Friday, May 18, 2007

Arrogant, Combative & In Denial To The Bitter End~ Who In BushCo Meets That Description?

Photo: AP

In the "They May All Look Alike, But Some Truly Are Uglier Than Others" Department

Wolfowitz finally resigns from the World Bank, where he made a huge mess of things by banging the help, transferring her to the State Department (on paper) but retained his say-so in the rate of her pay, which went from about $133,000 per year to about $190, 000.

Critics say his arrogance & petty refusal to excuse himself from influencing his lover's pay was just biz as usual for Wolfie at the World Bank, where he managed to be so offensive to everyone--even our European allies--that nothing really quite got accomplished. The scandal alone took up 2 years of his time there.

He & his attorney managed to bully the following official statement from the World Bank in exchange for his resignation:

"In a statement released last night, the [Bank's] board conceded that 'a number of mistakes were made by a number of individuals in handling the matter under consideration,' and the bank would need to improve its ethical procedures.

"The board declared that Wolfowitz 'assured us that he acted ethically and in good faith in what he believed were the best interests of the institution, and we accept that.'

"The statement added: 'We are grateful to Mr. Wolfowitz for his service at the bank. Much has been achieved in the last two years.'

"That language was agreed upon only after fractious debate among board members, with some, particularly European representatives, dismayed that it appeared to hand Wolfowitz a victory. In the end, however, they swallowed the language as the price of getting Wolfowitz to quit." (Title bar.)

Catch the full implications there? Wolfowitz created the scandal by himself strong-arming the Bank's ethics committee members (remember, he's the President at this point), & turns around & wants them to eat the blame for granting his wishes. He has it both ways--his!

Michael Hirsh, in a column for Newsweek, explains why the scandal matters in the power of balance on the world stage: Since WW II the World Bank has been headed by an American, with finance ministers from Europe. After Wolfie's disastrous reign, that may not be the case anymore. Hirsh also elucidates the power struggle between Wolfie's supporters in the White House & the relative newcomer Secretary of the Treasury Paulson, who apparently has the cajones to stand up to them.

"According to a source familiar with the White House strategy but who would comment on internal discussions only on the condition of anonymity, 'There was a disconnect between the Treasury and the White House about how hard to fight for Wolfowitz. Paulson didn’t really go to war for him, and that upset some senior people at the White House'—including strategist Karl Rove, Vice President Dick Cheney and possibly President Bush himself.

"The pro-Wolfowitz faction saw the dispute as a European power play to take control of the Bank. But Paulson, it is thought, divined early on that Wolfowitz was doomed by the scandal, which involved widespread outrage over a quiet pay-and-promotion package he arranged for his companion, Shaha Riza, even as he launched a zealous anticorruption campaign at the Bank.

"The source said that some officials in the White House believe Paulson did 'too little, too late' to call his counterparts in finance ministries in Europe and lobby them to restrain the Bank’s European executive directors, who were pushing for Wolfowitz’s ouster.

"The White House did not immediately respond to a phone call asking for comment. A Treasury Department spokeswoman referred all such questions to the White House, adding : 'Secretary Paulson feels strongly that Paul Wolfowitz is a dedicated and honorable public servant, and he made every effort to get him a fair process and a fair outcome.'

"At the time he was appointed a year ago, Paulson was seen as a great get for the Bush team—especially his former colleague at Goldman, White House chief of staff Josh Bolten. Paulson was, after all, a star of global finance who was succeeding two undistinguished Treasury secretaries, Paul O’Neill and John Snow. But reportedly one of the conditions that Paulson laid down for accepting the job was more independence and a more central role in policymaking than his predecessors had. He may have achieved just that."

In the aftermath, DP wonders if Wolfie's paramour is still in her position--if so, it may be the 1st time in history that the woman stayed & the man got ousted as a result of a torrid & steamy workplace affair. But, really, the question DP's just dying to ask the woman in question ~ was $60,000 really adequate compensation for sleeping with Paul Wolfowitz (the devil who had such an influential hand in starting a the Iraq war, among other really-bad-for-the-world ideas)?



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