No Comment — January 31, 2008, 8:58 am

Department of Saturnine Behavior

Georges Danton, falling himself victim to the Terror, said “la révolution dévore ses enfants” – the revolution is eating its own children. The Neoconservative enterprise has been a catastrophe of epic proportions, but the Neocons, a tenacious bunch, haven’t yet suffered much. Indeed, Bill Kristol, a man whose false prognoses could fill a yearly planner, has recently been installed as an op-ed writer for the New York Times on the basis of a number of false assumptions. First, that he is a conservative. Second, that he can write. Third, that as the son of Irving Kristol, he was a safe bet for the slot (though given who made the choice, that nepotistic impulse is understandable).

But are we not now witnessing some cracks in the house? The Bush Administration’s UN ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad is a charter member of the Neocon club, and he spouts their rhetoric incessantly. Word has been about for some time that John Bolton loathes him. Why? It’s certainly not because they have differences on policy or philosophy. I’d say it’s something staggeringly petty. Perhaps it’s because Bolton couldn’t get confirmed for the position that Khalilzad now holds. Indeed, he couldn’t get confirmed even when the G.O.P. controlled the senate, because several Republican senators felt he was hot-tempered, manipulative and couldn’t be trusted with a position as sensitive as the UN post. Khalilzad differs from Bolton in that he’s undeniably competent, and has an engaging, even charming personality. Which makes him exactly what Bolton could never be: an effective diplomat.

Bolton’s vendetta against Khalilzad has included a whispering campaign accusing him of disloyalty. It appears that Bolton has even been closely tracking all of Khalilzad’s movements—probably through a mole in Khalilzad’s office. Fancy that: a private citizen spying on a government official who holds a cabinet-equivalent post. The inner party has its doubts, apparently, about the loyalty of comrade Zal. Only in the Bizarro World of the Bush Administration could it happen.

The latest attacks that Bolton has promoted make for hysterical reading. It seems that the UN ambassador has committed an unforgivable mistake. He actually spoke on a stage on which Iranian government officials were present! Imagine that, the UN ambassador being present in a building in which Iranians were present. Why, it only happens just about every day. But what did he say? It turns out that he tenaciously defended every consummately irrational aspect of the Bush Administration’s Iran policy, refuting and challenging the contentions that the Iranians put to a high-powered gathering of the world’s political and business leaders. That, of course, is a large part of his generally thankless task as head of the U.S. mission to the United Nations.

No, Bolton threw a fit because former Australian foreign minister Gareth Evans introduced Khalilzad with the statement that he had the “really formidable advantage of having a name that is not John Bolton,” producing chuckles from the crowd. Now two Neocon blogs close to Bolton, Powerline and Captain’s Quarters take their best shots at Khalilzad. And it’s evident from them that Khalilzad has committed the unforgivable sin. He may share all of their ideas, but he’s competent, and it makes the rest of them look bad.

Share
Single Page

More from Scott Horton:

Six Questions October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm

The APA Grapples with Its Torture Demons: Six Questions for Nathaniel Raymond

Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.

No Comment, Six Questions June 4, 2014, 8:00 am

Uncovering the Cover Ups: Death Camp in Delta

Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp

From the June 2014 issue

The Guantánamo “Suicides,” Revisited

A missing document suggests a possible CIA cover-up

Get access to 164 years of
Harper’s for only $39.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

December 2014

Gateway to Freedom

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Guns and Poses

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Christmas in Prison

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Poison Apples

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Growing Up

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Post
Sarah Topol follows the trade routes used by arms smugglers, Eric Foner explores the hidden history of the Underground Railroad, Karl Ove Knausgaard recounts a humiliating episode from grade school, and more
Photograph by Angela Strassheim
Article
Growing Up·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“The best coming-of-age stories have a hole in the middle. They pretend to be about knowledge, but they are usually about grasping, long after it could be of any use, one’s irretrievable ignorance.”
Photograph by Ben Pier
Article
Guns and Poses·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“‘It’s open shopping,’ he said. ‘A warehouse. The whole of Libya.’”
Map by Mike Reagan
Article
Gateway to Freedom·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“The Vigilance Committee survived until the eve of the Civil War, and over the course of its several incarnations it propelled the plight of fugitives to the forefront of abolitionist consciousness.“
Photograph by Amani Willett
Article
Christmas in Prison·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Just so you motherfuckers know, I’ll be spending Christmas with my family, eating a good meal, and you’ll all be here, right where you belong.”
Photographer unknown. Artwork courtesy Alyse Emdur

Amount that President Obama has added to America’s “brand value” according to the Nation Brands Index:

$2,100,000,000,000

A study suggested that the health effects of exposure to nuclear radiation at Chernobyl were no worse than ill health resulting from smoking and normal urban air pollution.

A former New York City police officer who had been arrested in 2012 for exchanging online messages about cooking women alive and eating them, and for illegally accessing data about potential victims in law-enforcement databases, was sentenced to time served.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

In Praise of Idleness

By

I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.

Subscribe Today