Dual Loyalties

My opinion on the people who shape our world

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Paul Wolfowitz has new goal, to head World Bank

Paul Wolfowitz has new goal, to head World Bank: "Paul Wolfowitz has new goal, to head World Bank

Big News Network.com Wednesday 2nd March, 2005

Paul Wolfowitz, the man many credit with leading the U.S. into the war in Iraq, is now being groomed by the Bush administration for a major international post.

The White House wants Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld's deputy secretary of defense, to head the World Bank.

Australian James Wolfensohn's term runs out on May 31 and the White House National Security Council and the Council of Economic Advisers are pushing for Wolfowitz to replace him.

Wolfowitz, along with others in the Bush administration long harbored aspirations for the United States to take over Iraq, from at least the 1990s.

Within hours of the September 11 attacks Wolfowitz was jockeying to implicate Iraq. Richard Clarke, who headed up counterterrorism in the Bush administration, quickly summised al-Qaeda was responsible for the attacks. After snatching a brief sleep after working into the early hours of September 12 he returned to the West Wing of the White House expecting meetings about possible follow-up attacks, and the nation's vulnerabilities. "Instead I walked into a series of discussions about Iraq," he said.

"At first I was incredulous that we were talking about something other than getting al-Quaeda," Clarke said. "Then I realized, with almost a sharp physical pain that Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz were going to try and take advantage of this national tragedy to promote their agenda about Iraq."

"Since the beginning of this administration, indeed well before, they had been pressing for a war with Iraq. My friends in the Pentagon had been telling me that the word was we would be invading Iraq sometime in 2002," said Clarke.

"On the morning of the 12th (September) DOD's focus was already beginning to shift from al-Qaeda. CIA was explicit now that al-Qaeda was guilty of the attacks, but Paul Wolfowitz was not persuaded. It was too sophisticated and complicated an operation, he said, for a terrorist group to have pulled off by itself, without a state sponsor - Iraq must have been helping them."

Clarke said he had a flashback to Wolfowitz saying the very same thing in April when the administration had finally held its first deputy secretary level meeting on terrorism. "When I had urged action on al-Qaeda then, Wolfowitz had harked back to the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, saying al-Qaeda could not have done that alone and must have had help from Iraq. The focus on al-Qaeda was wrong, he had said in April, we must go after Iraqi-sponsored terrorism."

"He had rejected my assertion and CIA's," said Clarke, "that there had been no Iraqi-sponsored terrorism against the United States since 1993."

By the afternoon of the 12th, Secretary Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz's boss, was talking about broadening the objectives of the U.S.'s response to "getting Iraq."

Clarke says he was backed by Colin Powell who urged a focus on al-Qaeda. Clarke says he told Powell, "I thought I was missing something there. Having been attacked by al-Qaeda, for us now to go bombing Iraq in response would be like our invading Mexico after the Japanese attacked us at Pearl Harbour." Powell's response, said Clarke, was, "It's not over yet."

Indeed it wasn't. Later in the day Secretary Rumsfeld complained there were no decent targets for bombing in Afghanistan and that, "we should consider bombing Iraq, which has better targets."

Wolfowitz was sworn in on March 2, 2001 as the 28th Deputy Secretary of Defense, his third tour of duty in the Pentagon. He previously served under Dick Cheney. As Clarke says he was not even in office a month before he was promoting his Iraq agenda.

Wolfowitz's intentions on Iraq can be traced at least as far back as January 1998 when he and others, including Rumsfeld, John Bolton, Elliott Abrams, Richard Armitage, Paula Dobriansky, Francis Fukuyama, Zalmay Khalilzad, Peter W. Rodman, Robert B. Zoellick, and Richard Perle, all current or former members of the Bush administration, wrote to then-President Clinton urging him to overthrow Saddam Hussein.

"We are writing you because we are convinced that current American policy toward Iraq is not succeeding, and that we may soon face a threat in the Middle East more serious than any we have known since the end of the Cold War," they told Clinton.

