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Friday, May 30, 2003
By Steven Taylor

Krugman’s latest (Waggy Dog Stories) verges on the delusional. Not only is he recylcing (the Wag the Dog business was used with Clinton already), but he starts with this:

An administration hypes the threat posed by a foreign power. It talks of links to Islamic fundamentalist terrorism; it warns about a nuclear weapons program. The news media play along, and the country is swept up in war fever. The war drives everything else — including scandals involving administration officials — from the public’s consciousness.

The 1997 movie “Wag the Dog” had quite a plot.

But while those paragraphs insinuate that the administration launched the war in Iraq to cover something up, he never actually makes that charge in the column itself. Instead, he notes that the war has given the president political advantage.

I will agree that he has gained political advantage, and that the lack of WMDs to date is a problem, if anything because it affects our international credibility. However, I disagree that there have been no linkages of Iraq to al Qaeda, and certainly there have been ties to terrorism writ large. Further, there are intellectually honest reasons to say that the war was worthwhile sans WMDs (and I remain unconvinced that there are none whatsoever). Further, if a stable, even semi-democratic state emerges, the war will have profound positive long-term effects on the region.

Also, even if it ends up we were utterly wrong—no terrorist ties, no WMDs, it is hard to say that getting rid was Saddam was a bad thing.

And, anyway, he has the administration wrong–the Clinton administration did launch military action (cruise missile attacks) during the Lewinsky grand jury testimony–that fits the Wag the Dog scenario quite a bit better than does the Iraq scenario.

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2 Responses to “This is the Best He Could Do?”

  1. Anonymous Says:
  2. The American Mind Says:

    Still No Weapons Found
    It’s not encouraging to hear a general in Iraq calling the threat of chemical attack by Saddam to have been


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