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Belting Bolton

Two things have our Readers Who Comment really exercised today: John R. Bolton's op-ed attacking the new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) that says Iran probably isn't building an A-bomb, and the deal to freeze interest rates on some subprime mortgages.

Bolton, the neocon lightning rod who could not get Senate confirmation to become ambassador to the United Nations and so was given a now-expired recess appointment to that job by President Bush, said the new NIE has five major flaws. Further, "While the president and others argue that we need to maintain pressure on Iran, this 'intelligence' torpedo has all but sunk those efforts, inadequate as they were." Most of our RWC disagree, although Bolton has his defenders. Many of our RWC are as angry with the Post for giving Bolton a platform as they are about what Bolton has to say.

As for the mortgage story, many commenters dislike the freeze and see it as a bailout for the unworthy. Why should the government and investors help those who should have been smart enough not to buy more house than they could afford with loans they couldn't pay back? There are a few voices noting that this problem affects us all, even if we don't like how it happened, and regard government intervention as necessary even if unappetizing. A Post editorial this morning called the plan as outlined "enlightened self-interest."

First, the comments on the Bolton story.

jgrasse succinctly summed views expressed by many in writing, "Another neocon trying to terrify the public into supporting a bombing of another muslim country. WaPo is a sounding board for neocons. Bolton is a war monger."

williamhenline said, "Ambassador Bolton, have no credibility when it comes to lamenting an alleged bias contained within intelligence findings. You do, however, have an extensive track record in creating and rewarding such bias in intelligence for your own ideological purposes..."

chrisfox8 wrote, "Oh thank God we can all go back to hiding under the bed... thanks John Bolton for putting the fear back... WaPo, why do you carry this tripe?!? This guy has the credibility of Dick Cheney."

Bolton has a few supporters, like pastor_bob, who said, "Bolton is right on with his analysis. If folks want to react to this Polyannaish report like those aboard the capsized Poseidon, who did nothing but wait to be rescued, we'll all be treated to a similar hellish fate."

And yonaton added, "THREE THINGS (1) - Thank you, Mr. Bolton. (2) - Why aren't there more like you? (3) - Why aren't YOU running for president?"

But styles1 said that "Mr. Bolton managed to parse this in such a way as to imply that Intelligence Reports are not used when making Policy Decisions. It is the standard 'anything we can't control, we deny.' "

TedFrier noted that "...If the intelligence community has fudged its numbers in the way Bolton describes, then the only thing that can explain why they did it is knowledge that momentum building within the adminitration for another unilateral war was overwhelming... Imagine if the NIE had been less conclusive?"

We'll give those who blame The Washington Post Co. one more shot with eham3, who wrote, "I was shocked when Newsweek accepted Karl Rove as a commentator in their magazine but I think WP may have dropped even lower to print John Bolton on your opinion pages. How irrelevant do these jokers have to become to not be welcomed by allegedly reputable newsprint?"

And we'll close this subject with wellworn444, who seems to have a sense of humor about the whole thing in writing that Bolton "...Clearly... has more intelligence in his little finger that the entire current State Department has. We can only hope that when Rudy gets sworn in in Jan 08 that the first appointment he makes is John Bolton for Sec of State. Then we will know we are on the right track."

Now we'll turn to the mortgage freeze story and we'll start with HankTheCat, whose brief post summarizes what many have written in longer form. Hank asked, "Why should the rest of us bail out a few financial morons?"

Perry3 opined that "This mortgage mess is clearly a result of flawed right wing, discredited ideology. When "the market" fails as it always does, the Kool Aid drinkers resort to fixing the problem with socialist methods. Had they not relied on "the market" but had reasonable regulations in place, this problem could have been averted. I want to return to the party of Roosevelt!"

chritipurr said, "infuriating. While everyone tried to get in on the get-rich-quick scheme I wisely decided not to buy. As it turned out I lost my job and was unemployed for 4 months shortly after I turned down signing a contract. Now what we have is instead of socialized medicine we have socialized housing. I feel sick."

