Friday, May 18, 2007

One Gone and Gonzo Going

It took a crowbar, but Paul Wolfowitz is gone.

And in spite of his recent smirky confidence and solid belief in the divine right bestowed by God upon Geo. w. Bsh, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is up next.

The Wolfowitz drama got big play given the fact it involved the World Bank, which nobody cares about.

Make no mistake, l’affaire Wolfowitz was not about the World Bank anymore than l’affaire Gonzales has to do with the American legal community and the thug who sits atop it.

This is about an end to “The Bush Way,” and journalists who lacked the backbone or executive support for taking on this bunch, say, four years ago, are now beating the drums of departure a full 20 months before the second term that never truly started is over.

Steven Weisman of the “New York Times,” profiles Wolfowitz during tandem tenures at the Department of Defense and World Bank as a guy who adopted, “a single-minded position on certain matters, refusing to entertain alternative views, marginalizing dissenters.”

That’s what highwayscribery means by The Bush Way (in case you hadn’t caught on yet).

It seems that Wolfowitz, who wanted to “redeem” himself (Wiesman’s words) following the policy faux paus known as the Iraq war, had “bitter complaints about the bureaucracy, saying it was the worst he’d ever seen, worse than the Pentagon.”

To translate for those still unschooled in the Bushian lexicon: the bureaucracy are the people that work there and resist administration policy goals through established and certified processes.

Manish Bapna, executive director off the Bank Information Center, is quoted by Weisman as saying, “His style was seen as an ad hoc subjective approach to punishing enemies and rewarding friends.”

Sound familiar?

When some guy there resisted suggestions the World Bank establish a “greater presence” in Iraq, the administration’s pet project, Wolfowitz had him transferred to Kazakhstan.

Before “Borat” was released.

Another friend observed that, Wolfowitz didn’t want to redeem his screw-ups on the Iraq war so much as, “[H]e was looking for something to do as a great man in foreign policy, which is how he has always seen himself.”

Baby-boomer in power.

Be careful how you act in life, your friends might find themselves talking about, “he,” “he,” and “himself,” which is not the word-portrait a good public servant wants attached to “him.”

Unless, of course, upon your arrival at a big job you should mimic Wolfowitz who, “wanted to write a book about Iraq and accept fees for speeches,” which set off his first fight with ethics officers who had a problem with his “policy for profit” motive.

What’s up with these foreign bureaucracies? Don’t they know government service is something you (ka-ching!) cash-in on once bounced for doing a bad job?

Wolfowitz also had a clash with the general counsel at World Bank who he "refused to deal with." That’s the lawyer who represents the institution in all things legal and what Bushie cares about that?

Said the general counsel of Wolfowitz, “He presumes that anyone who opposes him is incompetent or corrupt.”

And so on. He brought in two neoCon aides to do his heavy lifting (and dropping), bypassing the people already in place to do those jobs; very much the way he helped establish an “Iraq Study Group” inside the Pentagon to replace the Group that Studies Iraq already in place (inside the Pentagon).

He suspended financing to Uzbekistan because they wouldn’t let the administration use its air space on the way to kill people with fighter jets.

This is the usual vindictive stuff practiced by the guy at the top, because no matter what you have at the top, you’ll find it mirrored at all levels of government and in the society around you.

So don’t look up.

Meanwhile, the smug attorney general who, last week, “deflected” congressional inquiries, seemingly bolstered by numerous press reports he had “weathered the storm,” awoke to new clouds on the horizon.

It was quite a shock the Democrats had another card up their sleeve, and usually is for an administration that has no purpose for Congress and has studied it even less than it has the military history of Iraq.

The Democrats, with the help of certain Republicans, are now going to go for a “no confidence” vote and should have no problem not finding the confidence.

Laurie Kellman’s Associated Press article has the White House dismissing the move out-of-hand as “symbolic,” which is true, yet fails to wrest importance from the fact we don’t get “no confidence” votes in the U.S. Congress very often.

And then, of course, there’s the tiny matter of the vote coming from the same people who confirmed you in the first place.

What got the ball rolling again was testimony by a Department of Justice official who said Gonzales and former White House Chief of Staff Andy Card went to the hospital bed of former Attorney General John Ashcroft so he would sign-off on their illegal domestic spy program.

Very civil.

Ashcroft, who looks like a paragon of enlightenment alongside his successor, said it was illegal and wouldn’t sign, so they went ahead and did it anyway. When you’re running the government’s legal department, legalities and niceties are interchangeable.

Anyway, Sen. Norm Coleman, a Republican from Minnesota had this to say: “I would hope that the attorney general understands that the department is suffering right now, and he does the right thing, and that is, allows the president to provide new leadership.”

Get out your crowbar senator. These guys don’t go easily...

...but they are going.

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