Bolton Ousts Director to Push War With Iraq

Revelations about John Bolton’s unlawful orchestration of the firing of Jose Bustani, head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, are not entirely new. In fact, the firing of Bustani caught the attention of many individuals who had become wary that the Bush administration was intent on military action against Iraq. In an April 16, 2002, column published by the British newspaper the Guardian, George Monbiot asserted:

On Monday, the U.S. government forced the departure of Jose Bustani, director-general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. These recent attempts to undermine international treaties are being pursued with an eye to the impending war with Iraq. The U.S. justification for war is that Saddam Hussein may possess weapons of mass destruction. So the two foremost obstacles to war were Blix and Bustani, who have proposed nonviolent methods of getting rid of these weapons.

The ousting of Bustani was typical of the smoke and mirror games that the administration played during the run-up to the Iraq war: present a false claim and push ahead before anyone can ask questions. One of the principal justifications for getting rid of Bustani was that the organization had hit financial problems under his reign. However, according to Bustani, “the organization had hit financial problems because its three biggest funders — the US, Germany, and Japan — failed to make their payments on time.” [Press Association, 5/14/02]

As if the treatment of Bustani wasn’t enough, the further emasculation of the entire Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons was equally as shameful. According to the 7/1/02 Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists:

The U.S. ambassador to the OPCW told the staff it would be difficult to find a replacement for Bustani, because no one wants ‘to be associated with a dying organization.’ After remarking that the United States also wanted no more Latin American directors because of their ‘sheer incompetence,’ the ambassador then added, ‘If any of this gets out of this room, I’ll kill the person responsible.‘”