Thursday, May 26, 2005

Voinovich on Bolton

Here's a Republican, I daresay, I might think about voting for.

Below is an extract of written remarks Senator George Voinovich (R-OH) read before the full Senate yesterday. The typewritten word, however, doesn't fairly capture the gut-wrenching emotion in Voinoich's voice when he began to speak about his own children and grandchildren. Readers must listen to Voinovich's remarks. They can be heard about three-quarters into this NPR report.

Voinovich is absolutely right. We are fighting Al Qaida today because the Reagan administration made the wrong choices twenty years ago in support of Islamic extremists. Are we creating a situation now that will lead to more bloodshed in the next generation?

Excerpted from the Congressional Record, Sen. Voinovich: is my concern that John Bolton's nomination sends a negative message to the world community and contradicts the President's efforts. In these dangerous times, we cannot afford to put at risk our nation's ability to successfully wage and win the war on terror with a controversial and ineffective Ambassador to the United Nations.

One of my deepest concerns about this nomination involves the big picture of U.S. public diplomacy and the President's acknowledged need to improve it. It was not too long ago when America's love of freedom was a force of inspiration to the rest of the world, and America was admired for its democracy, generosity, and willingness to help others in need of protection. Today, the United States is criticized for what the world calls arrogance, unilateralism, for failure to listen and seek support of its friends and allies.

I think if we had a secret vote on John Bolton, he would not get 50 votes from the Senate.

And I am not the only one. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee received letters from 102 U.S. diplomats who served under administrations for both sides of the aisle saying Mr. Bolton is the wrong man for the job.

...we are considering a nominee for ambassador to the United Nations who has been accused of being arrogant, of not listening to his friends, of acting unilaterally, and of bullying those who do not have the ability to properly defend themselves. These are the very characteristics we are trying to dispel in the court of world opinion.

I have to say that after pouring over the hundreds of pages of testimony and speaking with many individuals, I believe John Bolton would have been fired if he had worked for a major corporation. That is not the behavior of a true leader who upholds the kind of democracy President Bush is seeking to promote globally. This is not the behavior that should be endorsed as the face of the United States to the world community at the United Nations.

It, rather, is my opinion that John Bolton is the poster child of what the diplomatic corps should not be.

We are going to vote tomorrow, and I am afraid that when we go to the well, too many of my colleagues are not going to understand that this appointment is very, very important to our country. At a strategic time when we need friends all over the world, we need somebody who is going to be able to get the job done. Some of my friends say: Let it go, George. It is going to work out.

I don't want to take the risk. I came back here and ran for a second term because I am worried about my kids and my grandchildren. I just hope my colleagues will take the time before they get to this well and do some serious thinking about whether we should send John Bolton to the United Nations.


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