Maureen Dowd's latest
In case you missed Maureen Dowd's Saturday NYT column:
The New York Times
October 1, 2005
A Wolfie in Sheep's Clothing
By MAUREEN DOWD
Paul Wolfowitz is having fun.
"It's fun to have the chance to be a retail politician again," he told Andrew Balls of The Financial Times on a recent trip to India. It was an economic odyssey designed to warm up his image by tipping off the press to record his shirt-sleeve visit to a slum and his street dancing with children in Andhra Pradesh.
When the reporter noted that Mr. Wolfowitz's role as No. 2 at the Pentagon must seem distant, he agreed, saying, "Yes, it does seem like a long time ago."
A lot has changed for this architect of the Iraq war since he left the scene of the accident. Following the lead of that other wooly-headed war theoretician, Robert McNamara, Wolfie scuttled to the World Bank, where he changed the subject from bollixing up Iraq to fixing up Africa.
Unlike the Powell maxim "If you break it, you own it," the Wolfowitz philosophy is "If you break it, walk away from it."
Where on earth are those who egged on the Iraq civil war? The neoconservatives have moved on to debates about China and Iran. Richard Perle has dropped out of sight, except to pop up, as he did at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's annual meeting in May, to urge a military raid on Iran if it's "on the verge of a nuclear weapon."
The president and his generals are still offering gauzy assessments of our fight against an insurgency that grows ever more vicious, and dishing out loopy justifications for the war.
Before Mr. Bush was dragged out of Crawford this summer, he was making the case that we had to keep killing in Iraq to honor troops killed there. This week, Gen. Richard Myers offered more circular logic, warning that a U.S. defeat would invite another 9/11. The Bush administration used 9/11 as a pretext for invading Iraq and now says it can't leave for fear of spurring another 9/11.
Wolfie and fellow hawks turned Iraq into a harbor for Al Qaeda with an invasion they justified by falsely calling Iraq a harbor for Al Qaeda. General Myers said that America couldn't leave and allow Al Qaeda to dominate Iraq because "then in my view we would have lost, and the next 9/11 would be right around the corner, absolutely."
Here's the weirdest perversion: First Rummy, as President Reagan's Mideast envoy, was photographed with Saddam, supporting him in the war against Iran. Then Rummy and other hawks rushed the U.S. into war against Saddam and ended up turning Iraq over to Shiites intertwined with Iran. And now Richard Perle thinks we might have to bomb Iran.
The president spent years saying that Al Qaeda was on the run, and Rummy spent years saying we just had to finish off a few Saddam "dead enders." But four years after Mr. Bush promised to get "the people who knocked these buildings down," they are finally talking about Al Qaeda as a threat again.
Perhaps they have no choice, now that Al Qaeda has supposedly started its own weekly newscast on the Internet, "The Voice of the Caliphate," with an anchorman wearing a ski mask and an ammunition belt, and props like a Koran and a rifle pointed at the camera. Its top story was joy over Katrina damage.
Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday, Gen. John Abizaid called Al Qaeda "the main threat we face" in Iraq, citing its 400 suicide bombers deployed worldwide. So, when W. says if we fight them there we won't have to fight them here, that's just nutty.
Though the Bushie gang has maintained that it would be hard for Al Qaeda to operate on the run, General Abizaid noted that the group is "empowered by modern communications, expertly using the virtual world for planning, recruiting, fund-raising, indoctrination and exploiting the mass media" to break the U.S. will and try to form a haven in Iraq.
Al Qaeda is exploiting tribal tensions intensified by the bungled U.S. occupation. Mr. Wolfowitz's assumption that America could conquer Baghdad and install the Shiites at the expense of the Sunnis, with bouquets thrown, in a religious war that has been going on for centuries, was naïve and dangerous.
The rest of us may be glued to the gruesome pileup of bodies in Iraq, but Wolfie has moved on. He told The Financial Times that he still thought the U.S. and the British did "the right thing" for "the right reasons," and "hopefully, it's going to turn out the right way."
He said that wherever he travels, from Burkina Faso to Bosnia, Iraq rarely comes up. How fortunate for him.
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