination should be withdrawn. There's not much in the article that hasn't been said many times before. But there was a section that struck me as funny:

Republican conservatives and liberal Democrats agree that unless we secure the nuclear materials exposed to theft and trafficking in the former Soviet Union, those elements could permit terrorists to build a nuclear weapon. The Marines cannot be sent in to guard those Russian sites, so we must negotiate agreements under international law and provide necessary financing.

That just happens to have been Bolton's most important task for the past several years as undersecretary of state for arms control and disarmament. He bungled the job so badly that his performance drew bitter complaints from Pete Domenici, the conservative New Mexico Republican who is now the Senate's leading expert on this problem. Focusing on legalistic minutiae, Bolton created a bottleneck in negotiations with the Russian government that blocked any progress on nuclear safeguards. Thousands of tons of plutonium remained unguarded for years, until he left the arms control post.

In Bolton's absence, as the Washington Post reported recently, everything has changed for the better. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice let the Russians know that we wanted to conclude a deal to guard the plutonium, and the deal got done. Some observers believe that Rice supported the Bolton nomination to get him out of her building, so that such useful projects could be completed.
For all of you Seinfeld fans out there, does any of this sound familiar?
Elaine: What am I gonna do? He is a disaster.
Jerry: Well, if he's doing that bad, maybe he's in line for another promotion.
Elaine: You know what? You are exactly right. That is what I should do, I
should promote him. I'll give him another office on another floor and he can sit there with his nice title and his bayonet and stop freakin' me out!

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