Monday, September 18, 2006

Paul Wolfowitz

Oh gawwwd ... Nick clearly doesn't know anything about Wolfowitz except a) he winds up the left and b) hey, Iraq! Thanks for the fucking mention of the Day for Darfur campaign, by the way.

Wolfowitz, if you recall, "championed democracy in the Philippines and Indonesia", when he was ambassador there. Even more cleverly, he did so without ever generating any record in a newspaper story of having done so, and in a manner which caused many contemporary commentators to believe that he was so far up Suharto's arse that all you could see were ankles. The East Timor activist community hate the man.

Meanwhile, and to the surprise of nobody, Hilary Benn is right and Nick is wrong. You can see that Nick is arguing in bad faith when, in paragraph 8, he makes his case dependent on Sudan, DR Congo and Zimbabwe whereas in paras 2 and 3 he has already pointed out that Wolfowitz's "corruption" jihad (actually a campaign in favour of the commissioning of expensive and pointless audit reports, a massive aid program for developed world consultancy firms) has been cancelling loans to India, Bangladesh and Ethiopia.

Wolfowitz is not unpopular because he "raises questions that have no easy answers". He's unpopular because he gives wrong answers to questions that everyone is aware of, and forces everyone else to go along with them.

Update Another good article from the Village Voice, making the ad hominem but IMO reasonable jibe that Wolfowitz's enthusiasm for tackling corruption was presumably required after his time in dealing with Iraq and running the US Department of Defense.

btw, "currently calling bullshit on" the following:

I managed to silence a literary dinner party for the first and I suspect only time in my life

Hands up if you believe that Nick has only brought a party to embarrassed silence once in his life.


Blogger Matthew said...

It would be nice to get some independent confirmation from someone who attends these dinner parties as to whether Nick's accounts are correct. I suspect there is a kernel of truth in this one as it would make sense that he is now attending "literary" dinner parties if he has been banned by the hosts of political ones for his behaviour, such as telling hundeds of thousands of Observer readers about how much he despises the poor saps who fed him.

9/18/2006 10:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I pointed out in an earlier post, Nick's source for the Wolfowitz dedication is almost certainly Hitchens The spin both of them put on it (that the acknowledgement was not a token of gratitude for a book recommendation and conversation, but an endorsement of Wolfowitz's politics) is dishonest.

9/18/2006 02:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you seen Johan Hari has taken Nick to task for this too?

9/18/2006 02:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

best Nick Cohen demolition ever. Well done - he really deserved this time. He's just being plain dishonest on NGOs and corruption and Wolfwitz and corruption.

As Niko said: Johann Hari has also given him a good de-bunking. The full url (permalink) is:

9/18/2006 08:28:00 PM  

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