Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad Wolfowitz

He Bungled Iraq, the Pentagon, and East Timor. Look Out, World Bank—Here He Comes

On the profit-over-everything-else front, Wolfowitz was certainly right; as Abigail Abrash of Harvard Law School's Human Rights Program noted in a 2000 report, "in general, U.S. support—bilaterally through the Export-Import Bank and multilaterally through the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and International Monetary Fund—for socially and environmentally harmful economic activities and social programs . . . has contributed to severe human rights abuses." But for Wolfowitz, "democracy" will always trump human rights, as the case of Indonesia's General Wiranto makes clear.

In 2003, the U.N.'s Serious Crimes Unit, in conjunction with the government of recently-independent East Timor, issued indictments against nearly 300 current and former Indonesian military officers for war crimes committed in East Timor in 1999. Among them is Wiranto, former chief of staff of the Indonesian army—and a man Wolfowitz lauded in 2000 as a good steward of "democratic reform" in Indonesia for his stabilizing role in the waning days of Suharto's regime. In a 2000 television interview, Wolfowitz did wanly concede that Wiranto (who's indictment runs to 92 pages) "may have done something bad in East Timor or failed to stop something bad going in East Timor," and that he "should be given a fair trial on these charges in East Timor.” But not only has the democratic government of Indonesia so beloved by Wolfowitz failed to hold Wiranto accountable, it has also bullied the young government of East Timor into not submitting the warrant for Wiranto's arrest to INTERPOL—thus allowing Wiranto freedom to do everything from traveling to seeking Indonesia's presidency, which he did unsuccessfully last year.

Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz.
photo: Courtesy of U.S. Dept. of Defense
Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz.

No word yet on whether or not a Wolfowitz-run World Bank will alter its debt collection policies to include extraordinary renditions or audits at the Abu Ghraib branch.

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