Well, it was bound to happen. President George W. Bush today named John Negroponte the new ambassador to Iraq.
“John Negroponte is a man of enormous experience and skill” and “has done a really good job of speaking for the United States to the world about our intentions to spread freedom and peace,” said Bush.
Negroponte still has to get past the U.S. Senate (see Constitution, U.S., Article 2, Section 2), and hopefully there are some Democrats with a conscience who will block this guy’s nomination. This has been detailed before, but here’s the good stuff as to why he’s the wrong man for Iraq.
Negroponte served as Reagan’s Ambassador to Honduras from 1981 to 1985. He was personally responsible for carrying out the Reagan administration’s illegal policy of training and arming Contra rebels inside Honduras for the purpose of overthrowing Nicaragua’s Sandinista government. He also oversaw the build-up of the Honduran military, while turning a blind eye to their campaigns of death and torture.
This was a period when the Honduran military’s notorious Battalion 316, trained by the CIA, killed or “disappeared” at least 184 political opponents. Hundreds of articles in Honduran newspapers reported on the brutality of the government’s death squads.
International human rights organizations condemned Honduras. Negroponte’s predecessor had warned him about the alarming increase in extrajudicial military executions and torture of political opponents. Yet Negroponte insists, still today, there were no death squads in Honduras and, if there were, he knew nothing about them.
Naming Negroponte doesn’t exactly inspire confidence that human rights will be respected after June 30. Which is exactly the point that Matt Yglesias made when his nomination was first rumored.