Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 18, 2005

Billmon: Triumph of the Wolfowitz

Caspian Follies...

(This beats The Onion!)

Posted by Jérôme à Paris on March 18, 2005 at 5:44 UTC | Permalink


Just to set the record straight: there isn't that much oil in Turkmenistan, tney mostly have gas. It's possible that there would be enough to make a pipeline viable, but that would cost a few hundred million at most. As the oil would then need to be put into the BTC pipeline about to be put in service (from Azerbaijan to Turkey), an agreement would need to be reached with the (mostly European) oil companies that own it.

Oil is a reality based business. If Halliburton is contracted by Shell, I doubt that there is much abuse...
The probelm is not the oil, it's the abuse of budgets. Iraq money shenanigans are a scandal in as much as it is theft of budgetary funds (both American and Iraqi) by government contractors.

Posted by: Jérôme | Mar 18 2005 5:49 utc | 1

Just postet two links about Wolfowitz on the Peak Open thread, didn't see that this threat was open.

Posted by: Fran | Mar 18 2005 6:29 utc | 2

The Independent:

Bush's 'shocking' choice of Wolfowitz for World Bank provokes outrage

Clare Short, the former international development secretary, described the nomination of the Bush administration's leading neoconservative hawk as the equivalent of sticking up "two fingers to the world". "This is really shocking," she told Channel 4 News. "It's as though they are trying to wreck our international systems."

Posted by: Fran | Mar 18 2005 6:39 utc | 3

Paul Krugman on Wolfowitz The Ugly American Bank

You can say this about Paul Wolfowitz's qualifications to lead the World Bank: He has been closely associated with America's largest foreign aid and economic development project since the Marshall Plan.

I'm talking, of course, about reconstruction in Iraq. Unfortunately, what happened there is likely to make countries distrust any economic advice Mr. Wolfowitz might give.
In fact, economic ideology may explain why U.S. officials didn't move quickly after the fall of Baghdad to hold elections - even though assuring Iraqis that we didn't intend to install a puppet regime might have headed off the insurgency. Jay Garner, the first Iraq administrator, wanted elections as quickly as possible, but the White House wanted to put a "template" in place by privatizing oil and other industries before handing over control.
Where does Mr. Wolfowitz fit into all this? The advice that the World Bank gives is as important as the money it lends - but only if governments take that advice. And given the ideological rigidity the Pentagon showed in Iraq, they probably won't. If Mr. Wolfowitz says that some free-market policy will help economic growth, he'll be greeted with as much skepticism as if he declared that some country has weapons of mass destruction.

Moisés Naím, editor of Foreign Policy, says that the Wolfowitz nomination turns the World Bank into the American Bank. Make that ugly American bank: rightly or not, developing countries will see Mr. Wolfowitz's selection as a sign that we're still trying to impose policies they believe have failed.

Posted by: b | Mar 18 2005 7:20 utc | 4

It reminds me when the USSR used to pretend it was a country just like any other and was still conspicuously treated as the Bear (to reuse Le Carré's vernacular).

No one is going to challenge the US heads on, but they'll be increasingly marginalized until the regime ultimately collapses.

Posted by: Lupin | Mar 18 2005 7:28 utc | 5

That was fun. Looks like either Billmon had a cup of coffee too many today or had a couple of months of writing to let out.

Posted by: Colman | Mar 18 2005 8:13 utc | 6

Europeans Resist Wolfowitz for World Bank
Lack of Consultation, War Role Criticized

And finally something that might catch the attention of the MSM. Well, I guess one is still allowed some little illusions!

Adding fuel to the controversy is concern within the bank staff over Wolfowitz's reported romantic relationship with Shaha Riza, an Arab feminist who works as a communications adviser in the bank's Middle East and North Africa department.

