Wolfowitz undeserving of writers’ scorn

Dear Editor:

On April 1, the Pitkin County Republicans sponsored an event that was free and open to all on a first-come, first-served basis. We scheduled the event from 5 to 6:30 p.m. to allow folks who have day jobs to attend. The event featured a presentation by Paul Wolfowitz on foreign policy and a question-and-answer period, plus an opportunity to make a voluntary contribution to the Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic, which takes place annually in Aspen/Snowmass.

Wolfowitz was the U.S. ambassador to Indonesia, deputy secretary of defense and president of the World Bank at various points in his career. For several years, he has visited Aspen at this time of year to volunteer at the Winter Sports Clinic, which brings heroic disabled veterans to our area to learn or relearn sports skills. It makes a real difference in their lives. We were pleased to have the benefit of Wolfowitz’s wide-ranging knowledge of world affairs and proud to have helped raise money for the Winter Sports Clinic.

A couple of letters to the editor have been published in the Aspen Daily News in the past week attacking Wolfowitz. Neither writer attended the event on April 1, where he would have had the opportunity to confront Wolfowitz directly. Both letters followed an unfortunate but common pattern in our public discourse of denigrating the target of the writers’ wrath in highly personalized and disparaging terms – the writer’s assessment of the individual’s looks or personality traits.

Then there are the blatant misstatements of fact. One letter accused Mr. Wolfowitz of having dual U.S.-Israeli citizenship, which is untrue and implied that his official judgments were colored by divided loyalties. The same letter placed the blame for our financial crisis on deficit spending to support the Bush administration’s Iraq War policies. That was a new one on me. Mostly what we’ve heard from the left is that the financial crisis was caused by under-regulation of the financial sector, greed on Wall Street and the like. If deficit spending were the cause of the financial crisis, we should be in the second Great Depression after the last five years of government spending run amok.

For those interested in hearing what Ambassador Wolfowitz and his audience had to say, please go to for the podcast. For those who would like to make a financial contribution to the Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic, please contact me at for further information.

Frieda Wallison

Chairwoman, Pitkin County Republican Party