Paul Krugman, amateur revisionist historian

Paul Krugman’s op-ed piece, “Lies, Sighs and Politics,” published today on the TimesSelect site, decries the media’s failure to call Mitt Romney on his “lie” he told during Tuesday’s Republican presidential candidate debate. According to Krugman:

Asked whether we should have invaded Iraq, Mr. Romney said that war could only have been avoided if Saddam “had opened up his country to I.A.E.A. inspectors, and they’d come in and they’d found that there were no weapons of mass destruction.”

But Krugman takes issue with this, saying:

Except that Saddam did, in fact, allow inspectors in. Remember Hans Blix? When those inspectors failed to find nonexistent W.M.D., Mr. Bush ordered them out so that he could invade.

Yes, Paul, we remember Hans Blix. It may be pertinent to ask, though, whether you remember any other details surrounding Blix and his inspectors. Like, perhaps, Saddam’s repeated refusal to cooperate with them, after allowing them in, prompting more than ten UN Security Council Resolutions calling for full and immediate cooperation? He let them in, but was playing them. And what about the broad agreement that Saddam was near to obtaining a nuclear weapon? Stopping here I risk being almost as minimalist as Krugman himself, but not as much of a simpleton.

Krugman’s 3-sentence history of the lead-up to the Iraq war is so inadequate, it would be beneath the dignity of a response, were he not writing in a major newspaper.

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8 Responses to “Paul Krugman, amateur revisionist historian”

  1. Mark Says:

    Yeah, but I also remember something about Blix asking for more time… This is just a fading memory, though. I do clearly remember telling various people that we would be stuck in Iraq indefinitely, and that invading Iraq would be the equivalent of ripping the lid off a pressure cooker at full steam.

    But that’s okay, keep making sure that the details of Bush’s farcical journey to war are kept in order!

  2. Curly Says:

    You call it farcical now, but few, if any, thought the threat posed by Saddam was a “farce” in the 1990s or even 5 years ago.

    That’s what Saddam wanted, too . . . more time. We’ll never know what would have happened had we not invaded, but there’s a good chance it would have been much uglier than the situation at present.

    From an undated tape-recorded conversation:

    SADDAM: I want the weapons to be distributed to targets; I want Riyadh and Jeddah, which are the biggest Saudi cities with all the decision makers, and the Saudi rulers live there. This is for the germ and chemical weapons . . . Also, all the Israeli cities, all of them. Of course you should concentrate on Tel Aviv, since it is their center.

    HUSAYN KAMIL: Sir, the best way to transport this weapon and achieve the most harmful effects would come by using planes, like a crop plane; to scatter it. This is, Sir, a thousand times more harmful. This is according to the analyses of the technicians (interrupted) . . .

    SADDAM: May God help us do it . . . We will never lower our heads as long as we are alive, even if we have to destroy everybody.

  3. Mark Says:

    Yeah. Don’t buy it, sorry.

    I’m not debating that Saddam was a head case and that he said a lot of crazy sh**. I am saying that the guys who rushed us into war (yes, rushed) were clueless about Iraq.

    By the time Bush’s farce was in full swing, Saddam was languishing under the international mircoscope and very much hobbled by years of sanctions.

    Now that we are committed to “keeping Iraq together” we are also committed to fixing Saddam’s mess. An honorable pursuit, I suppose, but care to guess how that will work out?

    Why all the make believe? Your “what would have happened?” statement is as empty-headed and ahistorical as saying “Well before WWII there were thousands of French who wanted France to be a communist state, good thing Hitler came along and fixed that otherwise we would have had Stalinist France to deal with!!” Who knows what would have happened? It’s a stupid game to play with history, my friend. And it pisses off the historians.

    Get real!

  4. Curly Says:

    “The guys who rushed us into war” must include the 68% of House and 77% of the Senate that voted to use force in Iraq. That includes 110 Democrats, by a quick count . . . which brings up one of *my* peeves: calling it “Bush’s war, Bush’s farce,” or Bush’s whatever. However accurate that may be right now, you are only playing “make believe” if you ignore that Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Diane Feinstein, Biden, Reid, Schumer, etc., etc., voted to authorize it.

  5. Mark Says:

    Boy, you have inhaled deeply of the right’s toxic smoke. Okay, fine, I’ll call it “OUR War” or “OUR Farce.” Better? I am not defending the yahoos who went along with it and authorized the war. Do you assume that I blindly defend my time like you seem to defend yours? Not so, my friend.

    HOWEVER, you are seriously deluding yourself if you think that this war was the anyone’s other than the President’s baby! Are we needing a basic civics lesson now? The executive branch of government put together the flawed evidence for going to war and pitched it to the legislative branch. Remember Colin Powell sitting at a table with aerial photos and other evidence of WMDs in Iraq? Well, he was the “Secretary of State” and is an appointed member of the executive branch of government.

    As far as the dems going along with it, it is also important to remember the political climate in 2002. Or not. Either way we end up at the same place.

  6. Skaught Says:

    I come here to read Curly Couch and always end up reading Fox News… why is that?

  7. Curly Says:

    Mark: I’m sorry if you think that those who disagree with you are “blind” and under the influence of “toxic smoke”. I’m not much inclined to reply further.

    Skaught: Thanks for reading. By the way, I don’t watch Fox News, or read its website.

  8. Mark Says:

    You don’t need to watch it, Curly, you are Fox News. Just like I don’t need to read The Nation, right?

    And please, don’t be sorry. There’s really no need for that, I’m doing okay, really! I know that people who disagree with me are just flat wrong. That’s mostly due to the fact that I am quite a bit smarter than pretty much everybody.

    Also, yes, I do think that you have totally bought the right’s package, thus you have inhaled their smoke (deeply, it seems). And yes, you do seem to blindly defend the War. Notice that I did add the word “seem”, for whatever that’s worth. Just my opinions, you know, I don’t really care if you are inclined to reply or not. I am satisfied with my critique of your lame attempt to redirect blame for the War away from the guilty parties.

    I wholeheatedly disagree with you on most politically charged issues, it seems, and as you know I am usually inclined to reply. So there. I also fervently support your right to espouse your ludicrous opinions and would like to thank you, again, for your excellent forum! I raise a glass to the Couch! May it be free from pee-stains or at least periodically laundered!

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