Both divorced, Wolfowitz and Riza have steadfastly declined to talk publicly about their relationship, but they have been regularly spotted at private functions and one source said the two have been dating for about two years. Riza, an Oxford-educated British citizen who was born in Tunisia and grew up in Saudi Arabia, shares Wolfowitz's passion for democratizing the Middle East, according to people who know her.

Bank policy allows spouses and partners to work on the staff as long as neither reports directly to the other, so the Wolfowitz-Riza relationship may not run afoul of those rules. But some staffers, speaking anonymously for fear of offending their prospective boss, said sentiment is running high that the ethics requirements should be stricter in cases involving the chief executive. Through a spokesman, Wolfowitz said in response to a query from The Post: "Needless to say, if a personal relationship presents a potential conflict of interest, I will comply with bank policies to resolve the issue."

Posted by: Fran | Mar 18 2005 9:01 utc | 7

Fran: It's the World Bank, it's not as if it was some important and valuable institution, like, say, Boeing.

Billmon is on fire, that was hysterical. But he should have mentioned it was a fake, otherwise our good buddy Bjorn Snaerk, errr... Staerk, may complain it is misleading the readers.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Mar 18 2005 9:17 utc | 8

Brilliant by Billmon.

I foresee that post doing the rounds.

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Mar 18 2005 9:26 utc | 9

the administration’s "pro-democracy, pro-markets, pro-Caspian oil" message.


Like Jeanne at Body & Soul says, the man's a genius.

Posted by: Ineluctable | Mar 18 2005 11:00 utc | 10

I must say that is award winning reporting over at Whiskey Bar.

Posted by: jdp | Mar 18 2005 12:21 utc | 11

What would we do if we couldn't laugh?

Posted by: beq | Mar 18 2005 12:53 utc | 13

Wolfowitz on fire:

"Fire is not hot... AIIIIIIEEEEE!"

Posted by: Lupin | Mar 18 2005 12:57 utc | 14

Just before this thread started, I put my comments on Wolfowitz at the bottom of the Scenes from the Cultural Revolution thread.

[Does anyone know how to link so that the browser will take you to a particular part fo a thread?]

The more I think about it the more he really does seem like a character from Walker Percy's novels, only with air conditioning.

Posted by: Citizen | Mar 18 2005 14:41 utc | 15

if this nomination is not a clear sign for the ascendancy to power of new world class of criminals, i dont know what is.

i would wish that this would be a sign for the rest of the world to subvert or snuff the US out of their will to do more damage, but i suspect that "everybody else" is in bed with these assholes.

sadly things will have to get a lot worse for many many more people until such a time when absolutely ALL aspects of the gang around wolfowitz, their friends, handlers and partners in crime and other affiliations can be discussed without fear of being shouted down by trolls.

since 2000 i've probably seen more disgusting events in politics than in the considerable longer period of my life before that, and it is only getting worse day after day, week after week, month after month. the scenario is the same everywhere and the similarities and ties between events happening in various geografies defy the notion that all this is merely a big coincidence and not stage managed.

i note that here in MoA most comments tend to be rather short in the last couple of days. is this a sign of the general disgust of the readership besides me ?

Posted by: name | Mar 18 2005 14:56 utc | 16

Name: "since 2000 i've probably seen more disgusting events in politics than in the considerable longer period of my life before that"

I'm not that old, but am still decently good at history, and I'd say that you'd have to go back to the 1933-1945 timeline to find something that could compete with the current disgusting way of things.
(oh, and Goodwin can go Cheney himself)

If other countries had any sense of decency, they would first oppose Wolfie's nomination, and if it came to pass, should simply leave the World Bank and let it rot with the rest of Bush's criminally insane gang. The only international bodies suited for Wolfowitz are the Hague and the ICC.

Beside, what business did this guy ever managed? It's fine to mention Namara went there before, but at leat he bossed Ford before that - he was more unqualified to be Secretary of Defense than to be World Bank preznit.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Mar 18 2005 15:06 utc | 17

Jude Wanniski: Wolfowitz at the World Bank

Posted by: Nugget | Mar 18 2005 15:19 utc | 18

I think the more systematic this fascist crap gets, the more we discover that a word will get you arrested (try saying "bomb" in an airport or "bankrupt" in a low income bracket), the more we realize that we are are being told to be passive, to relax and enjoy it. Whether we decide to fight or give up, there is a necessary moment of quiet disorientation.

