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by Greg Palast
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
George Bush is trying to save Paul Wolfowitz’ job as President of the World Bank even after the vulpine neo-con was caught slipping a load of World Bank loot to his love interest, Shaha Ali Riza.
Big deal. Yes, Wolfowitz shouldn’t have been greasing his cookie sheet with government funds, but there are bigger reasons to toss The Wolf out the door.
Like, say, perjury and homicide? I haven’t forgotten, Mr. Wolfowitz, that on March 27, 2003 you testified before the US Congress that the occupation of Iraq wouldn’t cost the American taxpayer a penny.
You said, “There’s a lot of money to pay for this that doesn’t have to be U.S. taxpayer money.” Oh, really?
When Wolfowitz laid down that line of jive, he and the Bushes knew that Americans just can’t pass up a bargain, and here The Wolf was offering the sale of the century, a “free Iraq.” Not “free” as in “self-governing” but “free” as in, we’ll get their oil and their allegiance for nothing!
We can bomb Iraq and the Iraqis will pay for the bombs!
And where will the Iraqis, holding nothing but bushel-bags of Saddam dinars, get these billions of US dollars to pay for the Occupation?
Wolfowitz testified, “The oil revenues of that country could bring between $50 and $100 billion over the next two or three years.”
Is that so?
Wolfie’s claim was no small matter. It’s hard to remember, but lots of the Congressional debate was not about Saddam’s Weapons of Mass Destruction — the New York Times had already found those for us. Senators were asking, What’s this little war going to cost us? There was no way in hell Congress would have authorized Bush’s big adventure if it cost $100 billion.
Indeed, $100 billion was the price projected by the President’s chief economist, Larry Lindsey. The President corrected Lindsey’s math: Bush fired him.
You know the punchline: The war has so far cost the U.S. taxpayer over half a trillion dollars - and counting.
But you weren’t wrong, Wolfie. You were lying. And you knew it.
This is serious stuff. I can tell you, as a former government racketeering investigator: if you are wrong, well, stuff happens. But if you say one thing under oath but knew something very different, that, Mr. Wolfowitz, is perjury. Perjury’s a felony, Wolf, and you know it. Indeed, your neo-con buddy, Elliott Abrams, was convicted in 1991 for lying to Congress about Reagan’s arms-for-hostage swap.
So, did Wolfowitz perjure himself - or just get it wrong? While the question never crossed the mind of the Sheep-o-witz US press, which repeated Wolf’s no-cost-invasion claim unchallenged, my producer at BBC Television asked me to investigate.