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13 April 2007

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Dale Krause

Re Wolfowitz: Strong words but justified, both on the part of the FT and yourself.

confusedponderer

I agree on Wolfie being a war criminal by the Nuremberg standards. The US had no basis in international law for invading Iraq. The Iraq war was a war of agression initiated by the US. Period. Everyone who sais otherwise is either on opium, or a hack making a brazen case contra legem (the Gonzo/Yoo school).

So I can't help feel glee, even though him being held accountable for his war crimes would be more fitting. The legality of the war in Iraq is too inconvenient a topic -- the US leadership, guilty after Nuremberg standards? Let's rather go to something completely different.... It illustrates the state of politics in the US today -- if Wolfowitz falls, he falls not for his sins and crimes, but for his follies.

I remember someone saying, can't remember who it was: "You'll never meet a poor neoconservative."

They're entitled all these goodies, just ask them. The way Wolfowitz enriched his g/f, or put his buddies in top positions at the world bank, is just the Beltway SOP. The seeming normality and banality of the affair is IMO the true scandal.

rick

Le pauvre, pauvre Wolfie...You gin up all kinds of lies to start a disaster of a war, you give you girlfriend a raise that is more than the $46,326 median income of Americans without getting it approved by the board, you throw the world bank into chaos and tick off the entire career staff...and suddenly you are a bad guy.

Life is so unfair...

tequila

Par for the course that he does not have the honor to resign once his hand was caught in the cookie jar, instead fobbing it off on the "board".

I guess he and Ms. Riza will have to do their featherbedding at AEI in the near future.

Guam guy

Col. Lang,

War criminal indeed. One of the most depressing aspects of the Neocon's "splendid little war" in Iraq is the liklihood that the war criminals responsible for it will escape any personal consequences for their role in the debacle. I agree that hanging, not firing, is the appropriate punishment for Wolfie.

Pudentilla

Powerful people have been using the privileges of power to enrich their friends since the sun rose over the first polis.

But black folks and women having the political and economic power to insist that they, not aging white guys, get to define what they find insulting - that might be a first.

By now, only the most confirmed of kook-aid drinkers could pretend to be surprised by the news that a GWB appointee is corrupt. The only unsettling news in Wolfie's story is that he apparently can get dates. But I guess the aphrodisiac of power works even for Wolfie.

Charles

'Of course, the MSM is much more interested in the moral drama of Imusgate, but, what can one say about that? pl"

The Emperor fiddles, bread and circuses all around.

It is discouraging how many of these Wolfitzian elites are simultaneously such petty and gigantic criminals when opportunity knocks - and look at the sumptuous plunder available to them.

Much scarier is the sociopath's adeptness combined with a narcissistic sense of exceptionalism. Pile on a bit of religious mania for a truly dangerous, shameless and relentless creature that knows no social, civil or moral bounds.

This is the cream, no, pond scum, of American democracy, now busily plundering and dismantling it - and any other bits of the planet they, their sycophants or surrogates can reach.

Yet they rule, turning an Imus or a Wolfowitz over to the the mob when volume, exposure, or market share require. Never a question as to how did this get to be so, our rulers think they own the place, free to dispense it as they please but god forbid some kid fileshares or a man stands and fights for his family or honour or injustice - sue him or kill him in the name of Truth, Justice and The American Way. This quiet deference, impotence, in the face of alternately blustering and "Aw, gee shucks, I shouldda known better" entitlement, never mind criminal malfeasance. After initial lies all around, yet!

Then there's shameful, shameless powerful regime that criminalizes human vice - that is, sin and human nature - the wars against drugs, gays, prostitution, whilst gambling somehow becomes a social revenue source, that
corrupt and degrade our guardians while eroding our liberty and security further still. It is criminal!

The sad part is that the donkey end of the Money Party is just about as compromised and dysfunctional as the elephant end, with a demonstrated superfluity cretins, criminals, cowards and mountebanks to go around.

And securely dug in, too, from Haliburton, to the plethora of vigorous religious hucksters to the DOJ example. This cycle the pendulum just might not be allowed to swing back, follow the laws of physics, nature and man. The anger of people like Pat is encouraging, though.

I exhort all of us to take these discussions from here to our friends and neighbours, especially the non-voting ones, or influential ones, or naively ignorant ones, whatever our positions, with a view to a little more engagement, scrutiny, consideration, modest personal actions. A fervour got whipped up to a tipping point about second had smoke and drunk driving, no reason it can't be done against other powerful interests or intractable problems. Unless it isn't.

Now, I gotta go - Jeopardy is coming on!

mt

"The president has full confidence in Paul Wolfowitz," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino told a news briefing. "We expect him to remain as World Bank president." (4/13/07)

Amazing.

David E. Solomon

Colonel Lang,

Of course he is a war criminal, but what about Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Perl, Condi Rice, Colin Powell, and the other myriad fools?

Isn't the kind of behavior these individuals indulged in just the sort of thing for which the International War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague was created to punish?

