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Who's afraid of Paul Wolfowitz

Original post made by The Cohen brother, Old Palo Alto, on May 17, 2007

The spectacle of Iraq War architect and World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz hoist on his own petard is certainly one worth savoring. After promising to make the struggle against corruption in developing nations his major objective while in office, Wolfowitz has come under fire for cutting a plush pay and promotion deal for his girlfriend of the time after his appointment as president in 2005.

A recently released internal inquiry into the controversy has concluded that Wolfowitz broke World Bank rules and violated his own contract with the agency. For several weeks, staff members, NGOs, and former senior officials have been expressing dismay at the emerging news of Wolfowitz's revolving door policy.

While the Bush administration's predictable response has been to treat all criticism of its appointees with contempt, powerful European members of the bank seem to be balking. Internal opposition is also reaching a tipping point. Wolfowitz's days at the Bank are clearly numbered.

Comments (23)

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Posted by Dave
a resident of College Terrace
on May 17, 2007 at 7:42 am

So Wolfie, you had to give your girlfriend a huge raise to keep her from getting upset? Sounds like appeasement to me, fella.


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Posted by Andrea
a resident of Fairmeadow
on May 17, 2007 at 7:47 am

So Wolfie pays off his girlfriend. If you looked like Nosferatu with a combover, you'd have to date women of ill repute too.

But soft! For those of us who think what's wrong with this world is the continued existence of certain fat, white, old men, here's a hot flash:

The Reverend Jerry Falwell has died.

I hope Satan finished that addition of the Tenth Circle of Hell for ol' Jerry!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by DeBagio
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 17, 2007 at 8:42 am

You're doin' a heckuva job, Wolfie!

Here's your Medal of Freedom - bye, bye!


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Posted by Draw the Line
a resident of Stanford
on May 17, 2007 at 10:28 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on May 17, 2007 at 12:38 pm

Now they can get back to spreading American money all over the world without that nagging about corruption. Wolfie was set up. Everything he did was with the full knowledge of everyone concerned.


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Posted by sarlat
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 17, 2007 at 12:44 pm

This is too hilarious:9WF5CWolfowitz has apparently scrapped a trip to Slovenia, where he was scheduled to attend another development event tomorrow. Originally, he was to deliver an award to graduate students who penned essays exploring the troubles of corruption in the developing world, bank officials said.


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Posted by Cannoball
a resident of Downtown North
on May 17, 2007 at 12:48 pm

The situation has been complicated by the fact that few people within the Bush administration understand what the World Bank does.


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Posted by Albert
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 17, 2007 at 12:53 pm

From the get go Wolfowitz wasn't a brilliant choice for WB president given his complete lack of qualifications for the job. Even if he wasn't a polarizing figure as the Iraq war architect, it's amazing anyone would appoint him to this job. So, no, he's not the "most effective" leader long or short term. There is a long list of more suitable candidates.

Second, the "firing offense" question is just too hilarious. It's a clear breach of ethics. Generally, the mere appearance of impropriety is enough to remove a tainted figure from a position of prominence. It's news to me that you are allowed a few major breaches before it's cause for dismissal. Most people have enough shame to slink away while the slinking is good and they can claim semi-plausibly they really just need to spend more time with their family, accept a cushy private sector job, or get their buddies together to plan the next regime change. Wolfowitz has gone so far beyond this that he is close to supplying a new punchline to the old mock definition of chutzpah. I admit that the "boy who murders his parents and asks leniency because he's an orphan" is hard to top, but a more concise definition is "Wolfowitz."


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Posted by Draw the Line
a resident of Stanford
on May 17, 2007 at 1:31 pm

Web Link

Can you spell "set-up"? I wonder who didn't want the corruption to stop?

Once again, if I had my druthers, I would pull the US, and her money, out of every single "international" agency that isn't clean, transparent and ethical. That would would pretty much just leave NATO, which so far as i can tell is the only one that operates well.

We always have to remember that 3/4 of the world's nations are NOT democracies. Therefore, they will always work for THEIR best interests, not ours. Which means the best interests of the people in power...