Vze2sr66 wrote, "It's the perfect storm. The economy is noesdiving just before an election. The republicans are doing everything they can to give their candidates a fighting chance and the dems are trying to prove they can't be out done. I hope our financial system survives."

gitarre offered support for the plan in writing, "... the president has crafted a fairly elegant solution with little taxpayer money. While it justifiably offends the sensibilities of many to offer even temporary relief to the irresponsible, it would do none of us any good to see the courts, the real estate market, and the mortgage market awash in foreclosures for years..."

But Alsatian1 disagreed, writing, "Hey Gitarre, you can't say it wouldn't do ANY of us any good. It would do me plenty of good to see housing prices return to normal..."

book134 opined that "Though this measure is better late than never, it's better than nothing. For hundreds of thousands of mortgage holders, these actions are too little, too late. They've already lost their homes..."

sbundley wrote, "What jumps out in this article is 'damaging earnings at major financial institutions'. I guess we can't have them writing off billions more in loans they never should have issued in the first place..."

MPatalinjug said, "Here is George W interfering in the workings of a free market, apparently in pursuit of a political agenda... Government action, such as that which President Bush now proposes, is unwarranted interference in the business cycle and will surely only result in unwanted distortions."

But nychap44, who gets the last word today, wrote, "This 'bail out' has nothing to do with helping the people who made the bad decisions; it has to do with the negative effect on our overall economy caused by their bad decisions. We would rather not have them continue to be a drag, so we help them out temporarily, prevent the same thing from happening again by implementing some rules that preclude a recurrence and move on..."

All comments on the Bolton op-ed are here.

All comments on the mortgage article are here.

By Doug Feaver  |  December 6, 2007; 8:10 AM ET
Categories:  Iran , Mortgages  
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The Gulf of Tonkin incident; a hostile staged act against the Sovereign nation of vietnam
was used as an excuse to escalate the conflict. The naval spin on the latest "incident" in the strait of hormuz has once again given the fundamentalist neo-colonials in D.C. the flimsy excuse. We will attack Iran before bush leaves office. And we are the new armies of darkness on this planet. 1700 years of vicious and sanctimonious Roman religous rule should be more than the rest of the planet will stand, then again maybe not. Makes me so proud to be an Amerikaner. Bible in one hand and a bat in the other. We really should be ashamed. We used to stand for something. The mono-theists will probably kill us all in the end.
Go Pagans!

Posted by: David Crosby | January 7, 2008 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Bush blamed the current war on faulty intelegence (although it was faulty neocon interpretation) and the NIE was the intel community making sure it didn't happen again. It has at least temporarly taken the wind out of the Bush war sails.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 17, 2007 11:59 AM | Report abuse

You better wake up "richmond Dad" or Bush, Bolton, Chainey and the boys will have your child in a pine box!

Posted by: rick | December 17, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Bolton, in his fifth point, notes that many of those behind the NIE were not intelligence professionals but, rather, "refugees from the State Department."

Gasp! Imagine if we had listened to those weak-willed, namby-pamby State Department refugees when they wasted all that time formulating detailed reconstruction plans for Iraq that never got off the shelf. Thank goodness we left the whole project to ideologues like Bolton.

Don't take this latest document as gospel? Fair enough. I'm happy to cast a jaundiced eye on anything that gives the current Iranian regime too much credit for sensible behavior, but to dismiss it out of hand after being so dreadfully wrong before is insanity. Bolton eschews even the most perfunctory obligatory "opposing argument" paragraph, and the contempt in his writing is palpable. It's as if he's saying, "for God's sake, you people. You didn't follow me last time when I was wrong--what's it gonna take to get you to trust me? Sheesh!"

Here's what I want to know from Bolton's defenders here: Do you believe that Saddam Hussein had WMDs? If you don't, how can you be trustful of Bolton and the administration now? Aren't you the least bit suspicious of their dismissal of this report? If you do believe he did, evidence clearly has no influence on you. You are delusional.

