For almost a decade Paul Wolfowitz was one of the cheerleaders of proposals to invade Iraq and depose Saddam Hussein. Then he came to power and helped plan our disastrous adventure in Iraq. I am not sure if he was one of the “piece of cake” types, or the “Mission Accomplished” dreamers, but Wolfowitz failed miserably to properly perceive American interests in the Middle East. His name will live in infamy forever in American history.
As the Iraq invasion and occupation began to implode, Wolfowitz was moved to the World Bank. At the Bank he took with him political cronies and, apparently, a preexisting personal relationship with a senior bank employee.
Since arriving at the Bank, Wolfowitz has run the institution much like a Chicago ward boss or mayor, employing patronage and intimidation to manage the institution. The result has been another round of professional failure for Mr. W.
Now Wolfowitz risks becoming a continuing embarrassment to President Bush, the Republican Party and, of course, to himself. It is time for Wolfowitz to go.
I do not know if the statements attributed to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson this week were pro forma or whether Paulson really believes the U. S. Government can endlessly insult the sensibilities of the world and get away with it. I do know Mr. Paulson is wrong to support Wolfowitz’ continued tenure. Wolfowitz must go.
Mr. Wolfowitz’ “war on corruption” at the Bank has proven to be a one-way street, Wolfowitz Way. Corruption only exists where he wants to see it. Billions have disappeared in countries where Wolfowitz perceives a vital American interest.
Let me explain my bias: I think the World Bank should be abolished or significantly curtailed. It is an international boondoggle. With all of the excess liquidity in world financial markets, credit-worthy projects should have no problem being financed in China or the Middle East.
“Development” lending in my opinion is largely throwing good money after bad. The Bank has always been a U.S.-led entity, and thus one more example of the Pax Americana that is slowly fading across the horizon.
And Wolfowitz is heading into the sunset as well. The sooner the better. Ironically, Wolfowitz is caught in a similar downward spiral to that of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Both men sought to minimize “personnel matters” at their agencies. Both men were less than candid with their initial disclosures, and both men are now suffering from the blowback.
And both men, it seems to me, are victims of the ethical standards established by the Republican Party during the Clinton years. Then Republicans claimed a low tolerance for self-dealing and dissembling. Those standards should also apply to Republicans caught in flagrante delicto. High standards of public morality benefit Republicans; we should not devalue them by tolerating Wolfowitz’ continuation in office.
I know that reasonable people can differ on the role of the World Bank and development lending. I take a more conservative, cautious, skeptical approach; others are more trusting in foreign aid. We can agree to disagree. But on the question of institutional integrity, we do not need Wolfowitz’ shading of the facts and shading of ethics. Wolfowitz must go. He has done enough damage to the U.S.’s long-term interests for multiple lifetimes, let alone this one. Americans will be paying the bill for Mr. Wolfowitz’ errors in Washington for decades; let’s stop him, now, from running the tab any higher.
Wolfowitz must go.