March 18, 2005

Wolfowitz of Arabia

Wolfowitz of Arabia: Neocon's Secret Motivation Revealed

Is this the face that launched a thousand RPGs?

On the 684th and last page of T.E. Lawrence's eloquent memoir Seven Pillars of Wisdom comes the stunning statement that Lawrence actually had a secret reason for giving the Arabs their freedom and he's not going to tell the reader what it is:

"Damascus had not seemed a sheath for my sword, when I landed in Arabia, but its capture disclosed the exhaustion of my main springs of action. The strongest motive throughout had been a personal one, not mentioned here, but present to me, I think, every hour these two years. Active pains and joys might fling up, like towers, among my days: but, refluent as air, this hidden urge re-formed, to be the persisting element of life, till near the end. It was dead, before we reached Damascus." [Emphasis added.]

The clearest answer Lawrence ever provided was once, when asked why he had fought for Arab independence, he replied, ""Personal: I liked a particular Arab, and I thought that freedom for the race would be an acceptable present." This fits with the mysterious dedicatory poem at the beginning of Seven Pillars:

To S. A.

I loved you, so I drew these tides of men into my hands
and wrote my will across the sky in stars
To earn you Freedom, the seven-pillared worthy house,
that your eyes might be shining for me
When we came...

There are many different theories about who this was but the most plausible seems to be that this particular Arab was Selim Ahmed, nicknamed Dahoum, a teenage waterboy who had lived with Lawrence during his archaelogical digs in Syria before the war. He died before Lawrence's Arab army fought its way into Damascus.

The Washington Post now confirms rumors that Paul Wolfowitz, a prime architect of the Iraq Attaq but also the chief spokesmen for the Kumbaya wing of happy-clappy neoconism, has his own (heterosexual) Dahoum to inspire in him visions of liberating Araby:

Adding fuel to the controversy is concern within the [World Bank] staff over Wolfowitz's reported romantic relationship with Shaha Riza, an Arab feminist who works as a communications adviser in the bank's Middle East and North Africa department.

Both divorced, Wolfowitz and Riza have steadfastly declined to talk publicly about their relationship, but they have been regularly spotted at private functions and one source said the two have been dating for about two years. Riza, an Oxford-educated British citizen who was born in Tunisia and grew up in Saudi Arabia, shares Wolfowitz's passion for democratizing the Middle East, according to people who know her.

(What are the security clearance issues involving the pillow talk of the #2 man at the Pentagon?)

So, in case you were wondering what this crazy war was all about, I guess you can say, "It was all for love."

P.S., It would be interesting to know how far back this affair really goes. Wolfowitz was divorced in 2002. Wolfowitz was pushing to invade Iraq immediately after 9/11, 3.5 years ago. It wasn't quite as irrational as Feith's suggestion that we bomb Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina, but Eisenhower would likely have fired both on the spot for their obvious lack of judgment. On the other hand, Bush was apparently looking for an excuse to invade Iraq from day one of his administration, so perhaps Wolfowitz was just a yes-man telling the boss what he wanted to hear.

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