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Is Wolfowitz on his way out?
May 15, 2007 7:37 AM   Subscribe


 
I guess he's fucked then.
posted by rhymer at 7:43 AM on May 15, 2007


As much as I dislike Wolfowitz, I really would have expected a bit more decorum from him around this whole thing. What ever happened to being an adult? How do people who act this way (by which I don't mean the ethics violation per se, but his handling of the whole thing after it came out) get into such advanced postions?
posted by OmieWise at 7:46 AM on May 15, 2007


"First you get the money, then you get the power, then you get the women." - Wolfowitz or Tony?
posted by GuyZero at 7:47 AM on May 15, 2007


How Mottram-esque.
a search for the word fucked on that page will enlighten if you don't know the ref.
posted by imperium at 7:48 AM on May 15, 2007


The meeting to decide his fate hasn't taken place yet, so this is a bit premature.

From the World Bank's own site: They will meet with Mr. Wolfowitz at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday as part of their deliberations on the report.

From the Guardian: the board meeting [on Wednesday] to consider the report and make a statement later in the week.
posted by Aloysius Bear at 7:48 AM on May 15, 2007


Really, Paul, you have "enough on them"? You've had your job at the World Bank for less than two years, and you've already collected dirt on everyone else? Maybe if you spent less time wrangling more money for your stupid ugly girlfriend and digging around in people's pasts for things to use against them and instead spent more time doing your fucking job, perhaps they wouldn't be trying to throw you out in the first place.
posted by Pastabagel at 7:52 AM on May 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


My guess is that he'll be asked politely to resign, and fired if he won't:
Following the release of the panel’s report, 37 of the bank’s 39 country directors sent a letter to the board demanding it “practice what it preaches on governance and accountability.”

The letter, obtained by the Financial Times, stopped short of directly recommending that Mr Wolfowitz go.
posted by chunking express at 7:52 AM on May 15, 2007


I wish he'd go away so that I can begin to forget the comb-in-the-mouth visual.
posted by Morrigan at 7:53 AM on May 15, 2007


A slight tangent - watching TCM cable channel on Sunday there was a 40s movie with David Niven where he said, "They can't get rid of me, I know where the bodies are buried." I thought it was interesting the saying goes that far back.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:54 AM on May 15, 2007


no matter how bad the world bank fucks wolfowitz, it won't be as bad as wolfowitz fucked the people of iraq
posted by Flood at 7:54 AM on May 15, 2007


I wonder which 2 country directors didn't sign?
posted by MrMustard at 7:56 AM on May 15, 2007


Sounds like his predictive powers are still operating as well as usual.
posted by DU at 7:57 AM on May 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wolfowitz blames girlfriend for causing all this trouble:
In a written response, Wolfowitz maintained that he acted in good faith in seeking to resolve an obvious conflict of interest. He accused the bank's ethics committee of forcing him to oversee the raise for his longtime companion, Shaha Riza, as compensation for her transfer to a different job. The ethics panel was afraid to confront her, Wolfowitz said, because its members knew she was "extremely angry and upset."

The ethics committee told Wolfowitz he could not directly supervise Riza, who also worked at the bank, after he arrived in 2005. He said, however, that the panel declined to oversee her job transfer and compensation, instead ordering him to handle those tasks
I've read that this job was given to wolfowitz in order to "rebuild his reputation" after the Iraq war. I'm glad that didn't pan out.

This thing would be soo friggin' minor in the bush administration, I can see why someone who operated in that environment for so long would be disoriented when working for an institution that actually values straightforwardness.

