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  xWednesday, June 25, 2003

paul krugman explains it all


This excellent Paul Krugman column not only calls Bush on his deceptiveness, but on his supporters for enabling him:
There is no longer any serious doubt that Bush administration officials deceived us into war. The key question now is why so many influential people are in denial, unwilling to admit the obvious.

About the deception: Leaks from professional intelligence analysts, who are furious over the way their work was abused, have given us a far more complete picture of how America went to war. Thanks to reporting by my colleague Nicholas Kristof, other reports in The New York Times and The Washington Post, and a magisterial article by John Judis and Spencer Ackerman in The New Republic, we now know that top officials, including Mr. Bush, sought to convey an impression about the Iraqi threat that was not supported by actual intelligence reports [Emphasis added].

...And yet the political and media establishment is in denial, finding excuses for the administration's efforts to mislead both Congress and the public.

For example, some commentators have suggested that Mr. Bush should be let off the hook as long as there is some interpretation of his prewar statements that is technically true. Really? We're not talking about a business dispute that hinges on the fine print of the contract; we're talking about the most solemn decision a nation can make. If Mr. Bush's speeches gave the nation a misleading impression about the case for war, close textual analysis showing that he didn't literally say what he seemed to be saying is no excuse. On the contrary, it suggests that he knew that his case couldn't stand close scrutiny [Emphasis added].

Amen, brother. That's what I've been saying.

Now comes the "shrill" part:
So why are so many people making excuses for Mr. Bush and his officials?

Part of the answer, of course, is raw partisanship. One important difference between our current scandal and the Watergate affair is that it's almost impossible now to imagine a Republican senator asking, "What did the president know, and when did he know it?"

But even people who aren't partisan Republicans shy away from confronting the administration's dishonest case for war, because they don't want to face the implications.

After all, suppose that a politician — or a journalist — admits to himself that Mr. Bush bamboozled the nation into war. Well, launching a war on false pretenses is, to say the least, a breach of trust. So if you admit to yourself that such a thing happened, you have a moral obligation to demand accountability — and to do so in the face not only of a powerful, ruthless political machine but in the face of a country not yet ready to believe that its leaders have exploited 9/11 for political gain. It's a scary prospect.

Yet if we can't find people willing to take the risk — to face the truth and act on it — what will happen to our democracy?

From the very moment of his appointment election, Bush has shown his contempt for the small-d democratic process. Bush's so-called "leadership" can hardly be said to have produced positive results in this nation during his term, and the prospects for improvement are nil. Bush doesn't even give us Reagan's feel-good "morning in America" rhetoric. With him, it's nothing but scare tactics and "if you aren't with us, you're against us." He has the glib charm of a con artist, but like a con artist, he gets real nasty real quick when his lines are questioned. And like a con artist, eventually he'll abscond (and the sooner the better), leaving us holding the bill. A bill, make no mistake about it, that will need to be paid.

(via Interesting Times)





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