As the Globe Spins: Why bother with intelligent analysis when there’s brass to polish?

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As expected, the Globe and Mail endorsed George W. Bush’s choice to head the World Bank. Despite vigorous international critics and pleas from Bank staff, ultrazionist warmonger Paul Wolfowitz was appointed unanimously.

One can only imagine the arm-twisting, and bribery that Bush had to employ to overcome Wolfowitz’s severe political handicaps. I mean “imagine” in the literal sense because the Globe‘s chief editorial on the subject told its readers next to nothing useful about the man or his qualifications for the position.

In “Why Wolfowitz works” (March 17) we have an example of the propaganda tactic I call "attacking the truth": facts are stated not for their own sake but set up to be shot down by dubious assertions and disinformation.

“Paul Wolfowitz comes to the World Bank with lots of baggage. In many quarters within the United States and around the world he is vilified as the hawkish neo-conservative behind the invasion of Iraq. Coming on the heels of the appointment of hard-line America-firster John Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, his nomination as bank president by U.S. President George W. Bush may complicate Washington’s attempts to repair strained relations with old friends and allies.”

(First a cavil: Wolfowitz has not been “vilified,” because the term implies an unfair attack. He has been justifiably condemned as the architect of the invasion of Iraq, just as he was the architect of the invasion of Afghanistan and the Gulf War. He has made a career out of visiting suffering upon Muslim states and indenturing the U.S. to Israel, so any condemnation is justly deserved.)

Essentially, this paragraph is accurate. It clearly sets out Wolfowitz’s liabilities but then we have this:

“That is the knee-jerk reaction. Mr. Wolfowitz may have baggage, but it includes many of the skills needed to run the bank, a United Nations agency that provides low-interest loans, interest-free credit and grants to developing countries….”

This is the non sequitur that allows the truth to be attacked. Baldly assert the falsity of the evidence (“knee jerk reaction”) and then career off onto a tangent based on no evidence at all: “baggage… includes many of the skills needed to run the bank…”

The editorial, written no doubt by the gormless Marcus Gee, actually seems to imply that trumping up charges against a world leader to invade his country is one of the skills needed to authorize low-interest loans, grants and the like. In fact, Wolfowitz told Vanity Fair in May 2003 that the “weapons of mass destruction” scare tactic was a ruse to stampede the public into accepting that the “war on terrorism” was a national security issue.

For an ostensible defence of Wolfowitz’s qualifications to head the Bank (he has none to speak of) considerable space is devoted to regurgitating disinformation about U.S. benevolence. This is the real purpose of the editorial.

“Most important,[sic] through six U.S. administrations he has been a champion of policies that promote democracy and freedom. How the United States brought freedom to Iraq is controversial, to say the least. But whichever way it comes, freedom is essential to the healthy development of any country. All the richest and most stable countries in the world are democracies, and that is no coincidence. If Mr. Wolfowitz can use his influence as World Bank leader to press democratic reform on the world’s poorest countries, then his critics will have to eat their words.”

Here we see open endorsement of the sort of imperial arrogance that disturbs Wolfowitz’s critics. The kind of “democratic reform” Wolfowitz advocates comes from bombers or cruise missiles. “Democracy” is a euphemism for Israel-style colonial subjugation and in the case of Iraq, freedom and “democracy” have cost more than 100,000 lives and the ruination of the country.

One of the world’s poorest countries is Occupied Palestine, yet I seriously doubt that Wolfowitz would do anything so noble as to elevate Palestinians’ living standards at the expense of their occupiers.

In short, Wolfowitz is unfit for the post, and the Globe cared less about explaining his true credentials than in assaulting readers with more neo-con brass polishing.

One question seems to have been glossed over entirely, though–”why Wolfowitz? There are plenty of better qualified zionist/neo-con aparatchiki. Why nominate someone so divisive and of dubious credentials?

Two theories deserved to be discussed.

In the first, Wolfowitz got the World Bank nomination as a consolation prize for being punted out of the Pentagon. Big Oil never approved of the Iraq invasion–”bad for business–”and they blamed Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, Bolton and others of their ilk for the quagmire. (Bolton’s absurd UN nomination could also be seen in this light.) Since Big Oil is Bush’s power base, and since the neo-cons are loathed by virtually everyone, Bush gave Wolfowitz a soft place to land. Credentials had nothing to do with it.

A second scenario that may or may not be tied to the first concerns Bank activity in Occupied Palestine. Officially, it does not fund projects in Israel because the per-capita income (courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer) is too high, but it does fund infrastructure projects inside Israel that benefit Palestinians, such as a rail link between Gaza and the Ashdod Port or water projects.*

Under Wolfowitz’s predecessor James Wolfensohn, the Bank refused to be drawn into projects in Occupied Palestine. Now, the Bank might try to get involved using the excuse that it’s trying to improve communications and the Palestinians quality of life.

One such project could be providing financial and/or technical assistance to upgrade security crossings around the illegal Apartheid Wall. Bush’s offer of $350 million in aid to the Palestine Authority includes funds for such upgrades, thus forcing the Palestinians to pay for their own subjugation.

The U.S. is the largest shareholder in the Bank and a servant of Israel, yet the Globe editorial scoffs at those who say Wolfowitz will bring the Bank into line with Washington’s policies.

As always, a little research can demolish any propaganda.

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* For this and more information see Emad Mekay, “World Bank May Fund Israeli Checkpoints,” Inter-Press Service, Feb. 24, 2005.

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