(that said, straightforward or no I think the World Bank/IMF has really fucked things up oversease with heaping doses of neo-con nonsense.)
posted by delmoi at 7:57 AM on May 15, 2007


I heard something on NPR about Tony Blair possibly taking his place? Not sure if that was just some pundit suggesting it or if it was something serious, I wasn't really paying close attention.
posted by empath at 8:03 AM on May 15, 2007


Man, fuck him. I am so sick of assholes like this making a mockery of this country. Clowns come and go and assholery is not unique to the last six years, but this is getting ridiculous.
posted by thirteenkiller at 8:06 AM on May 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: Not sure if that was just some pundit suggesting it or if it was something serious, I wasn't really paying close attention.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:11 AM on May 15, 2007


OMNIWISE - Are you kidding? Have you not witnessed the last six years (and before that with the PNAC crowd)? This group of numbskulls are anything BUT professionals. Cheney flipping people off. Rove's swearing tirades. They think they're organizing a dorm keggar not running a country.
posted by tkchrist at 8:17 AM on May 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'd call him a thug, but that would be an insult to murderous cultists everywhere.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 8:17 AM on May 15, 2007


Wolfowitz blames girlfriend for causing all this trouble

Just like School in summer. No class.
posted by tkchrist at 8:18 AM on May 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


I wish he'd go away so that I can begin to forget the comb-in-the-mouth visual.

Never forget!
posted by kirkaracha at 8:19 AM on May 15, 2007


As bad as Wolfowitz is, keep in mind that the World Bank more or less works like this:

1. They hand out loans to third world dictators
2. The dictators default and keep the money in Swiss bank accounts
3. The indebted countries and associated natural resources become defacto property of their creditors, all courtesy of the World Bank

Yeah, Wolfie is a Bush-league cryptofascist, but then he's where his paymasters need him.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:23 AM on May 15, 2007 [6 favorites]



Wolfowitz spent most of his time in conflict with the modus operandi of the institution.

While thie got him praise from some sections of the gallery, from the Wash.Post , others have not been so fond.

So he gets his girlfriend a plum gig and in so doing oh so gently puts his own neck on the chopping block.

The guy is a living breathing example of dumb.

posted by From Bklyn at 8:24 AM on May 15, 2007


Wolfowitz isn't the first DoD hack to botch a war and get put out to pasture at the World Bank. McNamara got dumped there too.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:24 AM on May 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


1) Break US.
2) Break World Bank.
3) Guest star on "GEICO Caveman" series. Break ABC.
posted by Dizzy at 8:26 AM on May 15, 2007


kirkaracha, thanks :)
posted by Morrigan at 8:31 AM on May 15, 2007


Sounds like there's a lot more fucking at the World Bank that I would have expected.
posted by holycola at 8:35 AM on May 15, 2007


greasemonkey youtube comment erradicator?
posted by acro at 8:38 AM on May 15, 2007


The Harpers FPP links to this pdf at the World Bank, **unreleased version!!** with the greasy details and more critical accusations from staff.
posted by acro at 8:41 AM on May 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


OMNIWISE [sic] - Are you kidding? Have you not witnessed the last six years (and before that with the PNAC crowd)? This group of numbskulls are anything BUT professionals

No, of course you're right. When I wrote "expected" I should have written "hoped for," and even if I know it's too much to expect I still do hope for professionalism.
posted by OmieWise at 8:42 AM on May 15, 2007


Hitchens stands up for Wolfie's girlfriend, I guess, because Wolfie just ain't chivalrous enough to do it himself.
posted by psmealey at 8:44 AM on May 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


The front cover of the report which the World Bank has published on their website is prominently marked "STrictly Confidential."

This part is curious:
“From the time Ms. Riza presented her terms to Mr. Coll (head of human resources) until Mr. Wolfowitz instructed Mr. Coll to accept those terms, neither Mr. Wolfowitz nor Mr. Coll consulted with Bank counsel concerning whether the terms were in the Bank’s interest. Mr. Coll states that during his August 10 meeting with Mr. Wolfowitz and Ms (Robin) Cleveland, they told him he “could not talk to anyone” including the General Counsel about his conversation with Ms. Riza. Mr. Wolfowitz has not denied that the General Counsel was excluded from the negotiations. However, he explains that he did not consult with the General Counsel because he considered the General Counsel to be conflicted from providing advice to both the Ethics Committee and management.” (Note 47, page 21)
How on earth could the general counsel be conflicted from providing advice to the ethics committee or management?
posted by caddis at 8:44 AM on May 15, 2007


as president of the World Bank, he enjoys full immunity for any criminal conduct.

