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Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Ambassassin: Sawed-Off Semi Diplomatic

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Conversation Ungalante

OBSERVE: “Our flankering friend the buffoon!
Or possibly (detestable, I confess)
It may be a President’s United Nations goon
Or an old unskilled wordsman rebuffed
To incite more disdain for a declensional mess.”
He then: “How little you impress!”

And I then: “Someone scratches upon the chalkboard
That maladroit propaganda, with which we disdain
The right and contrite; lies which we reward
To masquerade our lethean exiguousness.”
He then: “Does this refer to me?”
“Oh no, it is we – our obloquy.”

“You, Kick-down, are the blundering dragoon,
The execrable assassin of diplomatic repartee,
Belittling the thorough with officious impugn!
With your solecistic spew and prolix nefarious
An embarrassment ambassador of Antipathy —”
And—“Is America serious?”


A former assistant secretary of state heatedly charged Tuesday that John R. Bolton had so bullied an intelligence analyst over Cuba's suspected weapons programs that it shook the intelligence bureau and prompted the secretary of state to intervene.

In caustic and unusually personal testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Carl W. Ford Jr., who was assistant secretary for intelligence and research, said Mr. Bolton was a "kiss-up, kick-down sort of guy" who "abuses his authority with little people," and an ill-suited nominee to become ambassador to the United Nations.

Mr. Bolton, he said, had been dissatisfied with what he considered the analyst's overly cautious assessment of Cuba's weapons program.

Mr. Ford's gruff, direct and sometimes off-color manner took some senators aback, as when he described Mr. Bolton's dressing-down of Mr. Westermann by saying that "he reamed him a new one."

It was hardly the kind of language usually heard from diplomats appearing before the Foreign Relations Committee, and it raised eyebrows, but also chuckles, among the senators, their aides and the rows of spectators.

"There are a lot of screamers that work in government," Mr. Ford said. "But you don't pull somebody so low down the bureaucracy that they are completely defenseless. It's an 800-pound gorilla devouring a banana."

Despite the drama, however, Mr. Bolton remained likely to be confirmed for the United Nations post, a nomination that startled both Congress and Embassy Row when the president announced it last month. Senator Lincoln Chafee, a Rhode Island Republican who Democrats were hoping would oppose the nomination, said he remained inclined to support the nominee, viewing the episode about which Mr. Ford testified as an isolated incident.

Steven R. Weissman, Ex-Official Says Nominee Bullied Analyst on Arms, The New York Times, April 13, 2005

OBSERVE: “Our sentimental friend the moon!
Or possibly (fantastic, I confess)
It may be Prester John’s balloon
Or an old battered lantern hung aloft
To light poor travellers to their distress.”
She then: “How you digress!”

And I then: “Someone frames upon the keys
That exquisite nocturne, with which we explain
The night and moonshine; music which we seize
To body forth our own vacuity.”
She then: “Does this refer to me?”
“Oh no, it is I who am inane.”

“You, madam, are the eternal humorist,
The eternal enemy of the absolute,
Giving our vagrant moods the slightest twist!
With your air indifferent and imperious
At a stroke our mad poetics to confute—”
And—“Are we then so serious?”

T.S. Eliot, Conversation Galante, Prufrock and Other Observations, 1917


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