Friday, April 13, 2007

Wolfowitz whirl at World Bank may be winding down

Paul Wolfowitz, whose incompetence as a Defense Department deputy was absolutely scandalous, apparently is not performing any better as head of the World Bank.

The bank's board is trying to figure out what to do with him and his own employees are booing him. The Guardian reports:

The unprecedented events, amid calls for his resignation, were the latest twist in the saga that saw Mr Wolfowitz yesterday repeatedly apologise for his role in arranging a promotion and pay rises for his partner, in possible violation of bank rules.

Mr Wolfowitz's position was further undermined by a tepid response from the Treasury, which deals with the bank for the US government. Asked if the Treasury had confidence in Mr Wolfowitz, a senior official said: "There is a mechanism in place, and I am going to allow that mechanism to work rather than inject myself into the middle of it."

Calls mounted for his resignation after revelations this week that Mr Wolfowitz personally intervened to secure a substantial pay rise - from $132,660 to $193,590, tax free - for his girlfriend Shaha Riza, a bank employee, when Mr Wolfowitz was first appointed president in 2005. Bank rules forbid couples from working together....

Mr Wolfowitz wrote a memo to the bank's head of human resources detailing salary increases for Ms Riza - contradicting earlier claims that the matter was dealt with by others.

Meanwhile, in Iraq, the war Wolfowitz helped create isn't going so well, either. The New York Times:

BAGHDAD, April 12 — A suicide bomber wearing an explosive vest struck deep inside the heavily fortified International Zone on Thursday, killing eight people when he detonated inside the Parliament building just a few feet from the main chamber.

In a separate and in some ways equally traumatic attack early in the day, a truck bomb destroyed the beloved, 60-year-old Sarafiya bridge across the Tigris and killed six people. The heavily traveled bridge has long been a symbol of Baghdad, illustrated on old postcards and drawings of the city from a more peaceful time.

The attack on the Parliament was the worst bombing to take place in the International Zone since the protected area was established four years ago, when it was known as the Green Zone. At a time when Iraqis are increasingly questioning the government’s ability to protect them, the bombing raised the troubling possibility that it cannot even fully protect itself, although it is at the wellspring of American and Iraqi military power in the city.

It isn't surprising that someone who used a war to shower cash on friendly corporations would use a job at a bank to shower cash on a friendly woman.

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