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That Time John Bolton Said It’s Good To Lie About War

Public Policy

Journalist Whitney Webb recently tweeted a 2010 video clip I’d never seen before featuring US National Security Advisor John Bolton defending the use of deception in advancing military agendas, which highlights something we should all be paying attention to as Trump administration foreign policy becomes increasingly Boltonized.

On a December 2010 episode of Fox News’ Freedom Watch, Bolton and the show’s host Andrew Napolitano were debating about recent WikiLeaks publications, and naturally the subject of government secrecy came up.

“Now I want to make the case for secrecy in government when it comes to the conduct of national security affairs, and possibly for deception where that’s appropriate,” Bolton said. “You know Winston Churchill said during World War Two that in wartime truth is so important it should be surrounded by a bodyguard of lies.”

“Do you really believe that?” asked an incredulous Napolitano.

“Absolutely,” Bolton replied.

“You would lie in order to preserve the truth?”

“If I had to say something I knew was false to protect American national security, I would do it,” Bolton answered.

“I don’t think we’re often faced with that difficulty, but would I lie about where the D-Day invasion was going to take place to deceive the Germans, you’d better believe it,” Bolton continued.

“Why do people in the government think that the laws of society or the rules don’t apply to them?” Napolitano asked.

“Because they are not dealing in the civil society we live in under the Constitution,” Bolton replied. “They are dealing in the anarchic environment internationally where different rules apply.”

“But you took an oath to uphold the Constitution, and the Constitution mandates certain openness and certain fairness,” Napolitano protested. “You’re willing to do away with that in order to attain a temporary military goal?”

“I think as Justice Jackson said in a famous decision, the Constitution is not a suicide pact,” Bolton said. “And I think defending the United States from foreign threats does require actions that in a normal business environment in the United States we would find unprofessional. I don’t make any apology for it.”

So that’s a thing. And it’s important for us to know it’s a thing because of the way things are heating up in Iran right now, since Bolton’s fingerprints are all over it.

Bolton has long been calling for war with Iran and in a paid speech in July 2017 told his pro-regime change MEK terror cult audience that they would be celebrating the successful overthrow of the Iranian government together before 2019. Now we’re seeing threat alarms being elevated and fearmongering about Iranian missiles being circulated, with reports being leaked to the press of possible plans to send 120,000 US troops to the region.

This is an environment that is ripe for deceptions of all sorts, and, given what Bolton said on live television nearly a decade ago, we would all do very well to remain very, very skeptical of any and all news we hear about Iran going forward. If for example you hear that within this environment of escalated tensions and military posturing Iran or one of its “proxies” has attacked the United States in some way, your immediate response should be one of intense skepticism about what the mass media talking heads are telling you to believe.

Back in 2012 at a forum for the Washington Institute Of Near East Policy think tank, the group’s Director of Research Patrick Clawson openly talked about the possibility of using a false flag to provoke a war with Iran.

“I frankly think that crisis initiation is really tough, and it’s very hard for me to see how the United States president can get us to war with Iran,” Clawson began.

(Can I just pause here to note what a bizarre series of words that is? “Get us to war with Iran?” Get us to the thing that every sane human being wants to avoid with every fiber of their being? You want to “get us to” there? This is not the kind of thing normal humans say. You only hear this kind of insanity in the DC swamp where creatures like John Bolton have their roots.)

“Which leads me to conclude that if in fact compromise is not coming, that the traditional way that America gets to war is what would be best for US interests,” Clawson added. “Some people might think that Mr. Roosevelt wanted to get us into the war… you may recall we had to wait for Pearl Harbor. Some people might think that Mr. Wilson wanted to get us into World War One; you may recall we had to wait for the Lusitania episode. Some people might think that Mr. Johnson wanted to get us into Vietnam; you may recall we had to wait for the Gulf of Tonkin episode. We didn’t go to war with Spain until the USS Maine exploded. And may I point out that Mr. Lincoln did not feel that he could call out the Army until Fort Sumter was attacked, which is why he ordered the commander at Fort Sumter to do exactly that thing which the South Carolinians said would cause an attack.”

“So if, in fact, the Iranians aren’t going to compromise, it would be best if somebody else started the war,” Clawson continued. “One can combine other means of pressure with sanctions. I mentioned that explosion on August 17th. We could step up the pressure. I mean look people, Iranian submarines periodically go down. Some day, one of them might not come up. Who would know why? We can do a variety of things, if we wish to increase the pressure (I’m not advocating that) but I’m just suggesting that this is not an either/or proposition – just sanctions have to succeed or other things. We are in the game of using covert means against the Iranians. We could get nastier at that.”

