As Tony Blair was bidding farewell to President George W Bush in the Rose Garden on Thursday, the World Bank was preparing to kick out Paul Wolfowitz as president. Allies to the left and right in the Iraq war were falling by the wayside that day.
Was he responsible for Blair’s departure from office, Bush was asked. There had to be a reason why a prime minister who had never lost an election was being dumped. “Could be . . . I don’t know,” the president mused above the distant chant of war protesters outside the White House gates.
And what did he make of Wolfowitz’s likely resignation? “I respect him a lot and I’m sorry it has come to this,” Bush said, leaving the World Bank head to his fate.
If Bush and Dick Cheney, his vice-president, are the last men standing with responsibility for the Iraq war it is only because they are protected by their four-year terms of office. One former Bush stalwart told me: “If we had a parliamentary system, Bush would have lost a vote of confidence and have resigned by now.”
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