How do I get this added to my job description?
posted by effwerd at 8:45 AM on May 15, 2007 [3 favorites]


He really, really blames his girlfriend:
Wolfowitz also blamed Riza for his predicament, saying that her "intractable position" in demanding a salary increase as compensation for the disruption to her career forced him to satisfy her to pre-empt the possibility of a lawsuit.
I don't think he's going to have a girlfriend much longer. I mean, if he has to be "forced" to "satisfy her" and all...
posted by rtha at 8:47 AM on May 15, 2007


Cool link, mealey. Love him or hate him, at least Mr Hitchens is one of the only journalists around who won't back down from a difficult debate topic.
posted by chuckdarwin at 8:48 AM on May 15, 2007


I would like to point how how utterly cheap and petty these people really are. Riza's raise that caused all this fuss in the first place was about $47,000. That's it. He has all kinds of connections ot oil companies, etc, and he screwed up his and her career over $47k.

You would think that with all the backroom dealings and corporate connections, these guys would be walking away with hundreds of millions of dollars. But they aren't, because they are dumb.

Ms. Riza would have made more money had Wolfie told her in 2002 to buy Exxon stock, and that would have been legal. Cheney could have told Abramoff not to be stupid and to buy Halliburton stock. Nope. Instead, he'll forge wire transfers, evade taxes, and bribe congressman.

They can't stand the possibility of leaving money on the table, even if the amount is pennies. If Wolfie can get her $47k more a year, then dammit he'll get it, because he knows no private sector operation would put up with her long enough for her to make the extra $.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:59 AM on May 15, 2007


If you just scan the facts section of the report he disclosed this relationship and tried to have the matter resolved before taking the job. The fact that it was not so resolved strikes me as an institutional failure more than anything. What an administrative clusterfuck. The institution should have managed and reviewed the entire process. Instead, the Ethics Committee provided broad guidelines for her placement, never asked to review the details and then officially declared the matter closed. The head of the ethics committee is also quoted as saying they knew of the promotions but it "was an aspect which we we deliberately had not engaged ourselves with" because they were "not part of the responsibility of the Board members and the Ethics Committee." Nice tax (and consequence) free work if you can get it.

Having said that, Wolfowitz should have known better than to have taken the job without this matter being resolved completely and without his involvment.
posted by probablysteve at 9:01 AM on May 15, 2007 [3 favorites]


The report slates Mr Wolfowitz for his "questionable judgment and a preoccupation with self-interest", saying: "Mr Wolfowitz saw himself as the outsider to whom the established rules and standards did not apply."

He was in the Bush Administration. What do you expect?

Oh, well. I hope that the next World Bank prez will have holes in his socks, just like Wolfie. That's the only thing I like about him.
posted by brundlefly at 9:01 AM on May 15, 2007


What ever happened to being an adult?

What brundelfly said: "He was in the Bush Administration. What do you expect?"

I can't think of a single person in the administration that doesn't act like a childish, boorish, spoiled brat.

That alone is an excellent criteria for determining our next president as far as I'm concerned.
posted by smallerdemon at 9:21 AM on May 15, 2007


Pastabage;
Kinda taking the other side, getting a job at the World Bank is not easy (Wolfowitz's cronies excepted, which btw is a major reason why those executive appointment's pissed alot of people in the bank off))...

You have to have a master's if not a PhD. It's a status job, and a career you have for life, plus the WB is a social world of its own. Someone who is working at the bank has devoted years of schooling, and effort towards it, and I'd say it's decidedly NOT the same thing as a revolving door executive position at an oil company (Wolfie was a career academic/government person I doubt he's worked in the private sector). ANYONE would be pissed at having their career disrupted...

But then, the decision to date Wolfie moves Ms Riza right beyond the line for my compassion...
posted by stratastar at 9:34 AM on May 15, 2007


McNamara got dumped there too.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that McNamara was generally considered to have done a good job at the Bank. Or at least he didn't completely screw it up.

