Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Wolfowitz: War, What War?

It was no accountability moment for Paul Wolfowitz when he appeared on Charlie Rose's show in an interview broadcast Wednesday night. Asked to explain his departure from the World Bank, he said he had done nothing wrong when he awarded his girlfriend a generous compensation package. He repeatedly noted that he had "ruffled" feathers at the Bank with his anti-corruption crusade and that led to a difficult environment for him at the Bank. Wolfowitz, of course, did not refer to the harsh report of a Bank panel that concluded he had violated Bank rules. (See here.)

But his biggest whopper came when Rose asked Wolfowitz about Iraq. At the start of the show, Rose said the interview would "primarily" concern the World Bank, not Iraq. But he managed to bring up the subject. Here's the exchange:

Charlie Rose: And in your judgment, [your anti-corruption effort is] what it was about, right there?

Paul Wolfowitz: Maybe it was -- look. Maybe I could have done it differentially. Maybe I could have consulted more. Maybe if it weren't me and somebody else doing it, look. I've said from the beginning --

Charlie Rose: Somebody who was not an architect of the war and all that.

Paul Wolfowitz: I'm not an architect of anything. But somebody who is not so closely associated with a controversial Iraq policy, yeah.

Not an architect of the Iraq war? The Bush administration, as has been evidenced repeatedly, hardly runs like a well-oiled machine. But one would expect the deputy defense secretary--the No. 2 at the Pentagon--to be one of the architects of any war this administration wages. Wolfowitz's refusal to accept this description--in favor of a the more benign depiction: "associated with a controversial Iraq policy"--is telling. Wasn't he, at least, a deputy architect of the war? Or would he prefer to be called a cheerleader--or deputy cheerleader--for the war? In the months prior to the war, he was one of the administrations aides who vociferously contended Saddam Hussein was up to his neck in WMDs and posed a direct threat to the United States. He claimed that the war would not require much in the way of US treasure or post-invasion troops. If not architect, then how about enabler?

Later in the interview, Rose returned to Iraq, asking, "Has the Iraqi war, your tenure at the World Bank, changed the way you see the world in any significant way? In terms of what the world -- what works, doesn't work, what assumptions are wrong, what new truths are apparent?" Wolfowitz replied: "You keep wanting to go backwards."

It might be nice if the United States could go backwards in Iraq. But it cannot. Nor can Wolfowitz traipse forward without bearing his share of the responsibility for the mess in Iraq. Until Wolfowitz can acknowledge his own actions ("Hi, I'm Paul, and I'm an architect of the Iraq war"), he has little moral standing to complain about corruption and the lack of good governance in other countries.

Posted by David Corn at June 1, 2007 12:01 AM


capt said...

Mr. David Corn,

I think it has become very clear none - not one of these neocons can even visit the truth. They blame anybody and everybody except themselves or their own actions. They are singularly and collectively delusional.

Toensing, May, York and others STILL SWEAR Ms. Plame was not covert, Wolfowitless blames the bank and his popularity for his gross misconduct. Bush and Cheney still swear they were right to invade Iraq and Al Qaeda and Saddam were in the same club.

Heck, even I am beginning to believe them.



David Corn said...

If not by looking back, perhaps Paul Wolfowitz could look forward a few years and tell us what he's learned.

Gerald said...

Dishonesty and Memorial Day

War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to profit from it. George Orwell

I recalled shortly after the shock and awe upon Iraq there were guests on Fox News debating whether or not war was good for the economy. George Orwell has it right.

Can you believe that the slaughter and carnage of human beings are sacrificed to help the American econmy? Remember, when the Nazi Party wanted a constitutional amendment to have Christianity as Nazi America's religion? And, people wonder why I frequently puke at the words, "Nazi America right or wrong!"

Gerald said...

If you have difficulty receiving Garrison Keillor's article, it can be read by going to It is one of the five highlighted articles at the top of the website.

He is one of my wife's favorite personalities. She enjoys listening to his Saturday shows on NPR. At least I believe that it is NPR.

Gerald said...

Memorial Day

It's the last patriotic holiday that still means something, and it persists year after year despite the wooden rituals and leaden speeches. In Central Park on Monday, an admiral with a chestful of ribbons gripped the lectern and read his lines, and the line of his that got quoted was, "Their sacrifice has enabled us to enjoy the things that we, I think in many cases, take for granted," which does not ring, does it? No.