Posted by: Matt Weiss | December 6, 2007 10:30 PM | Report abuse

I turn on Limbaugh...The Post is Liberal.
I read comments here....The Post is Conservative.
Every comment on both platforms spews hate.
I am trying to raise a child here people.
Can you just chill long enough for a Dad to make sense of what is really going on without the hate?

Posted by: Richmond | December 6, 2007 9:59 PM | Report abuse

"Why should the government and investors help those who should have been smart enough not to buy more house than they could afford with loans they couldn't pay back?"

You sir must be joking. The "plan" was put together by the mortgage investors and presented to both Congress and President (who does not hear any but his own voice) whathisname. They are not interested whatsoever in helping the people who are defaulting their loans. This plan is the only LONGSHOT they have at not losing everything as a result of their own greed!

Posted by: RetCombatVet | December 6, 2007 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately for the US, it appears Mr. Bolton once again appears to want to work against most people's wishes in a search for a diplomatic solution, and again instil that there is no good intelligence unless it is exactly what you personally want to hear and fits your prescribed theory. Once again attack the messengers rather than address the message.
I read at another site the perfect query as to why republicans want to crucify moveon for complaining about Petraeus but they have no problems supporting Bolton as he discredits the whole intelligence community. Once again, news appears only to be good or unbiased when it fits exactly what you want to hear already.

Posted by: visitor | December 6, 2007 9:15 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry for your, I mean OUR, loss. The Washington Post was once something to be proud of. Why don't you move guys move to Jerusalem and get it over with?

Posted by: David Ellis | December 6, 2007 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Lets not lose sight. Islamic Fascism declared war against the U.S. and all non-Islamic nations. The truth is the truth. Further, deception is a tenet of their religion to non-believers. Why would any free human want to suppress this?
"Intelligence" is NOT fact it is a "guess" which in history has been wrong; and did it cost us, just look at WWII, Perl Harbor, just one example.

Posted by: Dr Coles | December 6, 2007 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Undoubtedly, you will reach big success with your site.
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Posted by: adipex dangers | December 6, 2007 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Doug, judging from the admiration I've seen in the past for Hugo Chavez on the comments section of some of the Liberal blogs, I can tell you for certain that if Mr. Chavez were to write an op-ed piece for the Washington Post, many of the Liberal commenters here would heap the highest praise upon him.

The fact that the NIE States an outright fallacy and specious argument, namely, that the Iranians in '03 halted their nuclear weapons due to international pressure, does not seem to bother the Left. Fine, if they feel like propagating their self-delusional ideologies with mendacious premises, go ahead! See if I care.....
Growl! Arggghhh!!!

Posted by: Robener | December 6, 2007 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Ideology always trumps facts. The neocoms won't let intelligence dissuade them from their beliefs. Bomb Iran!

Posted by: Jerry | December 6, 2007 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Lately the Washington Post has become a haven for discredited, disreputable refugees from the Bush administration (arguably the worst administration in the Republic's history).

What makes these discredited, disreputable refugees worthy of daily flaunting on the pages of the Washington Post.

How is it that they are so readily on-call and available to the Washington Post -- and always seem to have an Op-Ed piece ready within hours of a breaking news story.

The Washington Post obviously has more than a casual relationship with these people.

And the fact that you do not reveal the roles played by people like Kagan and Gerson within the Bush Administration says a great deal about the lack of journalist honesty the Washington Post is bringing to its Op-Ed pages.

Or perhaps you think it unnecessary to remind your readers of the role that people like Kagan, Gerson, Bolton, Krauthammer, Kristol, etc., have had on the disastrous policies of the Bush administration.