So these are ideas that have been in circulation for many years. That gun is loaded and ready to fire.

Bolton trussed up his 2010 confession using an example that most people would agree with: that it was reasonable for the Allied forces to deliberately deceive the Nazis about the nature of the D-Day invasion. But we know John Bolton better than that by now. This PNAC director and architect of the Iraq war once threatened to murder a foreign official’s children because his successful diplomatic efforts were putting a damper on the manufacturing of consent for the Iraq invasion. He wasn’t defending the use of deception in crucial military options used to halt tyrants trying to take over the world, he was defending the use of deception in the senseless wars of aggression that he has built his political career on advancing.

Take everything you hear about Iran with a planet-sized grain of salt, dear reader, and everything you hear about Venezuela too while we’re on the subject. There are skillful manipulators who are hell bent on toppling the governments of those nations, and they have absolutely no problem whatsoever with deceiving you in order to facilitate that. And they don’t believe the rules apply to them.

Caitlin Johnstone

65 Comments on "That Time John Bolton Said It’s Good To Lie About War"

  1. Robert Inget on Fri, 17th May 2019 1:29 pm 

    Trump almost always stiffs his lawyers.
    One wonders, who is paying the 17 now working 24/7 to evade Congress.

    I’ll bet most of his old CEO, golfing buddies are busy distancing themselves. They know he’s a
    cheat. I wish everyone of Trump’s lawyers would read;

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  2. Cloggie on Fri, 17th May 2019 1:50 pm 

    “What about this?”

    That’s two years ago, not a single invader was accepted since. Paper tiger.

    Only wait until after next week, after the EU-elections. We’ll have a different political picture by then.

    “I live in hope of that day. Maybe a more nationalist Europe can help liberate the British people from their ZOG tormentors. ”

    I’m afraid you will have to wait for real change in the US first. As you know better than me, white nationalism is a weak force in the UK. The National Front and BNP were marginal, as compared to the Front National in France. Currently Ukip, only with a toe in white nationalism, is at 5%.

    The US is on the verge of major troubles, because demographics there are far worse than in Europe, even compared to western European countries F, S, NL, UK, D (in that order).

    Only when the UK no longer has a globalist “hinterland” US, because the latter balkanized, will Britain be forced to drop its anti-continental European grand strategy, because the Anglo-option, as pursued by ERG-Farage, no longer exists. Patience.

  3. Hello on Fri, 17th May 2019 2:44 pm 

    >>>> Italians and Spaniards are completely harmless

    Clog, what the hell are you taking about?
    We didn’t talk about harmless or not. We talked about industry and farm needing workers. First they got them from italy then spain then turkland. No jews at work here, only good old fashioned greed.

    And BTW, nowadays in Switzerland you have a pizzeria on every corner and italians are a normal sight. But hell you go back and read them newspaper articles in the 60s people complaining about those dark haired low lives from down south.

  4. Hello on Fri, 17th May 2019 2:50 pm 

    >>>>> They went home to the last man. And now they wouldn’t dream of travelling to northern Europe.

    Yes, the first generation. They always long to go home (and some do). They are not the problem. The problem are the next generations.

    Skin color and religion cannot be assimilated.

  5. The Truth Shall Set You Free on Fri, 17th May 2019 3:40 pm 

    Antius- Enough with the broad sweeping generalizations.

    “What appals me most is the moral absolutism that people with left-wing beliefs tend to display, an unyielding arrogance that shuts down all possibility of democratic coexistence. The fact that they cannot tolerate people that disagree with them; to the point where they cannot debate, share a platform, or even allow their opponents to exist as free men. It never occurs to these people that their opponents may understand the situation in a way that they do not; they are incapable of adjusting their thinking and they display a moral disgust towards anyone that does not accept their unchangeable point of view. It is a character flaw that makes any democratic coexistence impossible; it tends naturally to totalitarianism and brutal oppression.”


    So, what impresses me the most is the moral relativism that people with right-wing beliefs tend to display, an accepting humility that fosters a democratic co-existance with the opposition. The fact that they are so tolerating of people who disagree with them; to the point where they can debate, share a platform, and allow their opponents to exist as free men. It’s self-evident to these people that their opponents may understand the situation in a way that they do not.

    Blah, blah, blah.

    Shame on you.

  6. Cloggie on Fri, 17th May 2019 3:57 pm 

    “And BTW, nowadays in Switzerland you have a pizzeria on every corner and italians are a normal sight.”

