Monday, September 03, 2007

Paul Krugman Nailed It

“In February 2003,” Krugman wrote in the New York Times yesterday, “Secretary of State Colin Powell, addressing the United Nations Security Council, claimed to have proof that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. He did not, in fact, present any actual evidence, just pictures of buildings with big arrows pointing at them saying things like ‘Chemical Munitions Bunker.’ But many people in the political and media establishments swooned: they admired Mr. Powell, and because he said it, they believed it...Mr. Powell’s masters got the war they wanted, and it soon became apparent that none of his assertions had been true.” Krugman went on to say, “Until recently I assumed that the failure to find W.M.D., followed by years of false claims of progress in Iraq, would make a repeat of the snow job that sold the war impossible. But I was wrong. The administration, this time relying on Gen. David Petraeus to play the Colin Powell role, has had remarkable success creating the perception that the 'surge' is succeeding, even though there’s not a shred of verifiable evidence to suggest that it is.” Krugman is right. Any and all claims about any and all progress in Iraq are bogus, false and are blatant lies. Take for instance, the claim that civilian casualties are down. As Krugman pointed out, “The Pentagon says they’re down, but it has neither released its numbers nor explained how they’re calculated.” A draft report from the Government Accountability Office was leaked to the press because GAO officials were afraid they would be pressured into changing the report’s wrap-up. And that wrap-up was that agencies “differ" on whether violence has been reduced. And independent agencies found no decline. Or, as AmericaBlog put it: "Sectarian deaths are down unless you count the dead bodies”. Krugman quoted Leila Fadel of McClatchy who said, “Some military officers believe that it (the claim that civilian casualties are down) may be an indication that ethnic cleansing has been completed in many neighborhoods and that there aren’t as many people to kill.” None of the recent reports—the GAO leaked report, the National Intelligence Estimate and another leaked US report about the Iraqi government-- have found any progress regarding the surge and no sectarian reconciliation. In addition, the Iraqi government (which was put in place and anointed by the Bush administration) has been found to be rife with corruption. And yet, Krugman says, we are told that General Petraeus is a fine, upstanding officer who would never be involved in deception. Which is the same thing that was said about Colin Powell. Or, as Shakespeare’s Mark Antony said in his Juleius Caesar speech, “For Brutus is an honourable man, so are they all; all honorable men”. Nevertheless, as history has amply proven, honorable men with a career to lose will do anything. They will lie, cheat, and kill.

1 comment:

Barry Schwartz said...

The idea of Colin Powell as an 'honorable' man is funny.

The most useful way to look at numbers is geometrically, so we need a graph of whatever is the topic. For example, a graph shows that, in fact, US military deaths in Iraq occur at a practically constant rate; so, when anyone, pro or con, says 'soldier deaths are up' or 'soldier deaths are down', they might as well be saying goo goo gah gah.