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Why Are Negroponte and Bolton on PBS?

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Why in Hades are people like John Negroponte and John Bolton allowed to continue to speak on behalf of American foreign policy?

Both men, and more of their ilk, have a history of representing the neoconservative view of the world – largely discredited after the collapse of the USSR and subsequent events – in which the “good people” are continually at risk by “evil men”.

Their viewpoint is full of contradictions based on the biases of their upbringing and their own ignoble service.

Negroponte, currently serving as Assistant U.S. Secretary of State, boasts credentials as an ambassador-at-large who has served in many countries. At the same time, he ignored abuses of Honduran military forces when he served as ambassador to that country from 1981-85. He was also instrumental in making President Bush’s case to invade Iraq.

Bolton, served as Bush recess-appointed Ambassador to the United Nations. While most of his experience was in the justice department he, like Negroponte, has been part of the Baker-Reagan-Bush cabal that is titillated by skullduggerous intelligence and its use for foreign interventionism. He also supports attacking Iran. At least he was born in the U.S.

These ‘public officials’ are the architects of a worldview that uses terms like “Islamofascists”, “WWIV”, “enduring military presence” and “winning” abroad. They caricature the Ugly American who knows, and cares, little about the daily affairs of the people of the world who are affected by American policy.

As an international businessman, I travel widely and experience quite a different perspective of the world. I have lived in Europe and Asia in addition to my deep Texas roots and have met with both the ‘high’ and the ‘low’ of many countries.

Unlike so-called “experts” of foreign policy, I have walked dirt trails through the jungles of Central America to meet farmers. I know the back allies of Asian cities where the workers go for comfort. I’ve hailed taxis in Baghdad by myself and sleep in the homes of Iraqis when I visit that country (even during the occupation). And, as a middle-age “cracker” I no more fit into these situations physically than either Mr. Bolton or Negroponte.

I am also not naïve. I know that real danger exists in this world and have experienced it personally. Traveling through the lines in Bosnia to get to Sarajevo during the war in that country and being injured in Iraq are two things I hope to never experience again.

At the same time, I have met people all around the world who yearn for peace and stability in their lives and learned that the world is not as frightening as poseurs in foreign affairs would have us believe. Most people share the same hopes and dreams for their children that I have for mine. Few are as dangerous as the men (and women) in Washington.

Reporters who have gained experience around the world know that demagogues like Negroponte and Bolton should not be trusted – they shouldn’t be elevated to positions of respect where they can continue to infect the public with their vile ideology.

Instead, these dystopian diplomats need to be ostracized. They certainly shouldn’t be interviewed on PBS news.


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Charlie Jackson is sixth-generation Texan, international technology consultant, and founder of Texans for Peace. He recently returned from his third visit to Iraq.
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