Krugman's "War President"
column today doesn't do very much to advance public understanding of DSM, but it does make several basic points about how we should treat the scandal. There is this point:
"Then some asserted that it was "old news" that Mr. Bush wanted war in the summer of 2002, and that W.M.D. were just an excuse. No, it isn't. Media insiders may have suspected as much, but they didn't inform their readers, viewers and listeners. And they have never held Mr. Bush accountable for his repeated declarations that he viewed war as a last resort."
More below fold.
The most important point here is the last statement. Democracy ultimately is about accountability, and if Bush is never to be held accountable for bald-faced lies about his desire to avoid war, then it is hard to see where the principle of accountability is going in this nation.
I would have added that there is a difference between inferences, however well sourced, and documentary proof. The first statement worries me a little. Perhaps Krugman is saying nothing more than that journalists did not direct attention to the WMD fraud. I would hope that he knows there were in fact reports from spring and summer 2002 that indicated that Bush wanted and intended to have a war against Iraq. Consider this Time article from May 2, 2002: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,235395,00.html
Journalists did not really dwell upon how ghoulish the rush to war was in 2002, but at least some of them were candid that war loomed.
There are some other very fine things in the column:
"Leading the nation wrongfully into war strikes at the heart of democracy. It would have been an unprecedented abuse of power even if the war hadn't turned into a military and moral quagmire. And we won't be able to get out of that quagmire until we face up to the reality of how we got in."
It's sad that this even needs saying (and it does). The 'nothing-new-here' crowd of DSM debunkers has been trying to convince people that the "real" issue is the path forward. These are people who've never studied history; or if they did, they were in the back row snickering. We didn't stumble upon this path this morning. The fools who are leading us now are the very ones who created the conditions of this quagmire. If they and we can't face up to that, then the best we can hope for is more of the same.
This appears to be the main point Krugman is driving at:
"it's crucial that those responsible for the war be held to account.
Let me explain. The United States will soon have to start reducing force levels in Iraq, or risk seeing the volunteer Army collapse. Yet the administration and its supporters have effectively prevented any adult discussion of the need to get out.
On one side, the people who sold this war, unable to face up to the fact that their fantasies of a splendid little war have led to disaster, are still peddling illusions: the insurgency is in its "last throes," says Dick Cheney. On the other, they still have moderates and even liberals intimidated: anyone who suggests that the United States will have to settle for something that falls far short of victory is accused of being unpatriotic.
We need to deprive these people of their ability to mislead and intimidate. And the best way to do that is to make it clear that the people who led us to war on false pretenses have no credibility, and no right to lecture the rest of us about patriotism."
The failure of the national Democrats to put Bush permanently on the defensive over his colossal failures in Iraq, and their curious ability to throw themselves on the defensive instead, has served to paralyze debate over what is becoming of our country.
But I take exception with Krugman's expression "we need to deprive these people of their ability..." What we need to do is stand up to them consistently, and boldly put them on the defensive. That is the only way to deal with bullying.