And while McNamara certainly has a lot to answer for, I get the sense (primarily from The Fog of War) that he's genuinely haunted by the decisions he made about the war. Not something you'd say about Wolfie.
posted by Rangeboy at 9:39 AM on May 15, 2007


From psmealey's link:

"Anyone who knows anything about this also knows that it is part of a power play by certain European and Asian interests at the bank to challenge American dominance of the institution. Two previous managing directors, Shengman Zhang and Caio Koch-Weser, were allowed to have their spouses working there without any demur."
posted by yerfatma at 9:45 AM on May 15, 2007


I have a friend at the WB. They told me that Wolfowitz's lawyer has a bunch of information (surely collected legally) about the board members and is going to present it to the press. Supposedly, lots and lot of bad behavior and naughtiness. I wonder who would have helped gather this information?

The question is: Will the board be willing to have their dirty laundry aired out for the public in order to send Wolfowitz packing?

The WB operations in Europe have ground down because all prospective donors want to talk about is the scandal thus making working conditions poor. Doesn't sound like much fun to me.
posted by zerobyproxy at 9:51 AM on May 15, 2007


So it's yet another "Nero decree" moment from one of these jokers, eh? If any of these Bush admin jackals had the slightest real feelings of moral conviction, they'd be willing to step aside without trying to destroy the reputations of their critics and/or dragging the very institutions they claim to serve through the mud. But nope. That's not the way it's done anymore. Nowadays it's all about either winning it all for yourself or taking down as many others as possible on your way down. How depressing.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:13 AM on May 15, 2007


Like has been said above, the World Bank is not some noble pool of academic innocents. The critical development literature from anthropology, sociology and economics is full of examples where between the the bank's stated objectives, and implementation of programs it creates huge distortions in 'third world' economies. Full/Library sub. reqThe Ghost in the Machine Agency in 'Poststructural' Criticisms of Development
posted by acro at 10:13 AM on May 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


The World Bank is a mess. Do we (or rather, its "beneficiaries") really need it? Can't private equity markets--which are huge and fully international--do what it does, but better?
posted by MarshallPoe at 10:16 AM on May 15, 2007


< nerd>
Wolfowitz is a pretty smart guy, but this certainly shows why intelligence and wisdom are separate rolls in d&d, huh?
< /nerd>

that is, if you look at what he's done, he really doesn't have /any/ managerial experience worth a damn. to expect him to be able to run the world bank was a stupid idea -- he's much better left in a back room dreaming of things than running a group. i suppose that's what happens all over the country -- folks get dropped into managerial positions after awhile whether they want them or not to justify their seniority.
posted by mrballistic at 10:16 AM on May 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


I hope that the next World Bank prez will have holes in his socks

Yeah, not only the comb, but the socks!
posted by ericb at 10:18 AM on May 15, 2007


OmieWise: How do people who act this way (by which I don't mean the ethics violation per se, but his handling of the whole thing after it came out) get into such advanced postions?

Joshua Meyrowitz (No Sense of Place) and Neil Postman (The Disappearance of Childhood) have suggested that while in the past, child and adult roles were highly differentiated, and adults were much more mature than children, in more recent times we've been converging on a kind of perpetual adolescence. Kids grow up much faster, but then they never advance much beyond adolescence.

Thus in the past kids wore kids' clothes, and adults wore business clothes; while today everyone wears jeans. The same applies to TV, movies, music, videogames, and the Internet: we're no longer segregated by age. Meyrowitz and Postman suggest that this is due to the diminishing role of books and the dominance of television, which is accessible to anyone regardless of age, since the 1950s.

If this suggestion is correct, and it's not just in our tastes but in the way we think that adults are no longer as mature as they once were, then perhaps it's not so surprising that Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, etc. display such immaturity. (The same could perhaps be said of Clinton's dalliance with Monica Lewinsky, or the various corporate accounting scandals.) They still have great power, but they no longer have the sense of responsibility that we expect of our leaders.
posted by russilwvong at 10:19 AM on May 15, 2007 [8 favorites]


Yeah, presidents didn't have affairs until television.
posted by InnocentBystander at 10:28 AM on May 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


OmieWise : No, of course you're right. When I wrote "expected" I should have written "hoped for," and even if I know it's too much to expect I still do hope for professionalism.

Actually, I'm glad his response was so vulgar. It makes it much easier to see what a thug he and his friends really are.

Perhaps we could treat this like a Metatalk flame-out and carefully cultivate our responses to him to ensure we get the biggest bang possible.

