Thursday, May 10, 2007

Paul Wolfowitz Explained

Before he was hired by the Bush Administration, Paul Wolfowitz was not known as a particularly competent individual. He's still not known as a particularly competent individual. He wasn't competent in the few real responsibilities he had in the running of the war in Iraq. He also hasn't been competent as the president of the World Bank. In the case of Iraq, it was only necessary for Wolfowitz to be the theorist for the rationale behind Bush's war. His theory, it turns out, was not competent either. But he was effective on those 'news' shows with all the talking heads. He had a gift for sounding sincere while not having the foggiest idea what he was talking about.

What Wolfowitz was not known for, before he came to work for Bush, was a little streak of corruption and excessive self-importance. That became evident in the case he made for war in Iraq, a war that makes no sense, a fiasco, a consequence of broad incompetence and recklessness rarely seen in modern industrialized countries. The incompetence of Wolfowitz was little noticed at the time: there was too much incompetence to go around. And the media was overwhelmed by a noise machine coming from the White House and was oblivious to its own incompetence as fairy tale after fairy tale was being spun by the president and his advisers. Wolfowitz, another spectacular example of the Peter Principle in the Bush Administration, moved on to bigger things and became president of the World Bank.

Wolfowitz's self-importance and little streak of corruption grated on people as he waved his finger at them while talking about the need to control corruption. It tends to grate on people when they have to listen to a hypocrite. As Brad DeLong notes, Wolfowitz simply whines that he's being treated unfairly. After all, special people, particularly precious intellectuals for right wing movements, are not quite subject to the same rules as everyone else. One ought to be able to take care of one's girlfriend with a little financial help; or a lot, if one has power which everyone else doesn't. It's jealousy to demand that special people be held to the same rules as everyone else.

Paul Wolfowitz is not expected to last much longer as president of the World Bank.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

". . . special people, particularly precious intellectuals for right wing movements . . ."

Alas, I've come to the conclusion it would be just as accurate to say . . . special people, particularly precious intellectuals for advancing Israel's national security and other interests . . .

9:55 PM  

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