Matthew

Imus is a lose shingle; Wolfie is a rotten foundation. Which one would a homeowner rather talk about?

pbrownlee

Future historians will be puzzled as to how such a lamentable work of the Creator (and also his dismally awkward, slack-jawed, shameless, criminally irresponsible and invincibly ignorant co-conspirators) got anywhere near the levers of power.

Posterity may perhaps have a clearer line on cui bono -- probably the rich-out-sight crowd (again) with wonder white bread, "reality" circuses and credit card bills for everyone else and with an unfortunate few also risking decades of damaged existence or a body bag.

Dunno if there are many Wonketters around here but try this:

http://wonkette.com/politics/jeb-bush/everything-in-country-to-be-named-after-reagan-bush-252168.php

Everything in Country to be Named After Reagan, Bush

Florida politics, you continue to do the nation proud.

* Step one: the University of Florida Senate declines to give Jeb Bush an honorary degree.
* Step two: “a Republican-controlled House council decided this morning to make the university name its entire college of education after the former governor.”

You laugh now, but once your kid’s application to the Neil Bush School of Business Administration is rejected, you’ll wish you’d had a little more respect.

Cold War Zoomie

I don't think he's a war criminal. Read Joint House Resolution 114. Everything this administration said is in there from WMD to liberation, to regime change, to UN resolutions. Congress gave the go-ahead with an overwhelming majority. Regardless of how we feel about this administration, H.J.Res.114 gave it the get-go and we the people backed them up all the way with an overwhelming majority. I'm no lawyer, but the language is pretty clear in the Resolution - our invasion looks pretty darn legal to me.

Hunker down. It's going to get worse before it gets better.

http://www.c-span.org/resources/pdf/hjres114.pdf

Montag

It's like nailing Al Capone for tax evasion.

Leila A.

I don't know about war criminal, but how about - is he a gentleman?

Do any of these so-called conservative Republican men in power live by any code of honor you know of?
Wolfie and his nepotism with mistress. Cheney shooting his friend in the face, and cursing out a Senator on the floor of the Senate (with an Anglo-Saxonism better reserved for the steam room of a battleship); oh yes, and the whole lot of them evading the draft.

Under what code of honor is it acceptable to use the word "whore" in public, before an audience of millions? What kind of gentleman would call college sportswomen whores? And what sort of gentleman would defend that sort of language?

Just asking. I was raised an ornery feminist so I am no expert on being a proper lady, but there's something about this bunch that disgusts me. They make me long for old fashioned American values like honor, respect, and decency.

True conservatives must be ashamed of this crowd. And the President is the leader of the pack - rude, boorish, crude and a draft-dodging, posturing coward.

War crimes - well, Col. Lang, if you say so, then I'm hoping: Next Year in the Hague!

confusedponderer

CWZ,
Res. 1441 didn't give the US the right to invade. International law, unless you're a defeated nation, is made by consensus. It is important to keep that in mind.

Saddam's Iraq wasn threatened with 'grave consequences' in Res. 1441. Now an invasion is a grave consequence, but there are no implicit powers under international law.

The only substantial difference between the US draft and Res. 1441 is that the latter stops short from sanctioning automatic military action if Iraq were to fail to cooperate. That shows the intent of the UNSC: That war as the automatic consequence of alleged noncompliance was not explicitly stated as a consequence in 1441 because it wasn't wanted. That's why the US provision on that was negotiated out of the resolution. It meant the UNSC wanted to have a last say on it.
It is also telling that the US didn't get a specific resolution mandating the use of force, in fact, iirc several US attempts to get one were refused, and never made it into the UNSC. Had the US view been shared by the international comnsensus they would have got such a resolution, be it only as a clarification.

But the US administration has a supernatural ability to see a justification for war where others don't. The wording of 1441 is so vague on that particular point that it allowed the United States to interpret it as it pleases. Don't be fooled. The US position on 1441 is just spin on it.
It's a little bit like the rapist's view: That woman looked at me, that means she clearly wanted to have sex.

confusedponderer

PS: CWZ,
the Joint House Resolution 114 is pointless under international law.

Francis Egan

Dear Col. Lang:
After reading the FT searing editorial demanding Wolfie's resignation I opened to WSJ to see their view on the matter. They simply couldn't see what the fuss was about. Two "respected" business journals with totally different takes. What am I missing?
Best regards,
Francis Egan

confusedponderer

PPS: CWZ,
that is to say that in Nuremberg the Nazis weren't tried for noncompliance with the Führerprinciple -- or in other words, domestic law.

If you have a domestic law that makes legal what is war of agression, or while we're at it, torture, under international law -- it is still illegal because international law overrides domestic law.

Of course, international law only has that effect as far as it is ratified and transformed into national law - but as far as the UN Charter is concerned that certainly is the case. The US have transformed the UN Charter into national law.

We can argue about wether US constitutional law is of higher rank than international law, but not in the case of a ratified international treaty and a later national law.
It is not acceptable that a nation engages itself to something under international law, only to enact a later national law to allow what they're not allowed under international law. For that reason the national law is considered irrelevant for the question of legality under international law.

I find the idea quite daring that a unilateral act such as a joint resolution of the US senate and House of Representatives should have any effect under international law.