    Well, I’m not deep into multiculturalism, but for Italians I gladly make an exception. I already look forward to have my weekly stroll tomorrow to the city center and have a nice thin crispy pizza. From an Italian.

    In Holland we have 25,000 Italians. I wouldn’t mind 50,000. Italians ARE a real enrichment (minus the Cosa Nostra).

  7. JuanP on Fri, 17th May 2019 5:23 pm 

    JuanPee posted this Antius

    The Truth Shall Set You Free on Fri, 17th May 2019 3:40 pm

  8. Cloggie on Sat, 18th May 2019 3:49 am 

    It’s not the “EUSSR”, that’s the political correct pretext, it’s antipathy against all things European and especially Germany:

    “Brits want to leave Eurovision… by 52% to 48%”


    The island status maybe part of that explanation. The only alternative explanation I can think of is that Britain is the last remnant of Celtic civilization, that was displaced by Germanics. Despite the fact that the British (English) have a lot Germanic blood, the “groundtext” is still Celtic.

    My two cents.

    The majority of eastern, central and southern England is made up of a single, relatively homogeneous, genetic group with a significant DNA contribution from Anglo-Saxon migrations (10-40% of total ancestry).

    10-40% maybe “significant”, but not defining.

    Terry Wogan, mr anti-Eurovision:

    They simply do not want to be part of the European club. Then let them go! Not that they necessarily have more affinity with Americans, but at least they are native English speakers. And conveniently far away.

    The best rational solution is a split, without a damaging no-deal, damaging most of all for the British underclasses, those who want Brexit most, against their own economic interest.

    Meanwhile British politics more messy than ever, with a Lab-Con deal out of the question. PM Mrs May knows that and broke out in tears during a government meeting, which is fatal for her authority, already in short supply.

    BoJo, whose own daughter called him a “bastard” recently, in the wake of the divorce mess, probably because he is, sensed his time has come and announced he is ready to lead the Tories… and the country into a no-deal Brexit. He has a lot of grass roots support, but not in Westminster, who dread a no-deal Brexit, for very good reason. And fierce resistance against a BoJo pm is organizing:

    “Ministers threaten to bring down the Government rather than accept Boris as PM as poll shows him streets ahead of leadership rivals to beat Corbyn”

    (Note the video where BoJo has his shirt hanging out of his trousers, perhaps after a hasty goodbye to his new girlfriend (30)).

    Brexit, Trump, ISIS, Syria, European populism, rise of China, Putin… all signs that the old world order is about to disappear and a new world is on the verge to be born:

    The default Next World. Only if Americans rise up, something less sinister can be realized for the Anglos. If not, they will suffer the same fate as the Russians after 1917, this time racial bolshevism. With the same (((perps))) in the lead. Just read the posts by mobster to sense what comes next.

  9. Cloggie on Sat, 18th May 2019 4:27 am 

    The long arm of Moscow latest:

    Austria is governed by a coalition government of conservative Christian-Democrats and Populists, lead by Herr Strache.

    A very revealing video has surfaced, where he is discussing with his political friends how he plans to take over an important Austrian media outlet with Russian money.

    The revelations are more support for the thesis that Russia is trying to push the Anglos out of continental Europe in order to take its place (PBM), via support for Brexit and for European populists.

    European populists have only one real theme and that is disgust for the multicultural society and mass third world immigration, that comes with (involuntary) membership of the US empire (“The West”, there where the sun sets… for the white race, that is).

    It is uncertain if Strache survives this politically, but this is not going to stop the drive of continental European populists towards Eurasia, first of all Russia, but if necessary even to China, that economically can more than make up for the impending loss of Britain. Neither the Russians nor Chinese require us to commit racial suicide, the Anglo-Zionists do. Hence: bye-bye Anglosphere:

    Italy has already fully embarked on the New Silk Road project, despite objections from still more or less America-friendly Brussels:

    Won’t be long until EU-Brussels will opt for its own political survival and accept the new populist reality… and symbolically “move Eastwards”, certainly post no-deal Brexit.

    At least we are going to survive. How about you, white Anglo?

  10. Cloggie on Sat, 18th May 2019 5:19 am 

    Moscow response to Austrian drama:

    “Austrian VC caught discussing alleged shady deals, and pundits cry ‘Russia took over the country'”

    New elections in Austria are likely but will change nothing about the electoral landscape, since populists love Russia and everybody understands the motives of Strache, namely to undermine the leftist empire press.

    Moscow on the Dutch situation:

    “Imperiled Dutch PM’s party: Vote us, or our Kremlin-loving rivals will give country to Putin”

    There is currently a standoff going on between liberal EU-friendly PM Rutte (VVD) and coming man Thierry “the Boreal world is disappearing” Baudet (FvD) about who will be the largest in the EU.

