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Werewolf of Washington

From under what rock did he emerge that made it necessary to drag him kicking and screaming out of two capitalist entities, the US Department of Defense and the World Bank?

Paul Dundes Wolfowitz is no run-of-the-mill political bureaucrat. He’s a neo-con with teeth.

His last rampage of destruction at the World Bank, a supposedly goody-goody organization of banks, dispenses loans to third world countries thereby putting them into debt. This is nothing but an ingenious way of impoverishing them further, an imperialist tactic, making it easier to control their regimes and steal their resources.

The United States contributes most of the funds so they have most of the clout in running the Bank. Making Wolfowitz president of the World Bank Group was an example of that clout.

When he got the job, in 2005, he was criticized for keeping aid from reaching places where it was needed. He promised to fight government corruption, but charges of nepotism hanging over him gave Wolfowitz an aura of hypocrisy, and skepticism about his anti-corruption promises was widespread.

The way he ran the Bank, primarily with the interest of the United States in mind, raised the hackles of some of the other countries that had an interest in how the Bank dispensed its cash. Other capitalist nations wanted their fair share of the pie.

Wolfowitz shot himself in the foot when he promoted his girl friend, an employee at the World Bank, giving her a whopping raise. That must have been the last straw for a majority of participating banks; the wedge used to get him out.

After some pawing of the ground, backing and filling, a compromise was reached. Wolfowitz threw in the towel. Part of the deal, it seems, was that the United States will be able, again, to pick the replacement.

The World Bank, apparently, is the place where discredited US Secretaries of Defense go to die. Robert McNamara, the former Secretary of Defense in the Lyndon Johnson and Nixon Administrations, wound up in that job after the ignominious defeat in Vietnam. Iraq looks like déjà vu all over again.

But Paul Wolfowitz, former Deputy Secretary of Defense, under Donald Rumsfeld, isn’t dead yet.

As Neo-con in Chief, he did a yeoman job helping to engineering the Iraq war in 2003. His claim to fame was his ability to make the intelligence fit the policy. Wolfowitz was widely seen as one of the most hawkish of the neo-cons in the Republican Party.

In the fourth year of the Iraq war, Wolfowitz is left, with the rest of us, contemplating the catastrophe that he, and the Bush Administration has concocted.

He must have seen the handwriting on the wall and beat a hasty retreat with a little shove from his friends, leaving his neo-conservative colleagues there to pick up the pieces or look for another place to start a war, like Iran, perhaps.

So what will Wolfowitz’s next adventure be? We can only surmise from his past history.

One example of where Wolfowitz was coming from–his appointment as Ambassador to the Republic of Indonesia from 1986-89 while General Suharto was its president, a period of turmoil when East Timor was trying to free itself from Indonesian rule.

Joseph Nevins, an assistant professor at Vassar College and author of a book on East Timor, says of Wolfowitz during that period:

“He consistently argued against East Timorese self-determination, a position he maintained through 1999. While he sometimes criticized the Indonesian military’s more high-profile atrocities, his opposition to any talk favoring an Indonesian withdrawal from East Timor–as demanded by the United Nations–lent credibility to Indonesia’s presence in East Timor, facilitating the very atrocities he occasionally decried.”

ABC News reported that “thousands of leftists detained after the 1965 US- backed military coup that brought Suharto to power were still languishing in jail without trial.” ABC News reported further that “tens of thousands of people in East Timor, a country Suharto’s troops occupied in 1975, died during the 1980s in a series of army anti-insurgency offensives.”

“Wolfowitz went to East Timor and saw abuses going on, but kept quiet,” said Binny Buchori of the International NGO Forum on Indonesian Development.

In 1989, Paul Wolfowitz joined the administration of George Bush, 41, as Under-Secretary for Defense Policy which happened to be under then Secretary of Defense Dick Chaney, who is now Vice President Dick Chaney in the administration of George Bush, 43.

So Paul Dundes Wolfowitz has come full circle.

STEPHEN FLEISCHMAN, television writer-director-producer, spent thirty years in Network News at CBS and ABC, starting in 1953. In 1959, he participated in the formation of the renowned Murrow-Friendly “CBS Reports” series. In 1983, Fleischman won the prestigious Columbia University-DuPont Television Journalism Award. In 2004, he wrote his memoir. See: http://www.ARedintheHouse.com/, E-mail: stevefl@ca.rr.com