Friday, May 18, 2007

Politics minus Ethics equals Corruption

Paul Wolfowitz, current President of the World Bank, has finally agreed to resign over the scandal dealing with special favors he gave his girlfriend who worked under him at the institution. The conflict of interest Wolfowitz found himself in seems to be a recurrent theme among former and current Bush Administration officials. Wolfowitz served as Deputy Sec. of Defene, and is credited with being the chief architect of the Iraq War, so obviously there are plenty of reaons not to like or trust the man, and reasson to question his competence and judgement on ethical issues or conflicts of interest.

However, to be fair, the man was simply following the advice of the World Bank itself when he gave his girlfriend, Shaha Riza, a raise and a promotion. The Ethics Committee of the World Bank made the recommendation in order to remove Riza from under both the direct and indirect management control of Wolfowitz. The problem is in how the actual contract was handled by Wolfowitz, and whether or not the Ethics Committee approved the final terms of the agreement. There are other legitimate issued involved here in how Wolfowitz approached his job, and his policies as President of the World Bank, which have caused some consternation among some world fiscal policy makers. Needless to say, Mr. Wolfowitz's credibility was already seriously circumspect when he was appointed by President Bush due largely to the worldwide unpopularity of the Iraq War, and the neo-conservative reputation which preceded him.

Also in Washington these days, Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez continues to be grilled and skewered by Congress over the firings of eight U.S. Attorneys. Once again, many hold Gonzalez responsible for the abuse of powers over the wiretapping program, the handling of Guantanamo Bay, and of course interrogation techniques or torture concerns. Therefore, there is understandably an effort to force the Attorney General to step down over a more easily accessible issue. Instead, so far all that has been accomplished is the resignation of the Deputy A.G. Paul J. McNulty. It seems the faulty memory of Gonzalez has miraculously returned, because now he seems to remember that Mr. McNulty was actually the one directly involved in the firings, case solved... Not!