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Bolton Disingenuously Claims He’s Not An Advocate For War Against Iran

Reported by Ellen - July 12, 2008 -

FOX News contributor John Bolton was the only guest on Hannity & Colmes last night (7/11/08) to advocate discuss a potential attack by Israel on Iran. Bolton has previously described military action against Iran as “prudent” and "entirely responsible" and he has said that Arab states "would be delighted" yet he insisted last night that he is not “for” the use of force. He described it as “deeply unattractive” and “very risky.” But, he quickly added, “the alternative, an Iran with nuclear weapons is even more deeply unattractive.” With video.

Sean Hannity began the segment by announcing that the Pentagon has denied a report that “Israeli war planes have been practicing for a potential strike against Iran by using Iraqi-controlled air space and landing at U.S. Airbases.”

Bolton wasted no time alleging that diplomacy with Iran is akin to giving them the upper hand. He accused Iran of being on a charm offensive “to try and get diplomacy going to provide further cover for them so they can say ‘No need for military force.’ ...They’ve used this before, very successfully.”

Hannity didn’t bother to hide the enthusiasm in his voice as he said, “I have a very strong indication and belief that I don’t think Israel’s going to wait much longer in light of the rhetoric. Do you expect that this is gonna be fairly forthcoming, in terms of Israel’s response?”

Bolton responded, “Well, look, the point here is that they fear, based on substantial evidence, that Iran is very close to having a deliverable nuclear weapons capability. And in a country as small as Israel, two or three nuclear devices means the end of the country (no consideration that even if Iran has that capability, they might not use it against Israel.) So if faced with an existential threat, yes I think Israel will use force. They have not hesitated in the past... If they believe that Iran is as far along (in developing nuclear weapons) as I think Iran is, I don’t doubt that they’re looking at the use of force very, very seriously.”

Predictably, Sean “truth is for other people” Hannity began to use the discussion to attack Obama by distorting Obama’s words and then smearing him for what he did not say.

“Let me bring a little politics into here and I’m not asking for your political opinion, Ambassador,“ Hannity said with disingenuousness of his own. “But more just to inform our audience and get your thoughts on Barack Obama who once claimed that we’re air raiding villages and killing civilians in Afghanistan (Hannity forgot to mention that AP verified Obama’s claim in a fact check), who said one time that it would be a profound mistake to use nuclear weapons under any circumstances, who talked about Iran being a tiny country and not a serious threat and then he flipped and flopped and said it was a grave threat and that he would meet without preconditions with Ahmadinejad, on top of potentially invading Pakistan, an ally.

In fact, Hannity almost certainly knows or certainly ought to know that Obama never said he would “potentially” invade Pakistan. As Media Matters reported, what Obama actually said was, "If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets [in Pakistan] and President [Pervez] Musharraf won't act, we will."

Then, “I’m not asking for your political opinion” Hannity asked for Bolton's political opinion: “When you hear all of this, what does it mean if Barack Obama becomes president for national security for the country and the Mid East?”

Bolton, a former Bush administration appointee, didn’t hesitate to join the slurs. “I suppose the best you could say was that he’s grown incoherent as the days have gone by.”

Hannity moved the subject back to Iran with one of his leading questions: “If Ahmadinejad continues to threaten Israel and their very existence, and threatens to wipe them off the map, do they have any alternative but to strike before they get nuclear weapons?” Hannity asked.

“I don’t think so,” Bolton said. “Either Israel strikes before the capability reaches fruition or they are at the leadership of Iran’s mercy. And I don’t think that’s a position the Jewish state wants to allow itself to be in.”

When it was his turn, Alan Colmes said that Bolton has said recently “that either you believe the Bush administration’s going to strike or that you would like if there were a first strike against Iran. Would that be an accurate reflection of your view?”

Bolton denied it. “No, it would not be an accurate reflection of my view.” He continued, “In fact, I’ve said most recently, I don’t think the Bush administration will use force. And I have always said, Alan, always said that the use of force against Iran’s nuclear program is deeply unattractive. It’s very risky. It’s a hard job to do operationally. The reason that we’re looking at the use of force is because the alternative, an Iran with nuclear weapons is even more deeply unattractive.”

Bolton’s record indicates that he very much wants war. In addition to calling a military strike "prudent" and "entirely responsible," he has also said, “I think we have to be prepared to do it,' and “There is a cost to diplomacy. In the area of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, time is not on our side. Time is used by countries like Iran to perfect their nuclear weapons program. We can’t allow that to go on any further.”

For some reason, Colmes, who must surely have known Bolton's record, did not challenge Bolton’s statements but instead moved on to discuss Iraq.

Noting that Iraq’s national security advisor has said he wants a timetable for the US to withdraw, Colmes asked whether Bush and McCain should follow their earlier pledge to support withdrawal if the Iraqis were to ask us to do so.

Bolton claimed that Colmes had “oversimplified” what the Iraqi government had said and that the government did not really mean it.

But an article in the Washington Post called, “Iraq Wants Withdrawal Timetable In U.S. Pact” states,

Iraq's national security adviser said Tuesday that his government would not sign an agreement governing the future role of U.S. troops in Iraq unless it includes a timetable for their withdrawal.

...The outcome of the negotiations on the future role of U.S. forces in Iraq is almost certain to have political consequences for Maliki and other Iraqi leaders with close ties to the United States. Many Iraqis are opposed to the presence of U.S. troops in their country, and the debate has become a key wedge issue as Iraqi politicians gear up for provincial elections scheduled to take place in the fall.