John Bolton to U.N. high commissioner: Shut up

An outburst from the undiplomatic diplomat.

Published December 8, 2005 7:32PM (EST)

George W. Bush has been talking a lot lately about the importance of free societies and open debate. Just the other day, the president said: "It's one of the great strengths of our democracy that we can discuss our differences openly and honestly -- even at times of war. "

Either that kind of freedom has its limits, or somebody forget to get the memo to Bush's new U.N. ambassador. When the U.N. high commissioner for human rights raised questions this week about the treatment of terrorism suspects in U.S. custody, John Bolton responded: "It is inappropriate and illegitimate for an international civil servant to second-guess the conduct that we're engaged in in the war on terror with nothing more as evidence than what she reads in the newspapers."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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