"Hey, Wolfy, I heard that they said you were too chicken-shit to release anything you may have dug up. They also said that blaming your girlfriend is a bitch move. You a bitch Wolfy? You some kind of chicken-shit bitch?"
posted by quin at 10:55 AM on May 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


russilwvong--Thanks for the Postman suggestion. I liked his book on television, I'll read his book on childhood/adulthood.
posted by OmieWise at 10:57 AM on May 15, 2007


: greasemonkey youtube comment erradicator - Thanks userscripts!
posted by acro at 11:08 AM on May 15, 2007


M-Poe---
Hope I'm not opening up an enooooormous can of worms here, but market forces do not parity make.
posted by Dizzy at 11:53 AM on May 15, 2007


Ah, secular karma. Thy name is comedy.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:30 PM on May 15, 2007


Man, this is a smear. Politics aside, the behaviour of parts of the media and Wolfowitz's opponents in the World Bank has been deplorable.

probablysteve is absolutely right.
posted by converge at 12:34 PM on May 15, 2007


When I wrote "expected" I should have written "hoped for"

Oh. Good. You scared me for a minute there.
posted by tkchrist at 12:36 PM on May 15, 2007


Thus in the past kids wore kids' clothes, and adults wore business clothes...
This of course ignores the fact that the 'cult of childhood' is a relatively recent development as well; for much more of our history, kids have been just another resource for the family. They have to work, they have to help keep things afloat, etc. The very idea of "Childrens' Clothing" is a recent development; for most of human history, people just had clothing.

But we digress.
posted by verb at 12:38 PM on May 15, 2007


Man, this is a smear. Politics aside, the behaviour of parts of the media and Wolfowitz's opponents in the World Bank has been deplorable.

Yeah, the way the World Bank's critics is way worse than what the World Bank itself does. Keep telling yourself that.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:05 PM on May 15, 2007


Having said that, Wolfowitz should have known better than to have taken the job without this matter being resolved completely and without his involvment.

That's probably what was told to Wolfy, that it was A-OK and not to worry. Then he was backstabbed probably in revenge of some of his actions. Ehehe , honor among thieves ?
posted by elpapacito at 1:44 PM on May 15, 2007


Pope Guilty: I don't think you follow me. Nor I, you. Preview is your friend.

Also, this thread is about a very specific situation, not the World Bank itself.
posted by converge at 2:24 PM on May 15, 2007


"Not sure if that was just some pundit suggesting it or if it was something serious, I wasn't really paying close attention."

...Thank You, Amerika!

I'm going to watch Amerikan Idol, tonight.
posted by GreyFoxVT at 2:28 PM on May 15, 2007


Mr. Wolfowitz cannot be prosecuted under United States public corruption statutes because, as president of the World Bank, he enjoys full immunity for any criminal conduct.

[Marvin the Martian voice] This makes me very, very angry.
posted by JHarris at 2:37 PM on May 15, 2007


Man, this is a smear. Politics aside, the behaviour of parts of the media and Wolfowitz's opponents in the World Bank has been deplorable.

Yeah, the way the World Bank's critics is way worse than what the World Bank itself does. Keep telling yourself that.


DOES.NOT.PARSE
posted by atrazine at 2:45 PM on May 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


JHarris, diplomatic immunity makes you angry?
posted by atrazine at 2:45 PM on May 15, 2007


Long derail.

verb: This of course ignores the fact that the 'cult of childhood' is a relatively recent development as well--

In fact Postman does discuss the close connection between the rise of widespread literacy and the conception of childhood as separate from adulthood.

On a purely subjective level, it seems to me that over the course of a single generation, there was a marked decline in social responsibility. Whether this can be attributed to Postman's "disappearance of childhood" is open to question, of course.

Hendrik Hertzberg has a great comparison between George Bush Sr. and Dan Quayle in a 1988 New Republic article: "The Bush-Quayle ticket is a powerful symbol of the moral decline of the American ruling class."

Hertzberg quotes Bush Sr.'s Looking Forward:
When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, there wasn't any doubt about which branch of the service I'd join. My thoughts immediately turned to naval aviation. College was coming up the following fall, but that would have to wait. The sooner I could enlist, the better.

