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Wolfowitz on His Way to World Bank

The consensus seems to be that Wolfowitz is on his way to being approved for the World Bank job, as reported in this Washington Post article. Actually I would not object to his appointment if he had not been an architect of the pre-emptive war in Iraq. Arguably there is the McNamara precedent — the Vietnam War chief who went on to lead the World Bank. Whether McNamara was a great bank president or not is moot; he didn’t destroy the institution. But the main issue is one of tone, and this is a different generation and a different war. The US more or less backed into the Vietnam war one escalation at a time at the invitation of the South Vietnamese government, which needed support to fight off the Communist north. We went full bore into Iraq for regime change, to overthrow the government, not to support an existing government. Lots of things we did in Vietnam may have been worse than things we have done in Iraq, but it was different. (I speak defensively as a Vietnam veteran.)

By invading Iraq contrary to the wishes of the world community as expressed in the UN, and for reasons that turned out to be wrong, i.e., the famous missing weapons of mass destruction, we turned the international, multilateral system on its head under Wolfowitz’ leadership. Now he is off to be one of the leaders of that multilateral system. For me, that does not compute. Like Bolton at the UN, Wolfowitz will be the fox in the hen house. America is out to destroy the post-World War II system established by Roosevelt, Churchill, and company, including Stalin and Truman. Midgets are undoing the work of giants.

The US has never discussed how many Iraqis were killed, and continue to be killed, as a result of the war, but it’s a lot, certainly tens of thousands, although how many tens is hard to know. In any case, Wolfowitz has a lot of blood on his hands. I thought it was interesting that when PBS had a debate about Wolfowitz’ appointment, his main defender was Jewish, former Middle East negotiator Dennis Ross, who incidentally works for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy founded by former US Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk, an Australian Jew like current World Bank President Wolfensohn. And today, an op-ed in the New York Times supporting Wolfowitz was written by another Jew, James Rubin, who used to be the spokesman for the State Department and whose current claim to fame is being married to CNN correspondent Christianne Amanpour. I would be more convinced of Wolfowitz’ virtues if some well-known, politically moderate gentiles were to speak on his behalf, and if they were to say not just that he would not destroy the institution, but that he would actually be good for it.

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