Posted by: Citizen | Mar 18 2005 15:19 utc | 19

isn't this nomination actually good news in a way? anything that helps undermine these dubious institutions can't be all bad... is someone actually arguing for their preservation? like the reputation of the WB is going to be sullied by this association? it's the f-ing world bank! i see a silver lining in this. seems to me that it'll be easier to keep the WB in the public consciousness w/ a public figure like wolfie at the helm rather than unknowns. w/ the baggage that he brings to the position, he is a posterboy w/ enormous potential, right? let the sardonic whiskey rebellion continue!

Posted by: b real | Mar 18 2005 15:26 utc | 20

b real,
It's the same kind of good news as when your uncle points the gun at you. extremely clarifying.

Now, take off those clothes.

Posted by: Citizen | Mar 18 2005 15:38 utc | 21

to link to a particular comment you need the commentnumber which you easily get if you enter directly to the comment in question through the commentlist on the main page. If you check the adress it will look something like this:

Then you link as usual. As I now link to your post above

Posted by: A swedish kind of death | Mar 18 2005 16:03 utc | 22

Thanks ASKoD.
And to think all this time I've been clicking on the name of the thread instead of the name of the poster...(what's the emoticon that signals laughter and self-flagellation?)

Can't remember where I got this idea (because it took a bit to grasp), but it dawns on me that Wolfowitz may be just the guy to internationalize our national debt once the Chinese and Japanese give up on us. I'll bet there are a bunch of countries who could be "persuaded" to borrow once more for the Gipper.

Okay, it wouldn't work the same. But remember, these guys only have to keep money flowing to the Halliburtons, not the nation. The nation is an outmoded form of financing for (corporate) personal success. (Corporate) personal freedom must continue its onward march.

Posted by: Citizen | Mar 18 2005 16:27 utc | 23

U.S. Democrats for Wolfowitz

Posted by: One party state | Mar 18 2005 16:37 utc | 24

Okay, I'll try to give it a rest. Thanks for the ears.

Posted by: Citizen | Mar 18 2005 16:39 utc | 25

The WB is a scam. Wolfowitz is perfectly suited to be its head!

He studied mathematics, you know, and then political science or whatever, and along with Cheney is one of the only neo-conners who has some brains (how he uses them is another matter).

I agree with breal - his nomination will serve to undermine the reputation of the WB and will tarnish the vague positive image some hold.

Maybe he will manage to just shunt our money straight to Halliburton and leave poor countries alone. Humm. Unlikely, as indebting the poor by throwing money and authority about, followed by extortion and theats, a putrid bully-on-the-block and small-time-Mafyia tactic, is a vital part of the WB procedure. A core concept, so to speak.

Posted by: Blackie | Mar 18 2005 17:06 utc | 26

I think short comments are a sign that everyone's got to the end of the week and realises how much work is still left to do on account of having been reading blogs all week.

Posted by: Ineluctable | Mar 18 2005 17:14 utc | 27


"...stage managed." This has become so obvious that anyone with half a brain has only to look around and say - hey wait a minute??? This shit doesn't happen from normal greed or stupidity.

One has only to identify the stage manager. (He's hiding.)

Posted by: rapt | Mar 18 2005 17:57 utc | 28

There is more to that Lind article -- a lot more...

Critics are wrong to portray Wolfowitz as a malevolent genius. In fact, he's friendly, soft-spoken, well meaning and thoughtful. He would be the model of a scholar and a statesman but for one fact: He is completely inept. His three-decade career in U.S. foreign policy can be summed up by the term that President Bush coined to describe the war in Iraq that Wolfowitz promoted and helped to oversee: a "catastrophic success."

