Take the Wall Street Journal challenge
In short, Joe Wilson hadn’t told the truth about what he’d discovered in Africa, how he’d discovered it, what he’d told the CIA about it, or even why he was sent on the mission. The media and the Kerry campaign promptly abandoned him, though the former never did give as much prominence to his debunking as they did to his original accusations. But if anyone can remember another public figure so entirely and thoroughly discredited, let us know.
Okay. How about Paul Wolfowitz:
The New York Times reports: â€œSenior Bush administration officials are still wrangling over whether there is evidence to implicate Iraq in the Sept. 11 attack on the United States, senior administration officials said today. Mr. Wolfowitz is said to be wedded to the position that Mr. bin Laden and his Al Qaeda network could not have carried out the attack without Saddam Hussein’s help, the officials said.â€
Wolfowitz tells the U.S. House Budget Committee that oil exports would pay for the reconstruction of post-invasion Iraq. â€œIt’s got already, I believe, on the order of $15 billion to $20 billion a year in oil exports, which can finally — might finally be turned to a good use instead of building Saddam’s palaces,â€ he testifies. â€œIt has one of the most valuable undeveloped sources of natural resources in the world. And let me emphasize, if we liberate Iraq those resources will belong to the Iraqi people, that they will be able to develop them and borrow against them.â€
Wolfowitz again tells Congress that oil should pay for Iraqâ€™s reconstruction. â€œThe oil revenues of that country could bring between $50 and $100 billion over the course of the next two or three years. Now, there are a lot of claims on that money, butâ€¦ We are dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction and relatively soon.â€
Wolfowitz exacts his ultimate revenge upon Berlin, Paris and Moscow. In a December 5, 2003, Defense Department order, he shuts non-coalition countriesâ€™ corporations out of Iraqi reconstruction contracts. â€œIt is necessary for the protection of the essential security interests of the United States to limit competition for the prime contracts of these procurements to companies from the United States, Iraq, Coalition partners and force contributing nations. Thus, it is clearly in the public interest to limit prime contracts to companies from these countries.â€
Shortly thereafter, long-time Bush family friend James Baker tours Europe, trying to get them to accede to Wolfowitzâ€™s demands that they drop Iraqi debt.
In an on-line â€œAsk the White Houseâ€ discussion, Wolfowitz continues to tout oil export revenues as Iraqâ€™s saving grace, although they are flowing at levels much lower than the â€œ50 to 100 billion dollars over the course of the next two or three yearsâ€ that he predicted before the invasion.
An on-line questioner asks Wolfowitz, â€œWhat is being done with the revenue that is recouped from the Iraq oilfields?.â€ He replies, â€œAlready, Iraq is beginning to contribute to its own rebuildingâ€”including through its oil assets. Through a combination of oil revenues and existing assets, nearly $20 billion of Iraqi funds have gone into the Development Fund for Iraq to finance government operations and reconstruction projects.
An addition $8 billion of oil revenues are projected to go into the fund by the end of this year.â€
Stuart Bowen Jr., Inspector General of the Coalition Provisional Authority, issues a scathing audit of the coalitionâ€™s handling of oil revenues in the Development Fund for Iraq (DFI). These revenues included residual funds from the UN Oil-for-Food program and proceeds from oil exported after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. Bowen finds that the Coalition Provisional Authority â€œprovided less than adequate controls for approximately $8.8 billion in DFI funds, provided to Iraqi ministries through the national budget process. Specifically, the CPA did not establish or implement sufficient managerial, financial, and contractual controls to ensure DFI funds were used in a transparent manner. Consequently, there was no assurance the funds were used for the purposes mandated by Resolution 1483.â€
Dick Cheney, aboard Air Force Two, tells reporters that he fully supports Wolfowitzâ€™s nomination. “I can’t think of anybody more qualified than Paul Wolfowitz to run the World Bank,” Cheney says. The Washington Post reports that â€œCheney has been a driving force in the administration’s foreign policy and privately advocated for [John] Bolton to get the U.N. job and for longtime ally Paul D. Wolfowitz to head the World Bank.â€
The WSJ can thank me later.