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Wolfowitz: A Danger to Poor Countries

Paul Wolfowitz, who was appointed by President Bush to head the World Bank, should resign. Not because he gave a huge raise to his girlfriend (which was definitely unethical). Not because he was one of the architects of the Iraq War (which caused cataclysmic horrors). But because instead of being a friend to poor countries, he is a danger to them.

He is a danger especially to women:

Under beleaguered President Paul D. Wolfowitz, the World Bank may be scaling back its long-standing support for family planning, which many countries consider essential to women's health and the fight against AIDS.

In an internal e-mail, the bank's team leader for Madagascar indicated that one of two managing directors appointed by Wolfowitz ordered the removal of all references to family planning from a document laying out strategy for the African nation. And a draft of the bank's long-term health program strategy overseen by the same official makes almost no mention of family planning, suggesting a wider rollback may be underway.

Imagine that you are a woman in subsaharan Africa, with 5 kids, and your family income is $2 a day. In addition you have HIV and you are pregnant. You look with foreboding at the prospect of having another child. How would you feed it? And if the child is infected with HIV where would you get medicine? It's almost impossible to get medicine for yourself. What would you do with another HIV sufferer to take care of?

You did not want to get pregnant. You had no idea that there was a way to prevent it. Maybe you heard rumors about birth control, but the whole idea was preposterous to you. You are stuck with miserable living conditions, forced into another pregnancy and close to despair.

Enter the World Bank as savior. Up to now it has been offering family planning services to avoid such tragedies you have been imagining. The article refered to above says:

The current policy paper refers to family planning at least 23 times, repeatedly identifying it as a fundamental tool for tackling poverty and disease.

However, Bush has different ideas. As soon as he got into office, he cut all foreign-aid funds for contraceptives, birth control and family planning. Probably, when he appointed Paul Wolfowitz to the World Bank the president expected him to cut all family planning services performed by the World Bank as well. Wolfowitz did not let the president down. But he let down all the poor people in poor countries.

Like George W. Bush, Paul D. Wolfowitz is a danger to the health and economy of poor countries. He should resign.

Posted by Paul Siegel at April 19, 2007 5:40 PM
Comments
Comment #217667

He should not resign. His skin’s melanin should be altered before he’s dropped naked over a random african nation.

Nothing better than learning from experience.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 19, 2007 6:16 PM
Comment #217668

By altered, I mean boosted, obviously. I don’t want him to suffer from sunburns.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 19, 2007 6:18 PM
Comment #217672

Paul:

“Paul Wolfowitz, who was appointed by President Bush to head the World Bank, should resign. Not because he gave a huge raise to his girlfriend (which was definitely unethical). Not because he was one of the architects of the Iraq War (which caused cataclysmic horrors). But because instead of being a friend to poor countries, he is a danger to them.”

Frankly, I don’t give a damn if he resigns “to spend more time with his family.” Just so he leaves.

Posted by: Tim Crow at April 19, 2007 6:26 PM
Comment #217685

Tim Crow:
“Frankly, I don’t give a damn if he resigns “to spend more time with his family.” Just so he leaves.”

Agreed. Doesn’t matter at this point what pathetic excuse they choose to make up. Just get rid of that crooked idiot.

Posted by: Adrienne at April 19, 2007 7:26 PM
Comment #217708

Is this a comedy? Because honestly, it reads like a mockery of condescending liberal ideas about the supposed stupidity and helplessness of poor third world citizens. And of the necessity for Big Brother to do all their thinking for them.

You did not want to get pregnant. You had no idea that there was a way to prevent it. Maybe you heard rumors about birth control, but the whole idea was preposterous to you. You are stuck with miserable living conditions, forced into another pregnancy and close to despair.

Enter the World Bank as savior.

Hilarious.

No idea that there is any way to prevent getting pregnant? Perhaps they don’t even know how to GET pregnant and the World Bank needs to teach them that too? The implicit racism of these assumptions is breath-taking, and that’s before we’ve even asked why it should be the job of a BANK to teach family planning to anybody.

Also, the accusations about Wolfowitz’s girlfriend are nothing but a smear.

He had actually tried to recuse himself from making any decisions related to his girlfriend, but the World’s Bank ethics commitee FORCED him to do so. She then had to transfer jobs because of this conflict of interest and the ethics commitee’s TOLD Wolfowitz to compensate her with a raise to compensate her for this blow to her career.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at April 19, 2007 9:35 PM
Comment #217735

The biggest problem facing poor countries is corruption. Wolfowitz wants the bank to address that. The corrupt are never happy to taken off the gravy train. They are screaming.

Re his girlfriend - if you look at the whole story (even as reported by NPR) he disclosed the relationship before he took the job and as LO says, she was compensated for losing her career. It was probably not a good idea for him to do that, but it is not a big deal.

You might question it in the same way you would question Plame helping Wilson get a job. After you have the explanation, you say that it was unwise, but not dishonest.

Posted by: Jack at April 19, 2007 11:10 PM
Comment #217745

The irony here is that Wolfowitz is being trashed (and even admitted that it was mistake on his part) for doing exactly what the ethics committee TOLD him to do after he made full disclosure of his potential conflict of interest. He did what they told him to do, and now they want to burn him for it.

