Tuesday, April 12, 2005

A quintessential kiss-up, kick-down sort of guy


To keep their deliberations on the next pope secret, the Vatican will use an “electromagnetic force field,” and the cardinals will be frisked to ensure that they don’t sneak in cell phones, laptops, Gameboys and suchlike. And speaking of people who should never speak in public, I’d have more sympathy (well, no I wouldn’t, but play along) for the Vatican decision to give Cardinal Bernard Law, the enabler of so much child sexual abuse, an honored speaking role if these were not the same people who ordered all those Liberation Theologians to repent their views or shut up.

A former subordinate suggested that John Bolton does not play well with others and is a “a quintessential kiss-up, kick-down sort of guy.” Precisely the character traits which the Bushies consider make him perfect for the job of ambassador to the UN.

You’d think the WaPo would have put this paragraph higher up:
Negroponte was unable to answer some of the panel’s questions. He did not know what his authority is under the USA Patriot Act, was not conversant in the difference between clandestine and covert military operations, and believed that the government is classifying fewer documents than it had previously. That interpretation is at odds with the findings of numerous government commissions.
Actually, the first of those is a little unfair: he said he didn’t know what his authority was in relation to wiretaps under the Patriot Act. (Transcript). What he was, though, was legalistic: he said that as ambassador to Honduras, “my comportment was always in an absolutely legal and entirely professional manner.” On torture he said he would try “to make sure that all practices of the intelligence community are in full compliance with the law” and on rendition that “the law will be obeyed”. “Not quite breaking the law” is a pretty low standard to set. If the best thing you can say about a doctor is that her practice of medicine always stayed within the boundaries of the law — or a plumber, or a checkout clerk, if it comes to that — it wouldn’t be a ringing endorsement.

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