During the Iran-Contra investigations, which now seem like a much more innocent time--a thought which would have astonished me at the time--it wasn’t quite clear if John Negroponte was actively colluding with and covering up and lying about the Honduran government’s use of death squads, or if he was lazy, stupid and oblivious. With the information we have now (it’s all over the Web today, you can’t take a step without getting some Negroponte on your shoe), it was definitely the former, but the point is that Negroponte’s attempts to save his reputation depended on presenting himself as oblivious to what was going on around him (the Mr. Magoo/Ronald Reagan defense). So he’s the perfect man to be Chimpy’s intelligence tsar, even though he only got the job after everyone else refused it.
One of my favorite Negroponte moment’s was when he was appointed ambassador to Iraq. The CPA put up a picture of him at the UN, this one
standing in front of Picasso’s Guernica. Within hours, they’d cropped the picture.
The Bushies still aren’t giving a coherent reason for having withdrawn the ambassador to Syria, if they’re not going to blame it explicitly for the Hariri assassination. Here’s Bush, today:
We’ve recalled our ambassador, which indicates that the relationship is not moving forward, that Syria is out of step with the progress being made in a greater Middle East, that democracy is on the move. And this is a country that isn’t moving with the democratic movement.