Sometimes you just can’t win.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at April 20, 2007 12:05 AM
Comment #217753

blh balh blah

Posted by: joe at April 20, 2007 1:33 AM
Comment #217758

That’s right Jack, and Loyal, Wolfowitz did nothing truly wrong. That must be why:
Bank divided as deputy tells Wolfowitz to go

Few quotes from the link:

The civil war inside the World Bank reached the point of no return this week when one of Paul Wolfowitz’s two deputies called on him to go at a meeting of top bank managers.

Trouble is though, Neocons seem incapable of recognizing a civil war.

Moments beforehand, the bank president had tried to reach out to his top team, offering to change his management style. But Mr Wheeler’s call made it clear that the divisions within the bank are now too deep to be bridged by an overture of this kind.

Mr. Wheeler is likely afraid that Wolfowitz’s chasm-bridging “change of management” overture would end up becoming too much like “The Surge.” (Kinda like the ‘1812 Overture’ sequence with all that cannon fire…)

For the bank to return to any kind of normalcy, either Mr Wolfowitz and his inner circle, or Mr Wheeler and many other officials at all ranks critical of the bank president, will have to go.

In the forefront of the rebellion against Mr Wolfowitz are career bank staffers and people appointed by his predecessor, Jim Wolfensohn.

Mr Wolfowitz still has his loyalists, in particular at senior ranks. About half the bank’s vice-presidents were brought in or appointed to that rank by Mr Wolfowitz, and most of these remain sympathetic to him.

Ah loyalty — the more the scandals change, the more they stay the same. Heckuvajob Wolfy!

Well now, this is quite a tough call here…
Let’s see, on the one hand we’ve got Bushie-Loyal Inner Circle headed by the guy who was the architect of the Iraq War, who also gave his girlfriend such a gigantic raise that she made more a year than Condi Rice, and on the other we’ve got Career Bank Staffers and Everybody Else…

Hmmm. In this game of Jeopardy, I think I’ll go with ‘Career Bank Staffers and Everybody Else’ for a thousand, Alec.

Whoa, It’s the Daily Double!:

Because the Bush administration is imploding from self-inflicted scandals and corruption.

My reply:
Why would Bush draw up a list of candidates to replace Wolfowitz?

Hey I won. No wait, we all win! :^)

Posted by: Adrienne at April 20, 2007 1:54 AM
Comment #217760

LO,

Sometimes you just can’t win.

Then lost and move on.
Do that in Iraq War too, another Wolfowitz’s great idea that he “just” don’t win, “sometimes”.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 20, 2007 2:00 AM
Comment #217794

Another ethically challenged corrupt Bushie creep preaching against corruption while secretly dabbling in the same. I wonder is there anyone directly associated with this administration that in the end will be able to escape the lack of integrity personna.

Posted by: ILdem at April 20, 2007 9:54 AM
Comment #217828

Nepotism, cronyism, and incompetence has defined this Whitehouse and continues to do so. Their behaviour in Africa has been nothing short of disgraceful.

You would have to go back to the Grant adiministration to find a more corrupt administration than this one - and Grant was a better president.

Posted by: Tom Snediker at April 20, 2007 1:15 PM
Comment #217849

Adrienne:

Whoa, It’s the Daily Double!

You’re in rare form, my dear.:-)

Posted by: Tim Crow at April 20, 2007 2:51 PM
Comment #217966

Jack, you are leaving out critical facts in your effort to flame. Such as the massive amounts of cash Bush is showering on the Anti Aids fight in Africa. You also don’t seem to be much up on the details of the Wolfowitz story.

To me, your post was so devoid of critical details to the various issues and so carefully crafted to inflame that it held little value except to say: ‘I have a need to flame”.

The poor countries of the world are typically poor because of their own corrupt leadership. Not because we didn’t shower enough welfare dollars on them to make them rich. Global economic questions are complicated and not easily resolved because the problems often reside in the brutal corruption and mismanagement of the nation in question by it’s own leaders.

I think your post trivializes the issue of the poor nations in an effort to smear someone not in your political party…..and does nothing to elevate our understanding of why they are poor and downtrodden and what it will really take to help them through of the bonds that are really keeping them down.

Posted by: StephenL at April 21, 2007 11:26 AM
Comment #218109

Fact:
Wolfowitz is responsible alone in giving his girlfriend the big pay raise. He went above the bank’s board recommendation.

Fact:
The board did nothing after Wolfowitz gave the huge raise.

Fact:
42 of the bank’s former senior executive signed an open letter asking him to step down

Jack, you are absolutely right! Corruption IS the biggest problem in the poor countries.
You know what else?
Right at this moment, World Bank managers all around the world are being laughed at by the government officials of these corrupt countries.
How could these managers preach good governance if their own leader failed to do so?

It is now not enough to have Wolfowitz to resign his post. His resignation will be just the first step. The World Bank needs to evaluate its governance and make some changes to restore its credibility.

What does the whole debacle say about Wolfowitz anyway? He’s such a good leader that he’s not willing to step down after his actions compromised the whole organization?


Posted by: Camelia at April 22, 2007 10:55 PM
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