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Krugman’s Two Wars
Posted by: mcq on Tuesday, January 09, 2007

You know I miss the fact that Jon isn't here to take Paul Krugman to task, which was one blogging chore he really enjoyed. So in his stead, let me make a meager attempt.

Let me start with an interesting Krugman quote from bygone years to sort of set the tone:
... I do not think of myself as an all-purpose pundit. I remember once (during the air phase of the Gulf War) seeing John Kenneth Galbraith making pronouncements on TV about the military situation, and telling friends that if I ever start pontificating in public about a technical subject I don't understand, they should gag me.
I'm ready ... anyone else?

On to today's business.

Paul Krugman today (article apparently copied to the blog from behind the NYT firewall):
The only real question about the planned “surge” in Iraq — which is better described as a Vietnam-style escalation — is whether its proponents are cynical or delusional.
Ah, but here's Paul Krugman talking about a similar scenario a few years back:
Barring a sudden collapse of will on the part of Serbia, there seem to be two possibilities: Either we will shame ourselves by accepting the elimination of Kosovo's Albanians as a fait accompli (perhaps while continuing to throw bombs at Serbia now and then), or we will surprise ourselves by facing up to the reality that you can't be a great power unless you are prepared to risk your own citizens' lives. If we discover the strength of character to do the right thing, there is still the question of whether European nations will also be prepared to join in.”
But hey, that was "then" under a Democratic presidency and this is now under a Republican one. We all know that means principles are malleable.
For what it is worth, my own sense is that the true immorality of U.S.policy here is the implicit rate of exchange we have established between American and Kosovar lives.
Yup ... however apparently there is no exchange rate for Iraqi lives that Krugman is willing to find immoral.

Like I've said, I'm not yet prepared to buy into the "surge", but I do hope for success in Iraq since I actually believe the 1999 version of Krugman was correct.

(HT: Anonymous Source)
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Previous Comments to this Post 

I agree with you except that I am now more convinced that the 1998 Krugman was wrong. We are seeing nothing but grief from our continued efforts to try to feed, fortify, and pacify the world. Time to pull in the horns a bit, reassess just what exactly is in our national interest, and tell the rest of the world, "start solving your own damn problems and when we see you are serious we might lend a hand."
Written By: kyle N
I agree with you except that I am now more convinced that the 1998 Krugman was wrong.

I think you and I may be talking about two different points from the 1999 Krugman.
Written By: McQ
When you say Krugman’s two wars, you mean his war against Iraq and his war against Bush, right?

Bush is the only enemy the left really cares about defeating
Written By: shark
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