Although he hasn’t remained in the public eye much lately, Paul Wolfowitz exerts an enormous influence in the realm of international diplomacy and foreign policy. He is also a closet Panophile (but more on that later). As former Director of Policy Planning for the Department of Defense, he has helped promote regime change in Iraq, a policy that he promises to fulfill…right after the civil war comes to a close. He’s also started a private firm, with several loyal colleagues, called The World Bank.
I’d heard from various sources that Wolfowitz prefers to be alone when interviewed. Since this made the task of interviewing him difficult, I decided to catch him off-guard, tracking him down to Angleston’s Community Theatre where he has played the lead in “Peter and The Wolf.” He agreed to the interview only on the terms that I never mentioned where I found him or what he was wearing.
HP: Mr. Wolfowitz.
HP: Lone Wolf?
HP: Let’s start with your political career. How did you first become interested in politics?
PW: When I was enrolled at Cornell back in the 60’s, my mentor Allan Bloom made a major impact on me. Allan encouraged me to go to the University of Chicago where Leo Strauss–
HP: Whoa–back up a little. Why you?
PW: I was The Chosen One. Selected from on high to lead the people to the Great Well of Democracy, from which they would quaff freedom.
HP: I see…and you and Allan…?
PW (suspicious): What?
HP: At the Great Well, did you ever…quaff together?
PW: Excuse me?
HP: You realize that he was–
PW: Yes, I knew that.
HP: Knew what?
PW: That he was that. A (clears throat) quaffer.
HP: Ok. Moving on (holds up book jacket): Have you read this?
PW: (cringes): No.
HP: It’s rumored that the title character, Ravelstein, is based on Bloom. And one of his students, an aspiring fairy who goes on to join the Defense Department–
PW: –is based on me. Wait–what did you say?
PW: Did you just call me–?
HP: Well, you are dressed like the poor man’s Legolas.
Paul Wolfowitz: President of the World Bank, Panophile
PW: (lowers his voice): Listen, is this off the record?
HP: Of course.
PW: There are big differences between a fairy and Peter Pan.
HP: Name one.
PW: Peter Pan can fly.
HP: So can fairies.
PW: Granted…but can a fairy single-handedly reduce an entire nation to a child-like belief in Neverland, a region that exists only to the extent that we can invade it?
HP: Hmm…guess you got me there. So dressing like Peter is sort of like getting in touch with your inner child?
PW: Yes…though my inner child is more powerful and wears a green suit.
HP: Let’s discuss this strange duality in you, between Peter and the Wolf…
Before I can finish my question, an invisible wire yanks Wolfowitz back onto the stage, sending the small crowd of locals into total pandemonium. A group of teenage pages and Boy Scouts escorts me to the exit.
Hubert Peppard, a tireless investigator of truth in foreign policy, was so devoted to this interview that he hired a cat-sitter to look after Norman, who suffers from feline irregularity.
This week begins our monthly section on the avante-garde of the right-wing of the Republican party: the neo-conservatives. You might have never even heard of these folks–and you probably never elected ’em, either! Chances are, they weren’t elected at all but appointed during a Congressional recess or promoted for representing corporate interests. I personally had a devil of a time setting up these interviews–some of these nc’s moved into underground bunkers after the Iran-Contra affair!
*This month, I nabbed an exclusive with Alberto Gonzales, the Attorney General of the United States. It’s a long story how I pulled this one off (my uncle was a Texan death penalty lobbyist in the 1980’s), but it was well worth the wait.
HP: Mr. Gonzales. This is an honor–this is–
AG: Thank you.
HP: –wow. Alberto Gonzales!
AG: Thank you again.
HP: I can’t believe you agreed to do this interview with me. I mean: holy sh*tballs.
AG: It’s an honor.
HP: Can I say sh*tballs. Is that legal?
AG: I think so. Sure.
HP: Thanks! (resumes game face): So, tell me a little about yourself.
AG: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, attended Rice University…
HP: It says here that your parents are both Mexican. (Leans forward) And that your grandparents were illegal immigrants.
AG: That’s right.
HP: (stands, paces lawyer-like): Do you mind if I…
AG: No–go right ahead.
HP: Let’s fast forward a bit. You were called to represent Bush in his 1996 drunk driving case, correct?
AG: No–that was a 1976 case.
HP: Interesting, because it says here that the President hit a tree–
AG: Different case. In 1996, I helped the then-Governor be excused from jury duty.
HP: Because he hit a tree?
AG: No. Because he was dru–(clears throat)–he was the then-Governor.
HP: I see.
AG: Listen, can we discuss something else? I have eight siblings, went to Harvard Law; served on the board of the United Way and the Jaycees.
HP: I’m afraid not.
AG: Excuse me?
HP: That’s not the way this interrogtation works.
AG: Interrogation? This was supposed to be an interview.
HP: Times have changed. Laws, too.
AG: Well, can I at least have a glass of water?
(HP steps away; returns with a large, flat object; hands it to AG)
AG: What’s this?
HP: A waterboard.
AG: But I asked for water–not this–this is torture. You can’t–
HP: I can.
HP: (hands him a legal brief): Here.
AG: Well, I guess you got me there.
AG: Listen. Let me just change a few words around, ok? See where it says ‘Geneva Conventions’ with scratches through it–I’ll just erase the scratches.
HP: (turns on a slide projector): Let’s take a look at some pictures.
AG: My nomination by the President. I was as happy as a schoolgirl (begins to weep)
HP: And this one?
AG: Please, put that away.
HP: Do you recognize this tall, imposing woman? (beat)
Answer the question.
AG: Sandra Day O’Connor. She towered over me, taunting and cruel, like a delectable Amazon princess.
HP: And what did Ms. O’Connor say to you right before this picture was taken?
AG: I can’t remember. (strains): Ok, ok. She…called me ‘Little Rascal.’
AG: It made me sweat.
AG: She made me stay in court during recess. That’s it. Fine: are you happy now? (breaks down in tears)
Hubert Peppard is a freelance reporter with close–but strictly confidential–ties to several intelligence operatives, including Charles Yates, Frank Al-Fulani, and Vladimir Sudov. He lives in New York with his cat, Norman.