Six months later I got my diploma from Phillips Academy Andover. Secretary of War Henry Stimson came from Washington to deliver the commencement address. He told members of our graduating class the war would be a long one, and even though America needed fighting men, we'd serve our country better by getting more education before getting into uniform.

After the ceremony, in a crowded hallway outside the auditorium, my father had one last question about my future plans.... "George," he said, "did the secretary say anything to change your mind?"

"No, sir," I replied. "I'm going in."

Dad nodded and shook my hand.
Hertzberg:
In that exchange, so long ago, between Prescott and George Bush, there is real nobility; it is a perfect expression of the upper-class ethos at its tight-lipped, firmjawed best. These were not people brought up to talk endlessly, or at all, about their "feelings." A nod and a handshake were more than sufficient to convey the father's pride in the son. With that handshake the boy became a man; and the man went on, as the world knows, to become the youngest aviator in the Navy, flying 58 combat missions off the pitching decks of aircraft carriers, getting shot down in his TBM Avenger and rescued at sea by an American submarine, and coming home with the Distinguished Flying Cross on his chest. He need not have left home at all. A word from Prescott Bush to Secretary Stimson or some other highly placed acquaintance, and George might have had a comfortable billet in the Pentagon or as an adjutant on some general's staff behind the lines. But that was not his way, or the way of his class.
Versus:
Now flash forward to 1969. J. Danforth Quayle, scion of a rich and politically influential family, has a problem. Like millions of others, he has held off the draft for four years with a Selective Service rating of 2-S--student deferment. But now he has graduated, from DePauw University, and because his grades weren't so good it's going to take some doing to get him into law school. Meanwhile, he has had his physical examination, the last step before the machinery of Selective Service will grind out his induction notice. He applies for a spot in the National Guard, as the state militia is called, but the demand for places is so great that he will have long since been drafted if he waits his turn. Fortunately, a senior employee at one of the family's newspapers is a retired major general in the Guard. Telephone calls are made. A spot is found.
The stories for Bush Jr. and Cheney are similar.
posted by russilwvong at 3:01 PM on May 15, 2007 [4 favorites]


...Thank You, Amerika!
I'm going to watch Amerikan Idol, tonight.


Way to make a difference. You really burned us couch potatoes good.
posted by yerfatma at 3:01 PM on May 15, 2007


russilwvong... !
posted by acro at 3:11 PM on May 15, 2007


Ah, Mr. Wolfowitz, another proud member of the establishment that no longer cares for the "reality-based" community. Such a nice job they did in Iraq by ignoring pesky and liberal "facts" and going ahead regardless. This is sure working out well for Paul in this context as well.
posted by Mental Wimp at 4:06 PM on May 15, 2007


Nancy Birdsall: Some commentators (see for example, syndicated columnist George Will’s piece: The Real World Bank Problem) have argued that it’s just fine if the Wolfowitz affair destroys the World Bank. According to this ill-informed view: good riddance. I disagree. The world badly needs an effective World Bank, for two reasons.
posted by russilwvong at 4:08 PM on May 15, 2007


I Hope Wolfie Learns a Few Lessons:

1. Fuck with an Arab, and that Arab's gonna bring your ass down.

2. Invade Arab territory; no matter how big (Iraq) or small (Shiha), you gonna lose yo' job.

Maybe there is a God!? Seriously, though, how delicious that Shiha is an Arab ... this is their revenge. The one thing that makes me cringe though is everyone's use of the word 'girlfriend', which is so belittling. Couldn't they say lover or partner? Who cares if they're not married.
posted by Azaadistani at 4:22 PM on May 15, 2007


1. Fuck with an Arab, and that Arab's gonna bring your ass down.

Of course that Arab's head may come floating down shortly thereafter, but that's another story.
posted by extrabox at 7:46 PM on May 15, 2007


russilwong: On a purely subjective level, it seems to me that over the course of a single generation, there was a marked decline in social responsibility. Whether this can be attributed to Postman's "disappearance of childhood" is open to question, of course.

