Managed to reboot without India’s help. … As we were saying when our laptop seized up, we liked Dowd’s dicking around today. But we really wanted to offer for your contemplation a remark by neocon thinker-warrior Paul Wolfowitz, as quoted by Jeffrey Goldberg in an article on Brent Scowcroft, the anti-neocon former national security adviser to Bush Daddy. The article, in this week’s New Yorker, is not online (although an interview about it is), and the remark has gone unnoticed in this summary or any of the online summaries we’ve seen.
One day, I mentioned to Scowcroft an interview I had had with Paul Wolfowitz, when he was Donald Rumsfeld’s deputy. … I asked him what he would think if previously autocratic Arab countries held free elections and then proceeded to vote Islamists into power. Wolfowitz answered, “Look, fifty per cent of the Arab world are women. Most of those women do not want to live in a theocratic state. The other fifty per cent are men. I know a lot of them. I don’t think they want to live in a theocratic state.” [Italics added.]
That remark serves as a stunning commentary on the bizarre thinking of top policy-makers and the strangely personalized way policy was, and doubtless still is, made at the top of the U.S. war regime. Was Wolfwowitz really saying the rationale for the invasion of Iraq — democratizing the Middle East, even if you believe that — was based not only on the brilliant revelation that half the Arab population is female, (gee, more or less like the rest of the human race) and that “most” of these women (did he take a poll perhaps?) don’t like the mullahs, but that he, Wolfowitz, is personally acquainted with so many Arab men, who make up the other half of the population naturally, that you can believe him when he says he also knows what they think?
Well, we think — just as Scowcroft thinks — Wolfowitz really was saying that. (“He’s got a utopia out there,” Scowcroft said. “We’re going to transform the Middle East, and then there won’t be war anymore. He can make them democratic.”) And now that Wolfowitz heads the World Bank, Jeffrey Sachs, of all people, is willing to go easy on him (in public at least). When asked last July at the Council on Foreign Relations what he thought of Wolfowitz, Sachs chose to avoid criticizing him and joked that “he’s being asked to fix the world on a $7-billion budget,” instead of the $500-billion budget he had at the U.S. Defense Department, so “he knows that he’s operating at the level of a failed weapons system now.”
Yes, yes, we know. Wolfowitz is popping up all over in his new job and being praised for it — he has even come in for praise from David Brooks for his “democratizing” principles, fancy that — and he’s making all kinds of nice noises about saving Africa first on his to-do list. Sachs has to work with him, so why alienate him? But what Sachs also didn’t say — and this is our belief — is that, for all his touted credentials, Wolfowitz happens to be operating at the level of a failed brain system. The photo, above, shows he doesn’t yet know how to pick his nose. He’s actually trying to do it with his thumb.
— Tireless Staff of Thousands