Thursday, May 17, 2007

(almost) everybody must get stoned

These guys kill me. I mean, I know that they literally kill others, through their actions, but they, you know, in a head-shaking kind of disbelief way, stone-dead kill me.

Yesterday, it was Attorney General Alberto Gonzales taking the convenient opportunity to seize upon the resignation of his Deputy AG Paul McNulty to announce that, even though Gonzales had previously sworn little knowledge of what was going on regarding the US attorneys, and even though he had earlier the same day claimed that his chief deputy wasn’t actually a “top aid,” Abu-G now knew that the whole was USA-purge-gate mess was squarely McNulty’s fault.

Today, we read that the other guy vying for the title “Most Embattled Bushie,” World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz, is holding his organization hostage by insisting the Bank take the blame for his, Wolfie’s, misdeeds:

After six weeks of combating efforts to oust him as president of the World Bank, Paul D. Wolfowitz began Wednesday to negotiate the terms under which he would resign, in return for the dropping or softening of the charge that he had engaged in misconduct, bank officials said.

Mr. Wolfowitz was said to be adamant that he be cleared of wrongdoing before he resigned, according to people familiar with his thinking.

This is after Wolfowitz already laid the blame for his troubles on his “companion” (or maybe former companion?) Shaha Riza:

Wolfowitz effectively blamed Riza for his predicament as well, saying that her "intractable position" in demanding a salary increase as compensation for her career disruption forced him to grant one to pre-empt a lawsuit.

Indeed, these are the kinds of men we want in charge of the Justice Department and the World Bank. This is an example of the high moral and ethical standards that America wants to hold up as a beacon to the rest of the planet. This is the kind of dedication to self and others, to friends, to country, to the institution you serve, run, and pretend to honor that it makes each of us want to stand up, salute, and vow to be better ourselves.


Rather, this is the kind of behavior that makes people turn off to public service, distrust their governments, and assume that rules are different for the rich and powerful. In short, it makes people cynical.

Which is likely a happy byproduct for the members of this cult of irresponsibility. Sure, first and foremost, it is an innate sense of entitlement and an imperial hubris that results in such behavior—and the likes of Gonzales and Wolfowitz (not to mention the likes of Bush and Cheney) probably don’t even realize it could or should be any other way. But, their religious dedication to blaming others, this pathological inability to see that the fault lies not in the stars, but somewhere much, much closer to home, thrives in the climate it creates, thus allowing the self-anointed forgivers of their own sins to continue in the same self-obsessed vein, and maybe contributing to even bigger abuses and grander claims of immunity.

What’s really funny, too, is how any number of these sorts like to wear their piety on their sleeves—so quick to tell everyone else they’ve got it wrong, have erred, have transgressed, are not worthy of trust or respect. . . . I guess if you are so certain that you yourself are without guilt, it is easier to cast that first stone.

Like I said, these guys kill me. Stone-dead kill me.

(cross-posted to Daily Kos)

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