Oh, I absolutely agree with you on that point. And having not read Postman's book I can't say whether I agree with his ideas or not; I just felt that the original post I was replying to overstated the idea, treating this 'disappearance of childhood' as some sort of major sea change when the 'old' way is a pretty new development, itself.

I would say instead that childhood has not disappeared, in fact it's become more popular...

Mmmmm, derail.

Back to the topic, though, Wolfowitz strikes me as one of the many, many forgettable ideologues that populate the political landscape. Watching him flame out has been uncomfortably predictable.
posted by verb at 8:47 PM on May 15, 2007


In regards to Pastabagels comment, I've got to stick up for McNamera. If you see the Fog of War and you're to believe his take, which I do, he was simply doing his job as best he could, taking bad orders and trying to work with them. He eventually got canned by LBJ for his lack of faith in the handling of the war. McNamara was about as responsible [and as big a tool] for Vietnam as Powell was responsible for Iraq. It just comes with the territory of being a cabinet member or high-level bureaucrat... do you quit out of protest of try to execute a bad policy as best you can?
posted by trinarian at 8:56 PM on May 15, 2007


Who cares if they're not married.

Well, Wolfowitz's wife might still care.

The people who vote Republicans into power because the GOP makes better noises about "family values" might care.
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 8:56 PM on May 15, 2007


The people who vote Republicans into power because the GOP makes better noises about "family values" might care.

You wanna bet? Those people couldn't care less. The only way they'd wake up and pay attention would be if Shaha Ali Riza were the name of Wolfowitz's gay escort lover, and even then it'd be a stretch to get them to pay attention to it for more than ten seconds.
posted by blucevalo at 9:43 PM on May 15, 2007


Well, Wolfowitz's wife might still care.

He is at least separated from his wife if not divorced. His wife is not an issue here.
posted by caddis at 9:44 PM on May 15, 2007


If you believe this, his girlfriend is the reason he worked so hard to get us into war with Iraq in the first place.
posted by eye of newt at 9:49 PM on May 15, 2007


trinarian: McNamara was about as responsible [and as big a tool] for Vietnam as Powell was responsible for Iraq.

Afraid I have to disagree here. McNamara's role is closer to that of Rumsfeld or Wolfowitz. McNamara himself feels a great deal of responsibility for the war. From a Foreign Affairs review of McNamara's In Retrospect:
Throughout the book, he concedes -- and deplores -- the errors of his ways, for all practical purposes assuming personal responsibility for the Vietnam debacle. The list goes on almost in the fashion of a litany. The secretary of defense was a key figure in decisions to escalate the war between 1961 and 1965, and he readily concedes that the assumptions upon which he and his colleagues acted were badly flawed. They approached Vietnam, he recalls, with "sparse knowledge, scant experience and simplistic assumptions." Victims of their own "innocence and confidence," they foolishly viewed communism as monolithic, knew nothing about Indochina, and were "simple-minded" regarding the historical relationship between China and Vietnam. They badly misjudged Ho Chi Minh's nationalism and consistently overestimated South Vietnam's ability to survive. Regarding the key decisions of 1965, he admits he should have anticipated that bombing North Vietnam would lead to requests for ground troops. He concedes there should have been a public debate on the July 1965 decision for war. Over and over he acknowledges that he should have examined the unexamined assumptions, asked the unasked questions, and explored the readily dismissed alternatives.

McNamara was the primary war manager for both John F. Kennedy and Johnson, and here too he admits error. He concedes a lack of candor in his reports to the public, defending himself only to the point of wondering how top officials can be frank without aiding the enemy. He regrets on numerous peace initiatives that "we failed to utilize all possible channels and to convey our position clearly." He admits that he and his military and civilian colleagues repeatedly underestimated the ability of the North Vietnamese and National Liberation Front to endure losses.
I seem to recall reading about McNamara's breaking down and weeping while on the book tour for In Retrospect, but I can't find it now. Not that this compensates for Vietnam.

The Fog of War is available on Google Video, by the way.
posted by russilwvong at 11:28 PM on May 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


Another look at, but not exclusively about McNamara: Adam Curtis' documentary about the rise of 'systems analysts' and 'technocrats': To the Brink of Eternity, Part of the series 'Pandora's Box'
posted by acro at 12:01 AM on May 16, 2007


Rangeboy writes "I believe that McNamara was generally considered to have done a good job at the Bank. Or at least he didn't completely screw it up."

