Thursday, May 17, 2007

Extortion at the World Bank

It takes a man with powerful friends to shake down the World Bank. For those with an Orwellian taste for newspeak, check out the official statements of Paul Wolfowitz and the World Bank board of directors regarding his resignation.

For those with a weaker stomach, they say respectively:

“I'll leave if you beg me to stay, otherwise I'll stay and make your life a living hell!”

“Love you, mean it. Now get the hell out!”

Why they bother I'll never know. Who is fooled by this theater of the absurd?

My favorite Wolfowitz quote is:

Finally, I want to say a special word of thanks to the many people inside and outside the Bank who have publicly or privately expressed their support for me and asked me to stay. One of the most moving was a phone call I received from the democratically elected President of a Sub-Saharan African country. It was a private call so I will not quote him by name. But he thanked me for doing so much, in his words, to make the World Bank an institution “that listens, that cares, that understands and that takes action.” If that is true, and if I have “touched the hearts of Africans,” as he told me, then the last two years have been worth it.

Honi soit qui bien y pense!

1 comment:

Brendan said...

>> Why they bother I'll never know

Two possible explanations:

1. The sound bite can be used by the Coalition of the Shilling (Fox, et al).

2. Guys deluded by life in the bubble think their legacy is worth caring about.

Okay, possibly a third: Along the lines of companies paying multi-million dolllar settlements "without acknowledging any wrongdoing," it may be preemptive legal maneuvering; e.g., an attempt to forestall future legal actions in which the obvious truth in documented form could be brought back into the light.