The Strange Appeal of Paul Wolfowitz

Las Cruces, New Mexico

It is often said some women are drawn to men of power. Henry Kissinger and Bubba Clinton come to mind. “Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac,” Doctor K. reportedly said. Or maybe mass murder is the ultimate aphrodisiac. Kissinger and Clinton certainly rank high in the rogue’s gallery of war criminals, giving a new spin to the term “lady-killer.”

Enter Paul Wolfowitz, deputy secretary of defense, founder of the neocon “think tank” Project for the New American Century, former consultant for the death merchant Northrop Grumman, and now head of the neolib loan shark operation, the World Bank.

“Reports indicate that Dr. Clare Selgin Wolfowitz separated from Paul because he had an affair with a woman at Johns Hopkins University,” Jackson Thoreau quotes consultant Barry O’Connell, a former Republican and now conservative Democrat, as saying. “Paul Wolfowitz was Dean and Professor of International Relations at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of The Johns Hopkins University. During that time he used his position to prey on woman under his authority. When the scandal broke, he and his wife Clare separated but appear not to have divorced. At this point it is unclear if the relationship with Shaha Ali Riza predates the scandalous affair at SAIS. One may wonder if Wolfowitz has trouble keeping track of his women, but I have it on good authority that he uses his protective detail of federal officers to manage his affairs and shuttle him from assignation to assignation.”

Shaha Riza, supposedly a feminist, is the acting manager for External Relations and Outreach for the Middle East and North Africa Region at the World Bank. Sheesh, talk about sex in the office supply closet. “Wolfowitz, a married father of three, is said to be so blinded by his relationship with Riza, that influential members of the World Bank believe she played a key role in influencing the Pentagon official to launch the 2003 Iraq war. As his trusted confident, she is said to be one of most influential Muslims in Washington,” reports the Arab News site. “After [Riza and Turkish Cypriot Bulent Ali Riza, now divorced] moved to America, Riza worked for the Iraq Foundation, set up by expatriates to overthrow Saddam Hussein after the first Gulf War. She subsequently joined the National Endowment for Democracy, created by President Ronald Reagan to promote American ideals.” In other words, the woman is a full-blown neocon. The Iraq Foundation, based in Washington, is funded by the State Department and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA,” Allen Weinstein, who helped draft the legislation establishing NED, is quoted by the historian William Blum as saying.

You’d think Wolfowitz’s relationship with Riza would get in the way of his newly enshrined duties as mafia don at the World Bank. However, if we know anything about the neocons, it is that they get away with bloody murder — literarily, as Iraq and Afghanistan demonstrate — and are strikingly above reproach.

In a hilarious article by Ward Harkavy in the Village Voice — where Harkavy makes the obvious comparison between the World According to Bush and Superman’s Bizarro World (I call this Bushzarro world) — we learn that the neoconized World Bank will likely hand out grants rather then make loans. “Staff at the World Bank fear Mr. Wolfowitz might push through longstanding U.S. proposals to make it an organization that gives out grants rather than loans,” Harkavy quotes Julian Borger of the Guardian as predicting. “It’s much easier to politicize grants,” an official told Borger.

“You want to fight terrorism? Then fight suffering. But under Wolfowitz, look for more World Bank money to be poured into, say, Iraq projects brainstormed by the Bush regime’s bidness pals. Not just in Iraq, but anywhere there’s oil and other riches to be plundered,” observes Harkavy.

Anandi Pandya of the Guardian has a bit different take. “The Bank would now lend money only to states willing to be clients of the US and agree to privatize their non-existent social security systems, schools and water supply, and only big oil companies will benefit,” writes Pandya. “Being tough may require skills other than the traditional aid and debt relief approach to development, and that may make Wolfowitz dangerous for the status quo. But the status quo is not the only way to remove poverty.” Of course, bombing the bejesus out of third world nations does not “remove poverty” either.

Out here in the hinterlands, watching all of this unfold, one has to shrug with disbelief. Before the Shaha Riza allegation hit the blogosphere in full force, and people began making comments about the unlikelihood of Wolfie doubling as a babe magnet, we were subjected to other inanities, such as the rather clownish U2 front man Bono pulling for the Wolf as loan shark mafia don. “Wolfowitz adviser Kevin Kellems told Reuters the deputy U.S. defense secretary initiated lengthy conversations with the lead singer of the rock group U2, whose name had been bandied about for the World Bank presidency,” reported CNN Money a week and a half ago. “An endorsement by Bono, who campaigns extensively for African aid and debt relief, could defuse some of the criticism of Wolfowitz.” Bono, who rubbed elbows with Bush because he bought into Dubya’s promise to end AIDS in other lifetime, particularly in Africa, seems to have amnesia when it comes to the crimes of Wolfowitz and Bush — as evidenced by 100,000 or more dead Iraqis. For some reason Bizarro Bono did not have the urge to take a shower after walking and talking with Bush the Junior, a man who expressed contempt for poor people from an early age onward, probably soon after he tired of blowing up frogs with firecrackers.

One is struck with amazement how easily people roll over and play dead — in the above case, Europeans who apparently don’t have problems with Wolfowitz managing the World Bank, even after all the nasty things the neocons have said about “old” Europeans. Delusional thinking is the order of the day as Bushzarro world becomes the international norm, at least for the ruling elite. “The World Bank’s incoming president, Paul Wolfowitz, declared debt relief for the poorest nations to be one of the most pressing issues when he assumes office in June after he was unanimously approved as the new chief of the organization,” reports Reuters. War is peace, occupation and premeditated murder democracy, and loan sharking is compassion for the poor of the “htrae” (or earth in Bizzaro world). If you believe any of this, I have a bridge to sell you in the Kalahari.

Roll over George Orwell.

KURT NIMMO is a photographer and multimedia developer in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Visit his excellent no holds barred blog at www.kurtnimmo.com/ . Nimmo is a contributor to Cockburn and St. Clair’s, The Politics of Anti-Semitism. A collection of his essays for CounterPunch, Another Day in the Empire, is now available from Dandelion Books.

He can be reached at: nimmo@zianet.com








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KURT NIMMO is a photographer and multimedia developer in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Visit his excellent no holds barred blog at www.kurtnimmo.com/ . Nimmo is a contributor to Cockburn and St. Clair’s, The Politics of Anti-Semitism. A collection of his essays for CounterPunch, Another Day in the Empire, is now available from Dandelion Books. He can be reached at: nimmo@zianet.com

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