one down, one more to go

Posted on May 17, 2007

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In the end, it wasn’t just the nepotism that did him in, but the arrogance, high-handedness and close-mindedness that ended any hope of redemption for Paul Wolfowitz at the World Bank.

Make no mistake, his arranging the pay raise and promotion of his companion was odious enough, but it was the final straw that broke the World Bank’s back, who had to endure his incessant demands and repugnant, adversarial style. Having already earned a dubious reputation with his neo-conservative leanings and eagerness to go to war with Iraq while he was deputy secretary of defense, he made more mistakes at the World Bank. He committed the classic mistakes of bringing in outsiders to ride roughshod over seasoned World Bank officers, adopting aggressive policies that made it hard for officers on the ground and alienating not just bank employees but the very countries he was supposed to have helped or worked with.

It’s also appalling how he let his avarice get the better of his judgment, making it hard for the World Bank’s general counsel to work there anymore after he told Wolfowitz that ethical impropriety forbid Wolfowitz from writing about Iraq and making fees from speeches.

Wolfowitz was obviously not interested in the World Bank job for anything other than personal gain. The New York Times had a revealing portrait, of how it was all about him and getting a shot at redeeming himself after the failure of Iraq, rather than for service to the world’s poor – he had hoped it would be a platform for him to seen as a “great man in foreign policy” and to be known for hitting new highs in funding for poor countries.

If only the Europeans had fought harder and made him leave with immediate effect, rather than on June 30. They should also have stood their ground instead of exonerating him somewhat, with a statement saying the bank was “grateful” for his work there.

But with Wolfowitz out of the way, it’s now on to another Bush lieutenant, Attorney General Roberto Gonzales.

While it’s a positive step forward for the Democrats to call for a vote of no confidence in Gonzales, where is the rage against a lapdog like Gonzales?

It’s a crying shame that the public aren’t more vocal about getting Gonzales fired.

We really should not accept an attorney general whose only interest is in doing the White House’s bidding, especially in the wake of the revelation of the 2004 incident where Gonzales tried to bully then attorney general Richard Ashcroft into approving a warrant-less surveillance program while Ashcroft was in hospital recovering from surgery.

With the Bush administration already so thoroughly discredited, it’s time more Americans demand explanations and consequences for those who stand against the country’s basic tenets.

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Posted in: politics, US