Slime and Defend

The latest Paul Krugman column is so deliciously brutal, so merciless toward the Republican slime machine and so crushing it is certain to become a classic.

On Wilson-Plame:

The right-wing media slime machine, which tries to assassinate the character of anyone who opposes the right’s goals — hey, I know all about it — has already swung into action. For example, The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page calls Mr. Wilson an “open opponent of the U.S. war on terror.” We’ve grown accustomed to this sort of slur — and they accuse liberals of lacking civility? — but let’s take a minute to walk through it.

Mr. Wilson never opposed the “war on terror” — he opposed the war in Iraq precisely because it had no obvious relevance to the campaign against terror. He feared that invading a country with no role in 9/11, and no meaningful Al Qaeda links, would divert resources from the pursuit of those who actually attacked America. Many patriots in the military and the intelligence community agreed with him then; even more agree now.

Unlike the self-described patriots now running America, Mr. Wilson has taken personal risks for the sake of his country. In the months before the first gulf war, he stayed on in Baghdad, helping to rescue hundreds of Americans who might otherwise have been held as hostages. The first President Bush lauded him as a “truly inspiring diplomat” who exhibited “courageous leadership.”

In any case, Mr. Wilson’s views and character are irrelevant. Someone high in the administration committed a felony and, in the view of the elder Mr. Bush, treason. End of story.

Yes, end of story. Prepare for the usual mockery from Kause and Sullivan and Instapundit — you know, “Former Enron advisor Paul Krugman….” But that’s all they can do, mock and shriek. They have no legs to stand on here.

The Discussion: 2 Comments

Hi Richard, I’m back again.

I’m not a great fan of Krugman’s way of handling his arguments, even if I sympathise with many of his bottom lines. I would stick more to the economic tack, since I think there’s a great danger of suggesting that a change of government in the US is going to lead to an easy resolution of the economic problems they face. I think there will be hard bullets to bite whoever wins in 2004.

But the piece he cites from the WSJ is a good example of why I am not prepared to take too much that appears in that paper on China at anything like face value. Try the Financial Times for a more balanced view.

BTW: do you follow Fons Tuinstra over at China Media:

He writes really good low-key, deadpan sardonic stuff which I think you might appreciate.

October 3, 2003 @ 5:24 pm | Comment

Krugman is as qualified as anybody else to be a columnist in my view, and his being a much esteemed economist adds additional credibility. He’s been spot-on about the economy and the Bush administration.

About the Wall Street Journal: I have been reading and writing about the WSJ for many years now, and I can safely say there are two Wall Street Journals — the editorial page and the news articles. Many of the reporters there (and I know a few) hold the Editorial Empire in contempt for its infamously conservative (make that neandrathal) viewpoints and blatant political prejudices. But they are very happy that the editorial influence doesn’t go beyond the Editorial page. That’s why the Journal has such a sterling reputation as a news source — its reporters have a good deal of autonomy.

October 4, 2003 @ 2:20 am | Comment

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