"Their sacrifice has enabled us to enjoy the things that many of us take for granted" would have been better, but still it's nothing people will take home with them and ponder. How about, "Their noble sacrifice has enabled us to see the ignobility of the leadership that sent them to their deaths"? How about "We have sacrificed enough of our young men and women and it is time to bring them home to enjoy the things that the rest of us take for granted"?

Gerald said...

Have you in your lifetime seen and heard a more corrupt and lying regime than the Bush regime? These goons and thugs are overtly corrupt and lying low life amoebas.

Gerald said...

Hitler Lieberman in Iraq

Gerald said...

Hitler Bush Believes Troops Should remain in Iraq for 50 Years

Gerald said...


Gerald said...

Soon, Hitler Bush will nuke Iran and Nazi Americans will see the vaporized flesh of babies against the walls and streets in Iran because war is good for the Nazi American economy.

Gerald said...

How can any Nazi American not love this rotten to the core, empire?

Gerald said...

Praying Each Day

A real education is to make more people more human!

Are our schools really making our students more human? Do teachers teach to the state tests and not challenge students to be creative and inquisitive thinkers? Will American children of the future be robots in the educational process? Will our children be educated in Hitler Bush's psycho babble?

Gerald said...

Please read today's Praying Each Day! Do you have the feeling that Nazi America is looking more like Nazi Germany?

capt said...

Welcome to Grandpa's World, Baby Cheney

If it is right for Mary Cheney and her partners of 15 years to be entrusted with raising of a child, then how is it logical, as this White House has insisted, to deny the legal status of marriage to same-sex couples seeking to have their commitment legally acknowledged?

Thank the Almighty, whatever that might mean, for planting the seed of life in the lesbian body of Mary Cheney and for granting her parents the opportunity to show support for a homosexual couple raising a child in an atmosphere of love. The message, carried prominently in news reports throughout the world, is that America has come of age in recognizing, as do most truly modern countries, that homosexuality is indeed normal.

Perhaps they knew not what they did, but the picture the White House released of Vice President Dick Cheney, coming as close as he does to a smile, and his beaming wife, Lynne, cradling their newborn grandson, Samuel David Cheney, was a milestone in the nation's struggle for human rights for all. Never again will it be possible for conservative Republicans to shun homosexuals in any facet of American life without appearing outrageously hypocritical.


*****end of clip*****

I was wondering who was the father of the baby then I heard Darth Cheney was quoted as saying: "If I find out who has been ^%$#$%^(ing) my daughter I will shoot him in the face with a shotgun" and it all became clear.


capt said...

"If not by looking back, perhaps Paul Wolfowitz could look forward a few years and tell us what he's learned."


He will learn it costs big bucks to find a girlfriend that likes the smell of spit in a guys hair, eh?


capt said...

It’s Official: Plame was Covert - So Federal Law Was Broken, But ‘Rule of Law’ Only Applies to Dems

From the beginning of the scandal around the outing of the CIA secret agent Valerie Plame by top White House officials, Bush’s spinners and GOP operatives have worked as hard as they could to create confusion about Wilson’s status as a covert agent. The desperation with which they have tried to muddy the waters about Wilson’s undercover status is a clue to how dangerous they consider this piece of information to be.

Now we see for certain what many of us have long suspected: For Republicans, the rule of law only applies to Democrats.For starters, if the public believed Wilson was covert, the fact that her cover was blown by top White House officials, including Karl Rove and Scooter Libby — who was working under instructions from his boss, Vice Pres. Cheney — would be construed as unseemly, at the very least.

Of course, White House officials are restricted from revealing government secrets by their security clearances. But what had many top West Wingers concerned was the fact that there’s also a specific law, the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (IIPA), that forbids government officials from revealing the identity of covert personnel. In fact, former White House spokesperson Ari Fletcher was so concerned that he may have run afoul of the IIPA that he sought, and was granted, immunity from prosecution before he testified.

When Valerie Wilson testified before a House committee in March, she said, under oath, that she was covert. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-West Hollywood) also read a statement from Gen. Michael Hayden, the director of the CIA, that stated that Wilson was covert at the time she was outed. And yet, the White House and GOP operatives have continued to lie about Wilson’s status.


capt said...