Even the greatest statesman makes some mistakes. But Wolfowitz is perfectly incompetent. He is the Mozart of ineptitude, the Einstein of incapacity. To be sure, he has his virtues, the foremost of which is consistency. He has been consistently wrong about foreign policy for 30 years.

In the 1970s and 1980s, as a member of the Committee on the Present Danger and "Team B," Wolfowitz and his allies, such as Richard Perle, argued that the decrepit Soviet Union was vastly more powerful than the CIA claimed it was. After the Soviet Union dissolved, it turned out that the CIA had exaggerated Soviet strength.

what frustrates me is Lind's assumption -- perhaps it is consciously sarcastic? -- that Wolfie and the gang have ever been "mistaken". they have LIED. they knew the Soviet strength was grossly exaggerated. they did the exaggerating. they did so to keep the cannibalistic, bloated mil-ind complex alive, to keep the Fear going, to keep siphoning the taxpayer's dollars off into the pockets of their friends and relatives. this is one of the longest running teams of grifters in the biz. Lind is imho being far too charitable in ascribing to incompetence what is better explained by clever greediness. they are laughing at us -- all the way to the bank. all the way to the World Bank in Wolfie's case.

Posted by: DeAnander | Mar 18 2005 18:12 utc | 29

Don't deposit Wolfowitz with us, plead World Bank workers

Posted by: Nugget | Mar 19 2005 5:33 utc | 30

from Nugget's linked article

"It's much easier to politicise grants," an official said. "Loans have to be economically feasible."

Posted by: | Mar 19 2005 6:07 utc | 31

me above.

Posted by: Citizen | Mar 19 2005 6:10 utc | 32

@CluelessJoe I think you meant Godwin?

something puzzles me. Wolfi, neocon, Likudnik, etc. has Arab girlfriend? how does Arab girlfriend manage to overlook his cheerleading for the Occupation? or are the Palestinians despised by the upper-class Oxford-educated Arab elite?

Posted by: DeAnander | Mar 19 2005 6:34 utc | 33

[Does anyone know how to link so that the browser will take you to a particular part fo a thread?]

New feature now - below each comment is a # that is a link to that comment.

Posted by: b | Mar 19 2005 9:40 utc | 34

De: Yep, make that Godwin then. I forgot the exact spelling - as if I ever cared.
I suppose Wolfie's Arab girlfriend is a Christian. Or she's stupidly delusional. Any feminist should oppose Bush's Middle East policies. They have to understand he is NOT out there to destroy Islamism. If he actually were I would show a bit of support for that (I didn't mind the crushing of Talibans and rooting out of Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, as such, but the rest of the policies there and turning the country into a puppet pisses me off to no end, as the fact that Bush is just letting it rot as the world did after Soviet's withdrawal). He's just there out to impose his own rule, and for the last 50 years, this has meant supporting islamist nutcases at every turn and undermining secular and socialist regimes. Wolfie's girlfriend can't be braindead to the point she can't notice the obvious: for all its crimes, Saddam's regime was one of the fairest - if you prefer, one of the less odious - to women of the whole area. Saddam was far better for women than the current situation where they go into hiding, are gangbanged, have to wear veil if not the whole chador thingie, and will soon be legally half-man, and possibly stoned to death.

Posted by: CluelessJoe | Mar 19 2005 15:28 utc | 35

Two questions bubble to the surface of my still laughin' brain after reading Billmon's longfastforward reportage....

1) How do we know UncleDick isn't cyber/animatronic right now (seem to remember some body parts looking that way in those pre-election gravitis shots*).

2) Just who was that lonewolf Sen who kept starting those filibusters that resulted in all that DemoClottedCreme?

*unless, of course, it was all just a case of that old Harry Shearer in Spinal Tap at the Airport type deal involving tinfoil that wasn't a hat.

Posted by: RossK | Mar 20 2005 9:04 utc | 36

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