    Baudet is Russia-friendly, even says that in the modern world Russia could be an ally, but unfortunately still favors a “Nexit”, where other, more experienced populists in Europe are beyond that position and opt for a right-wing Europe… because that is within reach.

    For that reason I won’t vote for Baudet, until he has changed his mind. I won’t be voting anyway next week since I will be in Spain, Costa del Sol, in a fine 5* hotel (you can’t take dough with you in the grave) with other aging tourists, mostly British, while studying the latest (German) literature on (electro-chemical) storage technology, so I hopefully can deliver a meaningful contribution to the efforts of my new buddies here…

    …in the hope we can push the Netherlands into become a leading light in all matters of renewable energy storage, the last missing link for the total victory of renewable energy. Netherlands first, than Europe, than the world. The buzzwords for the coming week will be: covalence, redox-reactions, energy density, electrolysis, hydrogen production, atom-bindings, oxidation, catalysts, reaction equilibriums, metal-burning, VSEPR, Lewistheory, Vanderwaalsforces, but also super capacitors, etc., etc., etc.

    Swimming pool, suntan oil, tapas, walking, fitness (inspired by Mick Jagger), reading, excursion, dinner. Yummy!

  11. Davy on Sat, 18th May 2019 5:48 am 

    “European populists have only one real theme and that is disgust for the multicultural society and mass third world immigration, that comes with (involuntary) membership of the US empire (“The West”, there where the sun sets… for the white race, that is).”

    Cloggo, populism will never be more than just another force in Euroland. It will make an impact and this is good for Europe but never the extremist version you are preaching. A significant amount of European women will not follow your right wing extremism. You will never get above the 30-40% in support. You are stuck at a point of making some points but no revolution. Sorry, pal, you can try to wish for revolution all you want. This is similar to your 100% renewable Euroland you preach less and less. That is also stalling. Your life passions are stalling and yet you are more rabid than ever. You see the connection? Nope! You remind me of Baghdad Bob as the Tanks were rolling into downtown.

  12. Cloggie on Sat, 18th May 2019 6:09 am 

    “You remind me of Baghdad Bob as the Tanks were rolling into downtown.”

    Really Last time I checked he was right in the end, the Americans were pushed back into the tiny Green Zone and essentially fled the country. Iraq now is an Iranian client state, not a US one, as even the JYT grudingly has to admit:

    The US “superpower”, defeated yet again by a small country. You’re a walkover.

    PBM can overturn 1776 and litely can recolonize you, if the US white deplorables are going to be that lucky. It’s either that or bolshevation.

  13. Davy on Sat, 18th May 2019 6:42 am 

    cloggo, it is a good thing populism is on the rise. The extremist leftist scum have brought these changes on themselves by their radical motives. Yet, your counter extremism is no better. Populism will have to live with the leftist. Hopefully moderates and centrist will find common ground to defuse the dangers ahead. Extremist like you and MOBster are the problem.

  14. Cloggie on Sat, 18th May 2019 8:57 am 

    As expected, Strache has resigned from his post.

    The video is about Strache talking to a daughter of a Russian oligarch. The deal was about Russian firms getting projects from the Austrian government in return for money for Strache’s FPO party.

    The question of course is: who made the video on Spanish holiday island Ibiza? CIA, MI6, Mossad, Austrian intelligence? Austrian lefties? Antifa?

    Questions, questions, questions.

    Wouldn’t be surprised if the FPO would grow after the elections, with a new leader. Transport Minister Norbert Hofer has been appointed for the caretaker position.

    Here again the pictures of Vladimir the Great, dancing to “The Sound of Music”, attending the wedding of an Austrian female politician (FM):

    Kneisl is an independent, but was nominated by Strache’s party to be FM. She is probably not too red.

    Italy and Austria are, shall we say, countries with traditionally a strong national identity and since Russia is thoroughly post-communism these days, it is seen as a natural ally. The geopolitical love is mutual.

  15. Antius on Sat, 18th May 2019 5:54 pm 

    “Antius- Enough with the broad sweeping generalizations”

    I don’t remember right-wing rentamobs being present that Cortez delivered her speeches. Or when Tony Blair gave his victory speech in 1997.

    Being incapable of tolerating the very existence of a political opponent is a uniquely left-wing position. These people should be in mental hospitals. Instead, they are selected to run our countries!

    In the future, having strong Marxist opinions will be recognized as a mental illness. These people will not be allowed into positions of responsibility.

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