"The policy of “containment” of Saddam Hussein has been steadily eroding over the past several months. As recent events have demonstrated, we can no longer depend on our partners in the Gulf War coalition to continue to uphold the sanctions or to punish Saddam when he blocks or evades UN inspections. Our ability to ensure that Saddam Hussein is not producing weapons of mass destruction, therefore, has substantially diminished. Even if full inspections were eventually to resume, which now seems highly unlikely, experience has shown that it is difficult if not impossible to monitor Iraq’s chemical and biological weapons production. The lengthy period during which the inspectors will have been unable to enter many Iraqi facilities has made it even less likely that they will be able to uncover all of Saddam’s secrets. As a result, in the not-too-distant future we will be unable to determine with any reasonable level of confidence whether Iraq does or does not possess such weapons," they said in their January 1998 letter.

"Such uncertainty will, by itself, have a seriously destabilizing effect on the entire Middle East. It hardly needs to be added that if Saddam does acquire the capability to deliver weapons of mass destruction, as he is almost certain to do if we continue along the present course, the safety of American troops in the region, of our friends and allies like Israel and the moderate Arab states, and a significant portion of the world’s supply of oil will all be put at hazard. As you have rightly declared, Mr. President, the security of the world in the first part of the 21st century will be determined largely by how we handle this threat."

"Given the magnitude of the threat, the current policy, which depends for its success upon the steadfastness of our coalition partners and upon the cooperation of Saddam Hussein, is dangerously inadequate," they continued. "The only acceptable strategy is one that eliminates the possibility that Iraq will be able to use or threaten to use weapons of mass destruction. In the near term, this means a willingness to undertake military action as diplomacy is clearly failing. In the long term, it means removing Saddam Hussein and his regime from power. That now needs to become the aim of American foreign policy."

"We urge you to articulate this aim, and to turn your Administration's attention to implementing a strategy for removing Saddam's regime from power. This will require a full complement of diplomatic, political and military efforts. Although we are fully aware of the dangers and difficulties in implementing this policy, we believe the dangers of failing to do so are far greater. We believe the U.S. has the authority under existing UN resolutions to take the necessary steps, including military steps, to protect our vital interests in the Gulf. In any case, American policy cannot continue to be crippled by a misguided insistence on unanimity in the UN Security Council."

"We urge you to act decisively. If you act now to end the threat of weapons of mass destruction against the U.S. or its allies, you will be acting in the most fundamental national security interests of the country. If we accept a course of weakness and drift, we put our interests and our future at risk, said Wolfowitz and his associates.

In March 2003, less than eighteen months after September 11, Wolfowitz and others in the Bush administartion achieved their long-held goal when the United States invaded Iraq. There have been 1,671 coalition troop deaths, 1,499 Americans, 86 Britons, seven Bulgarians, one Dane, two Dutch, two Estonians, one Hungarian, 20 Italians, one Kazakh, one Latvian, 17 Poles, one Salvadoran, three Slovaks, 11 Spaniards, two Thai and 17 Ukrainians as at March 1 2005. In addition, more than 100,000 Iraqis have died, and as with coalition troop deaths, almost all those killed have died violent, horrific deaths. The U.S. has spent or committed hundreds of billions of dollars, far in excess of the entire cost of the Vietnam War, in first devastating the country, and then in post-war reconstruction. Numerous kidnappings, beheadings, bombings of institutions such as the Red Cross and the United Nations, assassinations, and the indiscriminate killing of international peacekeepers have all become part of the landscape as a U.S.-led force of 136,000 now battles to contain insurgents that range in number from 7,000 to 17,000, according to Pentagon estimates.

It would be ironic if Wolfowitz was now appointed to lead the World Bank, a large part of the role being to assist in the funding and redevelopment of post-war Iraq, all of which he was largely responsible for bringing about the need for."