More Con Than Neo
By MAUREEN DOWD
April 14, 2007
Wolfie in love is no less deceptive and bumbling than Wolfie at war.
Usually, spring in Washington finds us caught up in the cherry
blossoms and the ursine courtship rituals of the pandas.
But this chilly April, we are forced to contemplate the batrachian
grapplings of Paul Wolfowitz, the man who cherry-picked intelligence
to sell us a war with Iraq.
You will not be surprised to learn, gentle readers, that Wolfie in
love is no less deceptive and bumbling than Wolfie at war.
Proving he is more con than neo, he confessed that he had not been
candid with his staff at the World Bank. While he was acting holier
than thou, demanding incorruptibility from poor countries desperate
for loans, he was enriching his girlfriend with tax-free ducats.
He has yet to admit any real mistakes with the hellish war that
claimed five more American soldiers yesterday, as stunned Baghdad
residents dealt with bombings of the Iraqi Parliament, where body
parts flew, and of a bridge over the Tigris, where cars sank.
But he admitted Thursday that he'd made a mistake when he got his
sweetheart, Shaha Ali Riza, an Arab feminist who shares his passion
for democratizing the Middle East, a raise to $193,590 — more than the
taxpaying (and taxing) Condi Rice makes. No doubt it seemed like small
change compared with the money pit of remaking Iraq — a task he once
prophesied would be paid for with Iraqi oil money. Maybe he should
have remunerated his girlfriend with Iraqi oil revenues, instead of
ripping off the bank to advance his romantic agenda.
No one is satisfied with his apology. Not the World Bank employees who
booed Wolfie and yelled, "Resign! Resign!" in the bank lobby. Not
Alison Cave, the chairwoman of the bank's staff association, who said
that Mr. Wolfowitz must "act honorably and resign."
Not his girlfriend, who says she's the suffering victim, forced by
Wolfie's arrival to be sent to the State Department (where, in a
festival of nepotism, she reported to Liz Cheney).
And not his critics, who say Wolfie has been cherry-picking again,
this time with his anticorruption crusade. They say he has used it to
turn the bank into a tool for his unrealistic democracy campaign,
which foundered in Baghdad, and for punishing countries that defy the
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