Well, if you're comparing it to his performance in his prior gig, sure.
posted by orthogonality at 1:46 AM on May 16, 2007


trinarian writes "McNamara was about as responsible [and as big a tool] for Vietnam as Powell was responsible for Iraq."

Yeah, when I was smoking crack with the Golem of Prague, that's what the leprechaun riding the unicorn down Big Rock Candy Mountain told us too.
posted by orthogonality at 1:54 AM on May 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


ABC's 'The Blotter' The decision is likely today, officials say, because Wolfowitz had been scheduled to leave tonight for a European trip."
posted by acro at 11:17 AM on May 16, 2007


Buh-bye: Wolfowitz to resign presidency of World Bank.
posted by ericb at 3:19 PM on May 17, 2007


sayonara, motherfucker.
posted by delmoi at 4:28 PM on May 17, 2007



Hasta la vista, pookie bear.
posted by From Bklyn at 4:51 AM on May 18, 2007


trinarian, your understanding of McNamara's role in the Vietnam war is disturbingly limited. I'm not trying to be a dick, but you seem to have gotten it precisely wrong.

Even so, you might want to read Eichmann in Jerusalem if you're really interested in the notions of innocence and guilt as they relate to the role of the bureaucratic functionary.
posted by OmieWise at 7:17 AM on May 18, 2007


I seem to recall reading about McNamara's breaking down and weeping while on the book tour for In Retrospect

Good. Prepping himself for the fires of hell, no doubt.

I remember watching the Fog of War, and almost feeling something resembling pity for him, as he just seemed so haunted, so inconsolable. Then, I remembered the fact that his ego was directly responsible for the deaths of MILLIONS, and indirectly responsible for MILLIONS MORE, and that helped me put that feeling in check.

For whatever he is, at least McNamara seems resigned to the fact that what he did was collossally wrong - even if he can't quite bring himself to admit it. I contrast this to the inevitable wailing, whining, finger pointing and simpering we can expect from members of the Bush administration as they approach their 80s in a few years.
posted by psmealey at 7:23 AM on May 18, 2007


World Bank reacts to Wolfowitz resignation: “‘Everyone ran into the hallways and were clapping and hugging each other,’ one employee, who declined to be named, said.”
posted by ericb at 8:42 AM on May 18, 2007


‘Everyone ran into the hallways and were clapping and hugging each other,’ one employee, who declined to be named, said.”

As hypocritical and inept as Wolfowitz seemed to be, that just sounds weird to me. Was he walking into staffers' offices on a daily basis to dress them down in front of their peers? Or was he emprisoning their pet hamsters and putting out cigarette butts on them?

The World Bank hardly had a reputation for being high-minded and pristine long before Wolfie arrived. This reaction to his resignation on the part of some pretty well paid (and tax free!) white collar staffers sounds a little bit creepy and classless to me.
posted by psmealey at 12:25 PM on May 18, 2007


Yeah, psmealey, because that's the only way a boss can adversely affect your working environment, you know, through petty shit like that. (By the way, it's "imprisoning.") Generally being an incompetent dick and demotivating you would hardly lead to this sort of jubilation at his leaving.

And yes, every institution that doesn't agree with the Bush administration is obviously deeply flawed, creepy, and classless. Unlike Wolfie, Karl, Dummy, Condi, Dickie, and the chief proponent of dignity and class ("I'm lookin' forward to that pig!"), Georgie.
posted by Mental Wimp at 8:29 AM on May 19, 2007


McNamara has been interviewed several times on the Charlie Rose show, available here.
(George W. Bush was a guest April 24)
posted by acro at 9:42 AM on May 19, 2007


Give me a fucking break, Mental Wimp. I suggest you try checking out a user's posting history before throwing up such a retarded straw man retort. That's that sort of flaccid with us or against us bullshit that we're used to seeing from the Bushies. Nice work.
posted by psmealey at 12:00 PM on May 19, 2007


eponysterical, too
posted by psmealey at 12:02 PM on May 19, 2007


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