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Anatomy of a smear

Posted by Richard on April 18, 2007

I haven't followed the so-called Wolfowitz scandal at all, barely noticing various stories and posts referring to it. About all I knew was that World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz stood accused of some kind of ethical lapse or corrupt act, and that various people were calling for his resignation, imprisonment, beheading, or something. I didn't think it was terribly interesting. I was wrong.

Monday's Wall Street Journal editorial told me all I needed to know about the case, which is clearly a vicious attempt to destroy an innocent man:

The World Bank released its files in the case of President Paul Wolfowitz's ethics on Friday, and what a revealing download it is. On the evidence in these 109 pages, it is clearer than ever that this flap is a political hit based on highly selective leaks to a willfully gullible press corps.

Mr. Wolfowitz asked the World Bank board to release the documents, after it became possible the 24 executive directors would adjourn early Friday morning without taking any action in the case. This would have allowed Mr. Wolfowitz's anonymous bank enemies to further spin their narrative that he had taken it upon himself to work out a sweetheart deal for his girlfriend and hide it from everyone.

The documents tell a very different story–one that makes us wonder if some bank officials weren't trying to ambush Mr. Wolfowitz from the start. Bear with us as we report the details, because this is a case study in the lack of accountability at these international satrapies.

Read the rest. It's really a fascinating story of how unscrupulous scoundrels can trap and nearly destroy a man by turning his own openness, decency, and desire to do the right thing against him. Especially when they're aided and abetted by a hostile press corps. I hope Wolfowitz hangs tough.

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