Paul Wolfowitz: Anatomy of a Scandal

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Part of the Bush administration’s M.O. is promoting those who screw things up, as long as the ideology of their screw-ups is sufficiently conservative. Case in point: Paul Wolfowitz, one of the major architects of the Iraq War, who went on to become president of the World Bank. Did you think he would lose his ideological zealotry? No, dear reader. Despite his claims to the contrary yesterday on NPR, Wolfowitz, through a managing director he hired himself, pushed the World Bank to purge any references to family planning—which has long been part of the World Bank’s standard development plan—in its strategy documents.

Wolfowitz is also in hot water at the bank because he promoted his “companion” into a State Department position that paid almost $200,000—some $60,000 more than she had earned previously. Wolfowitz is divorced. How, you might wonder, could anybody date this guy?

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That is a question I cannot answer. But I can tell you that the woman who does so is an Arab feminist who shares Wolfowitz’s passion for bringing democracy to the Middle East—by hook or by crook, apparently, since she was part of the reason he was so hell-bent on invading Iraq. Possible translation: Wolfie led the United States into war with Iraq to butter up his girlfriend.

He has apologized for his role in landing her the plum job, but claims he didn’t understand the ethics rules fully. That seems to be a chronic problem.

Updated to reflect that Wolfowitz and the woman in question, Shaha Riza, are still together, and that Riza’s new salary constituted a hefty raise.

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