Posted by: RAS | December 6, 2007 5:07 PM | Report abuse

My, are your commenters excited that John Bolton should EVEN be given a forum to state his opinion. Unfortunately, although many impugn his characater and state that his views are "drivel" etc, I did not see one cogent response to the points he made. If this is what passes for crtical commentary from the left then the WaPost would be fortunate indeed to not have such morons as readers. Perhaps they will make good on their threats and read something more to their ideologically blinded sensibilities like Daily Kos or the Nation.

I for one am pleased to hear another voice on such an important issue. Too much of the media rushs to embrace anything that might be construed as critcal of the Bush administration while ignoring the effect on the country.
We all need to remember that the NIE is not FACT. It is (hopefully) educated OPINION and should be treated as such. The 2007 NIE directly contradicts the 2005 NIE. Think about that! Either the intelligence community was greviously wrong 2 years ago or they are wrong now. On a matter of such grave importance to the future security of this country, both Democrats and Republicans should be interested to read dissenting views and come to their own conclusions as to the validity of each. To try to stifle dissent is totalitarian as well as stupid.

Posted by: Just a Farmer | December 6, 2007 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Between you giving Bolton and Newsweek giving Rove the pages of both publications a platform to continue to preach the crap that has this country in the mess it is in, is a sham. You ought to be ashamed of yourselves. To think this was once a great paper.

Posted by: Patrick NYC | December 6, 2007 4:34 PM | Report abuse

It's true you're helping no one by airing views by people like Bolton, Why not make ann coulter editor in chief. Makes reasonble people avoid your paper. Wake up.

Posted by: LXR | December 6, 2007 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Who cares about Bolton...I am more interested in the "missing" parts of the Paulson Plan. Mortgages are held by companies who's stock is publicly traded. The price of that stock depends on earnings/profits. Paulson has somehow?? gotten those companies to forego profits/earnings (sure he has?). But stockholders will bail if they can....some, such as the State of Florida, invested and can't bail, but they are the exeception not the, just how many Mortgage Companies did Paulson convince to go out of business....have not seen the names yet.......................

Posted by: Bill | December 6, 2007 4:09 PM | Report abuse

The Washington Post only harms itself by continuing to give a platform to the discredited hangers-on of neo-con ideology. Between Bolton and the regular contributions of Charles Krauthammer, Post readers are getting an education in the shear irrationality of ideological delusion.

Posted by: Dismayed | December 6, 2007 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Long long ago, the WaPo became a satirical publication- why else that string of lunatics in their employ?

Posted by: TimSearl | December 6, 2007 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Bolton's claim to fame is being one of the idiots beating on windows and walls, in the effort to subvert democracy, during the 2000 Florida count. Yes, he was one of the rightwing clowns that shutdown the vote by being obnoxious.
Well, they got their Bush "selected" and he's done nothing but made a mess of this country, nationaly and internationaly. For those of you who suggest Bush has kept us safe, take a trip down to our porous border, and come back and tell me you feel safe. There was eight years between the '93 and '01 attacks, so Clinton kept us safe also, right. They take their time planning attacks.

Posted by: shag11 | December 6, 2007 3:20 PM | Report abuse

apparent blizzard of negative comment WaPo received after once again featuring one of Bolton's belligerently zany (and actually dangerous if anyone still took this silly Yosemite Sam caricature seriously) may be trying to tell you something.

WaPo's pretense of 'telling both sides' as an excuse to provide prominence to various rightwingo zealots (who btw do mainstream conservatism no favor) may well transform WaPo's editorial page into print version of CNN's Crossfire program, now disbanded for being too shrill and silly to matter.

We don't doubt there may be 'two sides' to child molestation, but why does WaPo need to prominently display both of them?

You've got Kagan for crying out loud; why not give Bolton a much-deserved rest?

Posted by: ithejury | December 6, 2007 2:54 PM | Report abuse

John Bolton is a blithering, neo-con idiot.
He will say anything to advance the neo-con agenda. What planet does he live on?

It is mind-boggling to hear this man try to spin the intelligence report.

