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Sidney Blumenthal offers a fascinating take on the rise and fall of Paul Wolfowitz in Salon. It also offers what is, as best I can see, the first appearance in the U.S. media of the story of how Wolfowitz finally got his appointment as Rumsfeld’s deputy, after initially making a major pitch to head the CIA. This is a story which has been common cocktail party chatter in Washington for many years, which has appeared in European media repeatedly, but which American papers evidently figured was off-limits (unlike, of course, speculation about the sexual pecadillos of the Clintons, which in the view of MSM is always appropriate and demands placement on the front page):
Wolfowitz thought that he ought to be director of the CIA. But as soon as he advanced himself, his estranged wife, Clare, wrote a private letter to President-elect Bush saying that he could not be trusted. This embittered letter remained a closely guarded secret, although a former high official of the CIA told me about it. Chris Nelson also reported it on April 16 in his widely respected, nonpartisan foreign policy newsletter: “A certain Ms. Riza was even then Wolfowitz’s true love. The problem for the CIA wasn’t just that she was a foreign national, although that was and is today an issue for anyone interested in CIA employment. The problem was that Wolfowitz was married to someone else, and that someone was really angry about it, and she found a way to bring her complaint directly to the President. So when we, with our characteristic innocence, put Wolfowitz on our short-list for CIA, we were instantly told, by a very, very, very senior Republican foreign policy operative, ‘I don’t think so.’ It was then gently explained why, purely on background, of course. Why Wolfowitz’s personal issues weren’t also a disqualification for DOD we’ve never heard.” The Daily Mail of London also reported on his wife’s letter at the time that Wolfowitz was appointed president of the World Bank in 2005. Asked about it by the newspaper, Clare Wolfowitz did not deny it, saying, “That’s very interesting but not something I can tell you about.”
This is the tip of an iceberg, I suspect. If you were around Johns Hopkins while Wolfowitz ran its prestigious School of Advanced International Studies, you know there were similar Wolfowitz tales around every corner, invariably revealing a rakish inner Wolfowitz with an uncontrolled libido. In the end perhaps it was his undoing.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”