Pentagon Officials Fear Bolton’s Actions Increase Risk of Clash With Iran

Introduction – Jan 14, 2019

Bolton psycho
Why did Trump appoint John Bolton and Mike Pompeo to such key positions in his administration if he was sincere in his pre-election talk about “bringing home” U.S. troops. Sure he said last December that he will withdraw U.S. troops from Syria but they have yet to leave and he’s already revised the timetable for their withdrawal.
Initially, the White House said U.S. troops would be pulled out “quickly” but they are still there and the president now says the withdrawal will not be “that quick”.
Nor should we forget that in 2013 Trump tweeted that the U.S. should “stay the hell out of Syria”:

Yet under his presidency the U.S. now has several thousand troops on the ground there, and not one but two prime pro-Israeli hawks shaping U.S. foreign policy.
Bolton had already proved himself as a dangerous warmonger while he served in the Bush administration, where he was an early and outspoken advocate for the Iraq invasion. Thereafter he also repeatedly called for or supported military action against Libya, Syria and Iran.
Like Bolton Secretary of State Pompeo has also proved to be hawk in his approach to Iran, and an outspoken supporter of Israel and Saudi Arabia.
All of which prompts us to again ask: if Trump was sincere in wanting to reduce U.S. military involvement overseas why did he appoint Bolton and Pompeo to positions where they could directly influence Washington’s foreign policy? Was Trump oblivious to the likely consequences?
Or was his pre-election talk simply a cynical, vote-catching ploy?
If so it could backfire spectacularly as Pentagon insiders are already warning that Bolton could help precipitate conflict with Iran. Bolton may indeed be working toward this end for that’s exactly what his friends in Israel and the Zionist lobby want.
From the report below it appears that Bolton wanted retaliatory strikes launched on Iran, after three mortar bombs landed in the U.S. diplomatic compound in Baghdad last September. Fortunately, U.S. Defense Secretary Mattis and other Pentagon insiders prevailed in opposing such action.
However, Mattiss has subsequently resigned and it’s uncertain how his successor will respond if Bolton again demands military action against Iran. All it would take would be another false flag — possibly orchestrated by his friends in Israel — for Bolton to go running back to the White House with more demands for strikes on Iran.
Bolton shouldn’t be anywhere near the corridors of power in Washington and his appointment suggests, at the very least, that Trump is either ignorant — like most Americans about the wider world – or complicit with the Zionist lobby.
Recent research from reputable bodies like the Smithsonian Institute suggests that politicians and psychopaths have much in common. A lack of remorse and empathy, a sense of grandiosity, superficial charm, and manipulative behavior and refusal to take responsibility for one’s actions are attributes exhibited by both psychopaths and successful politicians.
Many of history’s worst megalomaniacs and murderers have exhibited such traits and we would suggest that Bolton is no different. Ed.

Pentagon Officials Fear Bolton’s Actions Increase Risk of Clash With Iran

Eric Schmidtt and Mark Landler – New York Times Jan 13, 2019

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, and US National Security Advisor John Bolton, speak to the media after their meeting in Jerusalem, Jan. 6, 2019. Oded Balilty | AP

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, and US National Security Advisor John Bolton, speak to the media after their meeting in Jerusalem, Jan. 6, 2019. Click to enlarge

Senior Pentagon officials are voicing deepening fears that President Trump’s hawkish national security adviser, John R. Bolton, could precipitate a conflict with Iran at a time when Mr. Trump is losing leverage in the Middle East by pulling out American troops.

At Mr. Bolton’s direction, the National Security Council asked the Pentagon last year to provide the White House with military options to strike Iran, Defense Department and senior American officials said on Sunday.

The request, which alarmed then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and other Pentagon officials, came after Iranian-backed militants fired three mortars or rockets into an empty lot on the grounds of the United States Embassy in Baghdad in September.

In response to Mr. Bolton’s request, which The Wall Street Journal first reported, the Pentagon offered some general options, including a cross-border airstrike on an Iranian military facility that would have been mostly symbolic. But Mr. Mattis and other military leaders adamantly opposed retaliating, arguing that the attack was insignificant — a position that ultimately won out, these officials said.

Such a strike could have caused an armed conflict and could have prompted Iraq to order the United States to leave the country, said a senior American official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal policy deliberations.

Since Mr. Bolton took over from H.R. McMaster in April, he has intensified the administration’s policy of isolating and pressuring Iran — reflecting an animus against Iran’s leaders that dates back to his days as an official in the George W. Bush administration. As a private citizen, he later called for military strikes on Iran, as well as regime change.

Mr. Bolton has made headway on some issues, like persuading Mr. Trump to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, but has had less success with others, like maintaining an American military presence in northeastern Syria to counter Iranian influence — something Mr. Bolton vowed to do only weeks before the president announced in December that he was pulling out.

In asking for military options, a senior administration official said, Mr. Bolton was merely doing his job as national security adviser. He pointed out that the Iranian-backed militants also targeted the American Consulate in Basra.

“The N.S.C. coordinates policy and provides the president with options to anticipate and respond to a variety of threats,” said a spokesman for the National Security Council, Garrett Marquis.

Mr. Bolton, 70, is not the only Iran hawk in Mr. Trump’s circle of top advisers. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared in a speech at the American University in Cairo last week that “countries increasingly understand that we must confront the ayatollahs, not coddle them.”

Earlier this month, he warned Iran against launching three spacecraft, describing them as a pretext for testing missile technology that is necessary to carry a warhead to the United States and other nations. His statement appeared aimed at building a legal case for diplomatic, military or covert action against the Iranian missile program.

It was surprising because Iran has used these modest space missions, mostly to deploy satellites, since 2005. The senior American official said that the Pentagon and the intelligence agencies disagreed with Mr. Pompeo’s interpretation of the threat posed by the satellite launches.

Speaking on Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation” during a visit to Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates, Mr. Pompeo discounted the argument that Mr. Trump’s decision to withdraw 2,000 American troops from Syria in the coming months undercuts Washington’s ability to achieve its other goals in the region.

“That certainly includes in Syria,” he said. “It certainly includes into Iran, if need be.”

But Mr. Pompeo also opposed the idea of an airstrike on Iran after its attack on the embassy, according to a former senior administration official. On Sunday, he declined to comment about The Journal’s report. On each stop of his Middle East trip, Mr. Pompeo, a former Army officer, has spoken of the need to counter Iran, but has not talked of military action.

When Mr. McMaster, then a three-star Army general, took over as national security adviser in early 2017, he ordered a new overall war plan for Iran. Mr. Mattis, who is himself an Iran hawk from his days as a Marine Corps commander in the region, delivered options. But those plans were not for the kind of pinpoint strikes that Mr. Bolton envisioned after the attack on the American Embassy on Sept. 6.

On the Sunday following the attack, the senior American official said, Mr. Bolton’s deputy at the time, Mira Ricardel, convened an emergency meeting of national security aides to Mr. Trump, called a deputies committee meeting, and asked for retaliatory options.

On Sept. 11, the White House said in a statement, “The United States will hold the regime in Tehran accountable for any attack that results in injury to our personnel or damage to United States government facilities. America will respond swiftly and decisively in defense of American lives.”

What happened next illustrates Mr. Bolton’s management style. As the president’s national security adviser, he has largely eliminated the internal policy debates that could air high-level disagreements.

Mr. Bolton does not want to hear opposing views, these officials said, abhors leaks and wants to control everything that flows to the president. But the result is that there is not much consideration of options and, more important, the risk of escalation, according to these people.

Continues …