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Controversial choice

From Mary Snow
CNN

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Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz
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Wolf Blitzer Reports
Paul D. Wolfowitz
World Bank

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz is best known as one of the architects of the Iraq war.

But President Bush cites his management experience at the Pentagon and his role as former ambassador to Indonesia as his reasons why Wolfowitz should be head of the World Bank.

"Paul is committed to development. He is a compassionate, decent man who will do a fine job in the World Bank," the president said during a news conference Wednesday.

Wolfowitz won out over other high-profile names rumored to be in the running in recent weeks, such as former Secretary of State Colin Powell, former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, and Irish rock star Bono.

Current president James Wolfensohn is retiring.

While he may not be a household name, some say his job is one of the most important in the world.

The World Bank president leads 184 member nations in a mission to fight poverty and foster development around the globe.

By tradition, the United States chooses the World Bank president.

Overseas, Wolfowitz faces opposition.

"You'd have to say based on Wolfowitz's entire career that he's very qualified for this job, but I think many people in Western Europe view him for one thing and one thing only and that's Iraq. And he is a real hawk, and I think for many in Western Europe, this is a very provocative act," says political economist Greg Valliere.

Economist Jeffrey Sachs thinks that's exactly why Wolfowitz was chosen.

"I think it is an 'in-your-face' move and who knows what's going to happen," Sachs says.

The World Bank loans billions of dollars each year to financially strapped countries. Sachs is among critics who voice concern that aid will be measured not based on need, but on support of U.S. policy.

He says, "Many countries have been waiting decades for getting their debts cancelled, but it was Iraq and only Iraq where the president sent around a personal emissary to cancel Iraq's debt in thirty days."


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