who will be next World Bank President What will they do


The Deepest Cut: Sarcasm The ultimate "insider" columnist with the Washington Post, Al Kamen, pours his vitriol on Paul Wolfowitz. Kamen detects echoes of Bush's post-9/11 logic: "Wolfowitz's supporters say the controversy is really about corruption: Either you're for it or against it. Wolfowitz is against it. His enemies, therefore, are for it."

"Okay, maybe his campaign against nepotism and fraud and such might have been a tad undercut by Raisegate. But remember, transparency is important. And, as he told reporters, 'I didn't hide anything that I did.'

"Indeed, he typed, checked the margins and spacing, looked for spelling and syntax errors, and then actually signed an order directing that his girlfriend be given a promotion, a raise of about $50,000, and then some fine future raises and promotions after she went, still on the World Bank tab, to work at the State Department.

"Contrary to the impression left by the media, those future promotions were not automatic. The order said her performance outside the bank would be reviewed by a 'committee of her peers' acceptable to her. (The directive doesn't say so, but custom dictates that no more than one committee member can be a close relative and no more than one can be a former college roommate.) Wolfowitz also indicated that he was under intense pressure to resolve this and was concerned Riza might sue the bank -- though we're told the bank has sovereign immunity.

"And he's admitted he made a 'mistake.' Why isn't that enough? his supporters ask. Well, the answer simply must be that the pro-corruption crowd -- the Brits, French, Germans, Dutch, Italians and other Euros, who in all provide around 40 percent of the bank's loans to poor countries -- somehow are worried that recipients might be forced to be honest. And the Euros include some 'Wolfowitz haters' who, not coincidentally, also hate freedom." [recall that Bush's consistent explanation for why "folks" like al-Qaeda do what they do is because they "hate freedom."]

Soren Ambrose ~ April 18, 2007

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