One has to wonder if the latest antics of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, stomping jack-booted over the rights of the independent media in that country, are not secretly admired and envied by certain individuals close to, if not a part of, the U.S. government.
Frankly, it’s a little tiring to hear the near-constant stream of whining from high-ranking Americans, with a big yellow-streak replacing their backbones, complaining their failures have been due entirely to the exploits of “the media”.
If it’s not George W Bush trying to convince us his lack of popularity is entirely due to negative reporting of the Iraq war, cue Alberto Gonzales blaming the media, and just about everyone else in Washington, for the recent and long-overdue downturn in his fortunes.
Perhaps Gonzales’ inability to remember anything more important than his own name, when faced with an irate Congress, might be reason enough for internment in one of those secret CIA prisons, where surely a jolly water-boarding session would rapidly have improved his cognitive faculties.
After all, we have it on good authority – it’s not torture. Khalid Sheik Mohammed, a tough al Qaeda prisoner, lasted a full two and a half minutes before he got his memory back. Alberto Gonzales would undoubtedly be cured before his toes touched the water.
The latest member of this “I’m-a-poor-victim-of-the-media” band of whiners is about to leave his exalted position at the World Bank.
Paul Dundes Wolfowitz told the BBC recently:
“”People were reacting to a whole string of inaccurate statements and by the time we got to anything approximating accuracy the passions were around the bend……….I think it tells us more about the media than about the bank and I’ll leave it at that.”
So this whiter-than-white, blameless, individual was ousted by an overly-passionate media, even though, apparently, we have now reached a point “approximating accuracy”.
Just exactly what is “approximating accuracy”? Well, it’s something like this:
Wolfowitz was dating Shaha Riza before George Bush handed him the top job at the World Bank. She was already working there. He accepted the position knowing there would be a conflict, given the bank’s ruling against personal relationships between employees and supervisors, even when the chain of command was indirect. When others at the bank began making unhappy noises about the liaison, and the Ethics Committee decided Shaha Riza had to be moved, Wolfowitz dictated the terms of her settlement to the Bank’s Vice President for Human Relations, Xavier Coll. No doubt his fellow PNAC member, Dick Cheney, was instrumental in securing her new position at the State Department, coincidentally in the office of his daughter, Elizabeth Cheney, who just happened to have her own plum job in the Office of Near Eastern Affairs.
That Wolfowitz demanded a nice fat, tax-free, salary for his lover, of $180,000 per annum with yearly 8% increases, could surely only be construed as the act of a kind and benevolent gentleman?
Were it not for the “overly-passionate” rantings of the Washington Post and other news media, coupled with disgruntled World Bank employees making a fuss, Wolfowitz may well have got away with it. As it was, an internal investigation was initiated and it was discovered Wolfowitz had failed to disclose, either to the Bank’s board or its Ethics Committee, the terms of Shaha Riza’s final settlement, as he had dictated it. Even the bank’s top lawyer was not privy to the information.
Of course, as is the case in the upper echelons of business society, poor Wolfowitz had to be given a “respectable” way to resign. This was eventually agreed by the bank’s board very publicly accepting he had “acted ethically and in good faith.” Which begged the question: if that were so, why was he resigning?
So now the nasty media has been responsible for the demise of at least three members of that war-mongering, power-hungry, bunch of neo-con crazies responsible for the doctrine known as the Project for the New American Century. Wolfowitz is in disgrace; Rumsfeld proved himself incompetent, and I. Lewis Libby faces a possible, and hopefully long, prison sentence for his part in the outing of Valerie Plame. He was not alone in that. There are others with signatures on that PNAC document breathing a little rapidly as the public prosecutor delves ever deeper.
And it’s all the fault of those “overly-passionate” out-to-get-them, media journalists with nothing better to do than spread false rumor and malicious gossip, that strangely almost always turns out to be true.
Yes, there are probably a few in Washington who, watching the antics of Hugo Chavez way down there in Venezuela, sense a moment of empathy and kinship with the man well on his way to becoming the next South American dictator.
Filed under: Spineless wonders