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Posted by Draw the Line
a resident of Stanford
on May 17, 2007 at 1:33 pm

Albert, you said "Generally, the mere appearance of impropriety is enough to remove a tainted figure from a position of prominence"

Only if it is a Republican. Democrats get re-elected even after convicted.


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Posted by Albert
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 17, 2007 at 1:54 pm

Wolfie's short tenure at the WB was characterized by the following: he didn't bring enough people with him, he couldn't find the money, instead of flowers and kisses, his people were met with hostility and 7 out of 8 projects have failed due to corruption and incompetence.


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Posted by DeBagio
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 17, 2007 at 2:02 pm

Whe Wolfie faces war crimes charges along with W, Cheney and Rumsfeld, his line of defence will be:It was actually Shaha who planned the Iraq occupation.


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Posted by sarlat
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 17, 2007 at 2:17 pm

Whi will be the first to resign 'so I can spend more time with my famliy', Liar General Gonzales or 'If they **** with Shaha I will **** with them' Wolfowitz?


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Posted by enough already
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 17, 2007 at 2:18 pm

What set up? Wolfowitz brought this on himself by his poor judgment and lack (or temporary lapse) of common sense.

He should have followed what the panel suggested for his girlfriend's salary or excused himself from the negotiations. This is a no-brainer.

Sniff out the rest of the facts before you feel too much pity for the guy. Try this for starters: Web Link


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Posted by Draw the Line
a resident of Stanford
on May 17, 2007 at 2:32 pm

Enough already: He did..read it all again.


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Posted by Daniel
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 17, 2007 at 4:08 pm

His departure would include an acknowledgment from the bank that he doesn't bear sole responsibility for the controversy surrounding a generous pay package for his girlfriend, according to a WB official. Although the scandal is Wolfie's sole responsibility, the WB wants him out so badly, they are willing to go along with this charade to expedite his departure. His tenure has been a disaster, just like his previous gig at Defense, so this is a small price to pay in order to get rid of him.


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Posted by Dave
a resident of College Terrace
on May 17, 2007 at 4:51 pm

My guess is that now that Wolfowitz has been booted out of the WB, he'll end up at the Hoover Institution. It's a perfect place for him to come up with some more brilliant ideas. My bet would be on a scheme for regime change in Iran that invloves only 200 US troops and is based on the slam dunk knowledge that the Iranians will welcome them with flowers.


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Posted by Fred
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 17, 2007 at 5:15 pm

Wolfowitz's insistence that the World Bank exonerate him as a condition of his resignation brings to mind the card game at the beginning of "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," with Robert Redford saying he'll agree to leave but first they have to ask him to stay.

And I swear, I SWEAR, that as I type this, I am NOT picturing Wolfowitz and his lady eating bad carne at an outdoor cafe in Bolivian mountain country.


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Posted by Paul
a resident of Barron Park
on May 18, 2007 at 7:02 am

This slow erosion of the Bush regime will continue, like a slow-motion car crash, until the end of Bush's reign, at which point the country will have been operating without an executive branch for some time due to his utter powerlessness after losing his minions. I don't think impeachment in the time remaining is practical, as much as I hate to say it. The hearings would take forever, and we'd have to get Cheney out too.

However, once he's out and a democrat is in the white house, I expect the indictments to fall fast and furious, and many, many players in Bush's regime, possibly even Bush himself, will serve time in prison. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

All we need now is popcorn and patience.


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on May 18, 2007 at 8:05 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Draw the Line
a resident of Stanford
on May 18, 2007 at 8:41 am

It will be interesting to watch what happens to the next appointee who tries to dismantle the corruption. I wonder who will be brave enough to try it?

I wonder if the girlfriend, who lost her job because the "Ethics" committee REFUSED to let Wolfie recuse himself from decisions affecting her bank and her, will get her job back ( assuming she even wants it after the way they treated her.

Have politics always been this nasty ? Anybody older than 60 who can tell me?

I want the US, and the 16% of the budget that is from our money, out of the World Bank.


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on May 19, 2007 at 5:45 pm

I am amused that the liberal love for process that routinely sets known killers lose is no bar to hounding someone out of a job just because you don't like him.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Draw the Line
a resident of Stanford
on May 25, 2007 at 12:47 pm

Web Link

Now that he is gone, the truth is admitted about the trumped up politics.


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