Arun

Of course, the MSM is much more interested in the moral drama of Imusgate, but, what can one say about that?

The celebrity of Imus or the enablement of Bush/Rove spring from the same electorate.

E.g., note the sequence

1. Rutgers team makes the news for reaching the NCAA finals, and not for the numerous scandalous reasons normally accompanying sports teams these days.

2. Don Imus makes derogatory remark sparking public uproar. Note: the Rutgers team does not participate in the uproar.

3. Don Imus fans' flood Rutgers team with hate mail. Don Imus's wife has to appeal to fans to cease and desist.

There is the whole poisonous audience out there - you think they have the discernment to figure out which politician is bad for the country?

You all are assuming that America's troubles begin at the top. IMO, you are wrong. They begin at the bottom.

arbogast

He's a war criminal.

And he holds dual nationality.

So, he's guilty of war crimes and treason.

Frankly, there was nothing comparable to Wolfowitz in Nazi Germany. How many of the Nazi elite were dual nationals?

And the yen carry trade just keeps on giving and giving.

I'm going to quote John of Gaunt in full. Just substitute "USA" for England in your mind.

Methinks I am a prophet new inspired
And thus expiring do foretell of him:
His rash fierce blaze of riot cannot last,
For violent fires soon burn out themselves;
Small showers last long, but sudden storms are short;
He tires betimes that spurs too fast betimes;
With eager feeding food doth choke the feeder:
Light vanity, insatiate cormorant,
Consuming means, soon preys upon itself.
This royal throne of kings, this scepter'd isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall,
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England,
This nurse, this teeming womb of royal kings,
Fear'd by their breed and famous by their birth,
Renowned for their deeds as far from home,
For Christian service and true chivalry,
As is the sepulchre in stubborn Jewry,
Of the world's ransom, blessed Mary's Son,
This land of such dear souls, this dear dear land,
Dear for her reputation through the world,
Is now leased out, I die pronouncing it,
Like to a tenement or pelting farm:
England, bound in with the triumphant sea
Whose rocky shore beats back the envious siege
Of watery Neptune, is now bound in with shame,
With inky blots and rotten parchment bonds:
That England, that was wont to conquer others,
Hath made a shameful conquest of itself.
Ah, would the scandal vanish with my life,
How happy then were my ensuing death!

apostrophe

Cold War Zoomie,
So, the US Congress OK'ed the war?
That means the rest of the world just has to go along with it as "just and legal"?
Since when does the US Congress define what is or isn't legal for the rest of the world?
Arrogance!

Clifford Kiracofe

The Col. justly calls a spade a spade. This newest affair raises a number of issues. Not only should Wolfie go, but so should his gaggle of Neocon groupies he brought along.

Neocon psychology embodies the twisted and elitist Nietzschean notion that they are "Beyond Good and Evil" so they are god-like and, as "Supermen," can do just what they please. We can expect corruption and betrayal of the public trust, large or small, from their ranks.

With respect to the World Bank: the WB with the IMF were created in the wake of WWII as mechanisms to ensure international financial stability and to promote economic development. This original intent was not dissimilar to the intent behind the Marshall Plan to promote stability and economic reconstruction in Europe so as to avert any totalitarian ideologies from gaining a foothold again. So just what is Wolfie's mission at the World Bank??? To further corrupt its originally intended purpose? To turn it into an instrument of Neocon global economic policy?

The Financial Times (London) raised pertinent issues back in 2005 about Wolfie and his team of Neocon groupies like Ms. Robin Cleveland, a former influential aide to US Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and later a top-level Bush43:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7335486/
Steve Clemon's is right on target per Wolfie and Robin in his:
http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/001196.php

As the FT reported in 2005:
"....While Ms. Cleveland has been credited with helping President George W. Bush push through massive budgets to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, she was also deeply involved in the planning for post-war reconstruction in Iraq....."

Those concerned about this affair and its implications should also be looking ahead to "predict the network" in the next Administration and Congress. There are considerable Neocon cadres out and about that must be taken down enventually...for the internal and external security of the Republic. Even before Iran-Contra, for example, the FBI and other US counterintelligence elements (including reportedly DOD)had been investigating some of the Neocons....

arbogast

It's worth noting also that President Bush is accusing Democrats of giving aid and comfort to the enemy: treason.

That's where we stand. Those who wish to turn the policy of the United States toward withdrawal from Iraq are guilty of treason. That's the position of the President of the United States.

Babak Makkinejad

All:

It seems to me that certain government organs in the United States were taken over by individuals and cliques that did not bring to their positions the dispassion & cold analytical understanding required for the performance of their duties in those positions.

Clearly, the Office of the Secretary of Defense was one such organ.

I have two questions:

1- Was that inevitable?
2- Can that be prevented in the future?

jonst

PL wrote, >>>And now this over educated and deceptively mild mannered nitwit has literally and figuratively screwed himself out of a job<<<

That is some sentence! I'm still smiling (ruefully, given the subject matter)because of it.

MT,

I would argue that at this point it would be "amazing" if Bush did not support the guy.

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