By now you all know that arms control bulldozer John Bolton and torture apologist John Yoo penned a mendacious op-ed attacking the New START treaty in Wednesday’s New York Times. Though Bolton and Yoo have less credibility on national security issues than a three dollar bill, it’s still important to set the record straight.
Enter Slate’s Fred Kaplan. As he did with Mitt Romney’s disingenuous diatribe against New START, Kaplan patiently and cogently takes apart Bolton and Yoo’s claims. Here’s how he begins:
Last July, when Mitt Romney attacked the New START treaty in a Washington Post op-ed, I wrote that in 35 years of following debates on nuclear arms control I’d never seen anything quite as “thoroughly ignorant” about the subject.
On the op-ed page of today’s New York Times, John Bolton and John Yoo take after the treaty with a slightly different set of arguments, and I’ve never seen anything quite as slippery and dishonest.
When Bolton was George W. Bush’s undersecretary of state for arms control, his main job was to serve as Dick Cheney’s spy inside Foggy Bottom and to derail any movement toward arms control. Yoo was Bush’s deputy assistant attorney general whose claim to fame was devising a legal rationale for torture.
I will say this: Their Times piece shows them true to form.
You can read Kaplan’s full response here. Ben Loehrke and Page van der Linden put together nice replies as well.
Though I don’t have much to add to Kaplan’s magnificent rebuttal, I want to quickly highlight the opening paragraph in the Bolton/Yoo op-ed. They write:
The sweeping Democratic midterm losses last week raise serious questions for President Obama and a lame-duck Congress. Voters want government brought closer to the vision the framers outlined in the Constitution, and the first test could be the fate of the flawed New Start arms control treaty, which was signed by President Obama and President Dmitri Medvedev of Russia last spring but awaits ratification. The Senate should heed the will of the voters and either reject the treaty or amend it so that it doesn’t weaken our national defense.
As John has noted, New START (or any foreign policy issue for that matter) did not play a role in the recently concluded election. In any event, the will of the voters appears to point in exactly the opposite direction of what Bolton and Yoo suggest. According to an AP-GfK poll conducted just after last weeks elections:
Two-thirds want the Senate to ratify Obama’s nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia, including most Democrats, about 6 in 10 Republicans and independents — and even about half of conservative tea party supporters.
It’s nice to know that a large majority of Americans are listening to our military, which has been telling them that New START is a good thing for the country. It’s too bad that Bolton and Yoo would prefer to reject that advice.