Pity poor Paul Wolfowitz. Even as current World Bank President, he's still remembered less for his corrupt hiring practices than as the "architect of the Iraq War." That's a mighty burden for anyone to bear, being the architect of what may go down as the United States's most stupid war ever: no threat, no provocation, no plan (hey and we've waged some dumb ones...remember the invasion of Grenada to "liberate" the medical students?).
Of course, Wolfowitz has a long history of political blundering, but all of it has been in the service of expanding the military-industrial complex and asserting a "we'll bring you democracy even if it kills you" foreign policy. Wolfowitz opposed the Nixon Administration's pursuit of "detente" with the Soviet Union. After all, it's hard to justify continuous expansion of military contracts when you're moving back from the brink. As bagman for Senator Henry Jackson -- who was himself a bagman for Boeing -- Wolfowitz worked to "massage" intelligence data to inflate the Soviet threat and justify continued overspending on military contracts.
Sound familiar? Fast forward to 2001, and it's Wolfowitz leading the charge to massage Iraq intelligence data to justify a completely unjustified invasion. For a decade, Hussein had been hamstrung in his own country: the northern and southern thirds of his country designated "no-fly zones," his imports and expenditures under intense scrutiny, and the subject of occasional bombings, ostensibly against military facilities, from US forces. So it's hard to conjure up a threat from such a pitiable, weakened dictator, whose best days -- the heady days when the Reagan Administration poured millions into the dictator's coffers and provided logistical support for his chemical attacks and Rumsfeld cozied up to him -- were long behind him.
So you have to give Wolfowitz incredible credit, for being such a magician. Sure, not everyone was fooled, and hundreds of thousands marched against the trumped-up war to no avail, but the "architect of the Iraq War" spread his vision of jubilant Iraqis dancing in the street and throwing flowers at the feet of the invading US soldiers, and the US press, the Congress, and most of the public ate it up like it was the best damn apple pie ever baked.
It's hard even to say that he lied, because a lie would mean he understood how utterly deluded he was. Unfortunately, the neocon outlook is so hopelessly ungrounded in reality, so simplified and myopic in its range, that I would argue Wolfowitz actually believed that a US invasion would cause "spontaneous uprisings" against Saddam Hussein and that Iraq -- in the wake of a power vacuum mind you -- would suddenly blossom into a working democracy. These are the morons in charge of foreign policy in the United States.
Now, as head of the World Bank, at least for a little longer, Wolfowitz, a man who claimed as his personal World Bank agenda a crusade against corruption, can't understand how arranging promotions and pay raises for his girlfriend can be seen as corruption...Sure it's not the multimillions skimming corruption of third world dictators, but when you're emphasizing running everything above the board, even taking a free lunch looks bad.
But don't be too sad for poor Paul Wolfowitz, a man who's brought death and destruction to so many. As it has in the past, Johns Hopkins University will probably open its doors to him should he want to return to academia, and there's always the next change in the political winds waiting to carry random pieces of trash to loftier resting places...