[OPE-L] Wolfowitz's world

From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@TISCALI.NL)
Date: Sun Apr 15 2007 - 06:26:56 EDT

What Mr Bush originally said about Wolfowitz's appointment:

(...) "Paul Wolfowitz is a proven leader and experienced diplomat, who will
guide the World Bank effectively and honorably during a critical time in
history - both for the Bank and the developing nations it supports. He has
devoted his career to advancing the cause of freedom. He is a person of
compassion who believes deeply that lifting people out of poverty is
critical to achieving that goal.  (...)

Well he lifted his girlfriend out of poverty with a nice little nest-egg, by

Sebastian Mallaby, who wrote a book about James Wolfensohn, stated  last
year: "It's amusing to see the Wolfensohn-Stiglitz left-liberal critique of
narrowly economic development policy being championed by this
neoconservative icon [i.e. Wolfowitz]; and it's encouraging as well. After a
decade of stagnant aid budgets in the 1990s, the rich world's development
spending is finally expanding."

That is what they would like you to believe anyway. Larry Elliott reports:

"In advance of this week's half-yearly meetings of the bank and its sister
organisation the International Monetary Fund, the opposition of the leading
European countries - Britain and France leading the way - had ensured that
all the steam had gone out of Wolfowitz's clean-up Africa campaign. And if
there is a Plan B, which many Bank observers doubt, there has been precious
little sign of it so far. Despite Wolfowitz's complaints, the rich countries
are backsliding on the commitments they made to double aid to Africa at the
Gleneagles summit two years ago. His attempts to show that he is not the
poodle of the US Treasury appear to have backfired, since there are reports
that Hank Paulson, the Treasury secretary, is so unhappy about the Bank's
attacks on US aid policy that he would be quite happy to see Wolfowitz
booted out. Whether Bush would be prepared to see this happen remains to be
seen. But even if the White House does try to protect its man, the bank's
other big shareholders have powerful weapons at their disposal. One is to to
turn off the money tap; Wolfowitz is now going cap in hand to the donor
countries he riled with his anti-corruption drive asking them to provide the
dosh for the bank's soft-loan programme for poor countries. At best, he will
be made to sweat for his money. At worst, one of Washington's big beasts
will suffer a long, political death in his own backyard. He may decide to
jump before he is pushed - and it would be better if he did.

Meanwhile Riza is playing victim with her tax-free $193,590 a year handout
from the World Bank:
"Riza has told friends she is being used by employees of the bank to get at
Wolfowitz, a former US deputy defence secretary who was one of the
architects of the Iraq war. In her memo to the bank's committee, Riza
complained about "vicious public attacks" and "personal pain and stress that
my son and I have been subjected to, and the damage that this whole episode
has caused me professionally, personally and psychologically".

Michael O'Hanlon, a foreign policy expert at the Brookings Institution in
Washington, said: "It was amazing that the Bush administration would put a
guy who was a symbol of American arrogance in charge of a multilateral
institution." O'Hanlon recalled that Robert McNamara, the defence secretary
during the Vietnam war, had also become president of the World Bank. "Why
should the reward for losing a war be getting the leadership of the bank?"
he asked. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/article1654839.ece

It's a good question, but really it doesn't matter if the war is won or
lost, because either way hundreds of billions of tax dollars are earnt by
the corporations. It's analogous to any major fluctuation in the
stockmarket - up or down - that traders make money from. As Wanniski put it:

"As far as the military-industrial complex is concerned, Wolfowitz did a
FANTASTIC job. He was only expected to plan for a $30 billion war and he
screwed up so badly that it is now a $200 billion war, and counting. Anyone
who can screw up that badly deserves a promotion, to the World Bank."

The losers are (1) some politicians who experience loss of face (though
enriching themselves from tax money and spin-off contracts), (2) the
American public who front up both the tax money and the soldiers getting
killed or maimed, (3) among others, Iraqis and Afghanis maimed and dying
like flies in a living hell.


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