The right (wing) man for the World Bank job

WASHINGTON - With US President George W Bush nominating Robert Zoellick to succeed World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz, who steps down on June 30, speculation has been cut short about a process that saw dozens of names floated to be the next leader of the international public lender, now reeling from an ethics scandal.

"Bob Zoellick is the right man to succeed Paul in this vital work," Bush said on Wednesday.

After the announcement, Zoellick, a Wall Street executive, former administration official and a free-market fundamentalist, pledged to work to restore confidence in the bank.

Revelations that Wolfowitz had given his girlfriend and colleague Shaha Riza an unauthorized pay raise had led to calls from bank staff, international economists and many countries for Wolfowitz' ouster.

"We need to put [the] discord behind us and focus on the future together. I believe that the World Bank's best days are still to come," Zoellick said.

The bank's 24-member board of directors, which should receive a formal notice of the nomination before mid-June, says it will make its final decision by the end of the month.

Zoellick is likely to be confirmed under a tacit agreement between the two powers that control the bank's board, the United States and Europe, that the bank's president should always be a US national while its sister institution, the International Monetary Fund, is headed by a European.

The nomination also appears to short-circuit burgeoning calls for reform of this selection process at the bank, one of the cornerstones of the global financial architecture as designed by the victors of World War II.

On Wednesday, the Center for Global Development, a Washington-based think-tank, released a survey showing that nearly 85% of 700 respondents disagreed or strongly disagreed with continuing the status quo, in which the US nominates a single candidate after informal consultations with bank members.

A similar number favored a merit-based selection process, without regard to nationality.

The survey was conducted among members of the international development community, including government agencies, universities and think-tanks, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and staff at the World Bank and other multilateral institutions.

NGOs that have been at the forefront in calling for reform of the selection process say Zoellick's nomination is a blow to their campaign to bring greater democracy to the bank. They say the nomination reeks of double standards, especially because both the US and the World Bank preach accountability and transparency to developing countries, the main clients of the bank.

"Replacing one Bush appointee with another will not resolve the fundamental governance problems of the World Bank," said Peter Bosshard, policy director of the International Rivers Network, a watchdog group that monitors bank projects and policies from San Francisco.

"Member governments should reject a back-door deal that leaves the bank's governance structure intact, and should press for an open, merit-based selection process," he said.

Zoellick's name also raised eyebrows among development groups for his close ties to the US establishment and corporate interests.
Until last July, Zoellick, now 53, was the US deputy secretary of state. He is best known, however, for his role as a former US Trade Representative (USTR), a job in which he campaigned, with mixed results, to force developing countries to open their markets to US businesses and goods.

He is credited with helping bring mainland China and Taiwan into the World Trade Organization, which, like the World Bank and the IMF, often promotes neo-liberal policies criticized as harmful to developing countries. Zoellick also launched the unpopular multilateral Doha Round of trade talks at the WTO, aimed at creating a laissez-faire trade environment, and increased the number of US free trade agreements.

Zoellick also lacks significant experience in economic development in poor countries. During his tenure as the USTR, he was often criticized for arm-twisting poor nations' governments to adhere to US-imposed intellectual-property laws that make medicines unaffordable to the developing world.

"He has been a close friend to the brand-name pharmaceutical industry, and the bilateral trade agreements he has negotiated effectively block access to generic medication for millions of people," said Paul Zeitz, executive director of the Global AIDS Alliance. "This is terrible for AIDS patients, most of whom cannot afford brand-name prices."

Zoellick's nomination has been particularly troubling for civil-society groups, which fear that Zoellick, currently a top executive with the Wall Street investment firm Goldman Sachs, may alter the World Bank's practice of allowing countries to use its aid to purchase generic medications.

The bank has previously defended the right of such countries as Thailand to issue compulsory licenses to secure access to affordable medications. "We fear this could change under Zoellick," Zeitz said. "Zoellick, as a free-market fundamentalist, seems unlikely to back the kind of flexible macroeconomic policy countries need to increase their health-sector budgets in the face of the AIDS crisis."

Apart from his White House backing, Zoellick got immediate support from US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and some senior US lawmakers.

Senator Chuck Grassley, Republican ranking member of the Senate Committee on Finance, said Zoellick is "extremely capable" of leading the bank.

"Through his leadership for international trade, I know he has a real understanding of what it takes to advance economic development in poor countries," he said in a statement.


capt said...

New Thread!