This past Tuesday, former UN Ambassador John Bolton visited Union to engage the community in a talk on the Middle East.

Bolton has been involved in several Republican administrations, including that of George W. Bush, and has served as foreign policy advisor to 2012 Republican Candidate Mitt Romney.

While the College is advertising Bolton as a respectable politician and lawyer, it should be known that his authority on the Middle East is questionable due to his habitual lies and falsified evidence.

His book, “Surrender is Not an Option: Defending America at the United Nations and Abroad,” provides clear evidence that Bolton is not to be trusted.

He recounts an instance in which he played a key role in the dismissal of Jose Bustani, head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). Bustani had been pursuing a settlement with the Iraqi government over their alleged use of weapons of mass destruction. Meanwhile, Bolton had been conspiring with other administration officials to undermine Bustani, prevent the settlement and then prepare to engage in a war of aggression instead.

Bolton’s office produced a ‘White Paper,’ documenting what he described as the OPCW’s inappropriate role in Iraq, and then used the document to seek and call for Bustani’s resignation from the position of Director General.

This is not the first time that Bolton’s knack for providing false information has been exposed.

In December 2002, Bolton claimed that Saddam Hussein had been seeking to obtain uranium from Niger, an aspect of Bolton’s plan to initiate a war of aggression. He submitted this claim through an official State Department fact sheet, one he had altered significantly.

Upon investigation, it was deduced that although unsubstantiated, the chronology of several rapidly sent emails indicated that Bolton’s office was responsible for creating and updating developments of the claim.

After weeks of the investigation, the State Department reversed its claim that Bolton had truthfully testified, and had changed its stance to insisting that Bolton had simply forgotten about the investigation.

Does defending our nation in the UN and abroad include providing false information in order to assert our power?

Recently, Bolton wrote an editorial piece for the New York Times, in which he included several crucial mistakes, and incorrect facts which undermined his argument.

He made claims such as that the Obama administration has abandoned the red line on weapons grade fuel, that the US was guilty of inattention in regards to Pakistan’s nuclear weapons development and that Bolton himself did not disclose how much he profits from making speeches on behalf of People’s Mojahedin of Iran (MEK), a US-labeled terrorist group seeking the overthrow of the Iranian government—each of these facts was proven false in a comment made by a Times editor and by John Schwarz on

Why is this politician allowed to share his ‘knowledge’ of the Middle East on our campus?

The many false claims and hidden evidence should be enough for the student body and community to refuse to trust what he says in his speech.

I urge the student body to listen to what he says, but with a grain of salt. A very skeptical grain of salt, that is. His speech may plant the seeds of misconception, simply based on his advertised authority on the subject.

With this in mind, it is crucial that we analyze Union’s past choices in regards to speakers, and the concept of free speech at the institution.

What is truly upsetting is that Bolton, a distinguished pro-war politician, who is advocating for the US to bomb Iran ‘before they bomb us,’ is invited to address the Union community, whereas exhibits depicting pro-Cuba, or anti-Israel sentiments are banned.

In previous years, Union also invited alleged mass murderer and ex-Israeli leader, Ehmud Olmert, to speak to the campus. Olmert has demonstrated himself to be corrupt and violent against Israel, however opinions stating this went unheard. There is a serious lack of free speech on this campus.

By inviting such people to speak at our campus, we are condoning his behavior, and turning a blind eye to Union’s.


  1. “By inviting such people to speak at our campus, we are condoning his behavior, and turning a blind eye to Union’s.”
    No. By inviting such people to speak, despite whatever you disagree with them, is indeed allowing for free speech.

    How are the opposite opinions *banned* on campus? The fact that your article is published simply proves otherwise. If your opinions always go unheard and noticed, maybe don’t blame the institution and make accusations, but come up with better arguments that stand on themselves.

  2. Free speech means Bolton is entitled to share his opinion. This piece is moronic. Furthermore, As a conservative who values Bolton’s opinion, you cannot generalize the political views of this institutional as a whole. The validity of this article/argument is weak.

  3. I agree with the comments above. The fact that John Bolton was invited to campus is allowing for free speech and also allowing Union students to form their own opinions. Also, there was in fact an anti-Israel speaker, Josh Ruebner, invited to campus to speak fall term who infuriated and offended a lot of people, so you are also wrong on that.

  4. Union has respected freedom of speech in every way imaginable. A lack of speakers of the issues you’ve addressed does not reflect Union’s biased decisions, but rather who the student body (or rather, student led groups) want to bring to campus. The fact that Bolton came to campus is in and of itself an example of freedom of speech. We’ve had a mass array of speakers come, with opinions ranging from extremely liberal to extremely conservative. While I disagree wholeheartedly with Balton’s view, I am happy he decided to come speak at Union. You cannot be properly informed on current events without hearing multiple opinions. I agree that students need to take Balton’s with a grain of salt, but who is the author to reprimand Union for bringing diverse opinions to campus. Before you write an opinion piece, please get better informed.

  5. Ugh, this pains me to read. All the criticisms of Bolten – fine. They guy’s geopolitics are a mess. But free speech is a limited privilege? Inviting someone to campus = condoning their behavior? No.

    The world does not owe you cloistered silence and shelter from things and people you disagree with. You have to do the hard work and defeat bad ideas in a fair fight, with reason and passion. Not whine about the ground rules.

  6. This article is actually ridiculous. In no way does inviting someone to speak condone their behavior. Conversing with people you disagree with is the corner stone of democracy.

  7. Despite my criticisms of Bolton’s views, I do agree with others saying that it was good that he came. Although there were some people at the talk that believed everything Bolton said, the smart people will take what he said with a grain of salt and do some research to formulate their own opinions. Of course, this applies to all speakers, no matter their political affiliation, or views.
    Now for some CONSTRUCTIVE criticism… I don’t think that the title works with the majority of the article. You should have spent more time talking about how “exhibits depicting pro-Cuba, or anti-Israel sentiments are banned” and less time on Bolton. That is where the title “Free Speech at Union is a Limited Privilege” best applies in my opinion.

  8. Can nobody recall that there was an extremely anti-Israel speaker last year. . . and he was even Jewish himself! How can you say such speakers are banned when we had one here less than a year ago!

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