As the war began, members

As the war began, members of the House of Representatives gave speech after speech praising our soldiers, and passed a resolution declaring their support for the troops. Then they voted to slash veterans’ benefits.

So begins Paul Krugman’s scathing column on the hypocrisies of the Republicans. His conclusions are scary. America doesn’t seem to be the country it was just a few years ago. While George Senior called for a kinder, gentler nation, it seems Junior’s America is meaner, more predatory and greedy — unabashedly so.

What that scene demonstrated was the belief of the Republican leadership that if it wraps itself in the flag, and denounces critics as unpatriotic, it can get away with just about anything. And the scary thing is that this belief may be justified. For the overwhelming political lesson of the last year is that war works — that is, it’s an excellent cover for the Republican Party’s domestic political agenda. In fact, war works in two ways. The public rallies around the flag, which means the President and his party; and the public’s attention is diverted from other issues.

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