Posted by: Judith Beal | December 6, 2007 2:51 PM | Report abuse

It's sad the Post will carry anything as stupid as what Bolton has to say on the Iran intelligence. Nobody endowed with a brain needs to hear this tripe, since it was predictable to the point where it's the cliche one expected to hear from the moment the story broke. Bolton in this sense is merely the appropriately stupid individual to sign his name to it, like some character out of Flaubert. But for that precise reason, is it really in the Post's interests to continue giving him column space? He is like some toothless bum raving on a platform at Metro Center -- which is exactly where he'd wind up if he didn't have cowardly friends handing him jobs and column space. I would rather listen to a high-school kid or a cartoon character.

Posted by: Shawn Gorman | December 6, 2007 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Bolton is doing god's work! He is another "Evangelical Armageddonists" looking for the sea of blood so Jesus can come back and reward him and his misguided and psychotic comrads in arm and send them to the heaven! In my humble opinion, if and when Jesues returns for his either first or second time (depending if you are Jewish or Christian", he is going to exact revenge on these blood thirsty S.O.B.s for all the pain and suffering they have brought mankind in the past couple of hundred years in his name.
The "neo-con-artists" appear as if the "inmates have taken over running the asylem". They all need serious psychiatric help and should all be locked up!!!

Posted by: Hassan | December 6, 2007 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Right wing? Only of you equate right wing with Israel/neocon/zionist/or whatever.

The Washington Post has gone AIPAC.

Posted by: EISEN | December 6, 2007 2:29 PM | Report abuse

HOW very gentle you are on Bolton.

Can't cross your paymaster at the post? You a neocon, too?

Because your charmling little ditty above
does NOT refect the fury and
anger and overwhelming
disgust at Bolton, et. al. Like Americans right and reason.

By the high hundreds and growing. WHAT
WOULD cause you to call landslide?

Posted by: Harry | December 6, 2007 2:25 PM | Report abuse

The only issue is whether Bolton is channeling General Curtis LeMay or Attila the Hun. Mr. Bolton is a big fan of intelligence that supports his preconceived notion that force is always the answer, regardless of the question. His track record, and that of the Administration that he represented, speaks for itself. Taking advice from John Bolton on foreign policy is akin to taking advice on ethics from Richard Nixon....

Posted by: Marc | December 6, 2007 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Oh that liberal press.

John Bolton writes from Planet Neocon.
Then we have George Will, Robert Novak and finally former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson.

Is the Post now a joint operation of the National Review? Or did Murdoch buy it while I was asleep?

Posted by: TRT | December 6, 2007 1:59 PM | Report abuse

why is Fred Hiatt and Bush's boys in charge
of the Washington Post ? If I wanted right
wing drivel I would read the Wsahington Times

Posted by: Anonymous | December 6, 2007 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Count me in the group of readers who are dismayed by the WaPo's editorial policy's "love affair" with the neo-cons and the right in general.

Todays lineup is a good case in point: Bolton, Novak and Will. The only choice there is how one cares to have their disinformation served up.

Posted by: PatD | December 6, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

apparent blizzard of negative comment WaPo received after once again featuring one of Bolton's belligerently zany (and actually dangerous if anyone still took this silly Yosemite Sam caricature seriously) may be trying to tell you something.

WaPo's pretense of 'telling both sides' as an excuse to provide prominence to various rightwingo zealots (who btw do mainstream conservatism no favor) may well transform WaPo's editorial page into print version of CNN's Crossfire program, now disbanded for being too shrill and silly to matter.

We don't doubt there may be 'two sides' to child molestation, but why does WaPo need to prominently display both of them?

You've got Kagan for crying out loud; why not give Bolton a much-deserved rest?

Posted by: ithejury | December 6, 2007 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Everyone quoted here who disagreed with Bolton attacked his credibility, reputation, or motives; there was no discussion of his reasoning or alleged facts. Are these opinions really worth repeating?

Posted by: mwregehr | December 6, 2007 1:47 PM | Report abuse

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