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Paul Krugman just destroyed conservatives trying to rewrite Iraq war history

Certain conservatives are trying to weasel into the narrative that says, “Iraq happened because that was the intelligence we had at the time,” etc. Thankfully, regardless of Obama’s foreign policy failures, there are intellectually honest people in this world who care about moral culpability when it comes to war, and they will never allow the lie that says, “Bush succeeded in Iraq,” or, “The Iraq war was an honest mistake because of faulty intelligence,” to get passed on to our children, regardless of how hard history revisionists are trying.

Anyone who pays attention to certain conservatives on social media knows they’re trying to weasel into the narrative that says, “Iraq happened because that was the intelligence we had at the time,” etc. Thankfully, regardless of Obama’s foreign policy failures, there are intellectually honest people in this world who care about moral culpability when it comes to war, and they will never allow the lie that says, “Bush succeeded in Iraq,” or, “The Iraq war was an honest mistake because of faulty intelligence,” to get passed on to our children, regardless of how hard history revisionists are trying.

Jeb Bush and now Marco Rubio’s recent fumbling on the Iraq question is a good thing. It’s a good thing because hopefully it means we will finally get this discussion out in the open again, with more and more people willing to lead the way.

One of those people is economist Paul Krugman. Putting aside economic ideology, Krugman’s recent column in the New York Times nails the latest Iraq war apologist narrative to the wall.

Considering that regular schmucks like myself who do a fair amount of reading on foreign affairs knew the Bush Administration was consciously and fraudulently tying Saddam Hussein to 9/11, it’s refreshing to see Krugman point out that the “ever-shifting arguments for an unchanging goal were a dead giveaway,” which makes the fact that some are still trying to whitewash this tragedy even more infuriating.

“And at this point we have plenty of evidence to confirm everything the war’s opponents were saying” Krugman writes. “We now know, for example, that on 9/11 itself — literally before the dust had settled — Donald Rumsfeld, the secretary of defense, was already plotting war against a regime that had nothing to do with the terrorist attack.”

This was, in short, a war the White House wanted, and all of the supposed mistakes that, as Jeb puts it, “were made” by someone unnamed actually flowed from this underlying desire. Did the intelligence agencies wrongly conclude that Iraq had chemical weapons and a nuclear program? That’s because they were under intense pressure to justify the war. Did prewar assessments vastly understate the difficulty and cost of occupation? That’s because the war party didn’t want to hear anything that might raise doubts about the rush to invade. Indeed, the Army’s chief of staff was effectively fired for questioning claims that the occupation phase would be cheap and easy.

[…]

Now, you can understand why many political and media figures would prefer not to talk about any of this. Some of them, I suppose, may have been duped: may have fallen for the obvious lies, which doesn’t say much about their judgment. More, I suspect, were complicit: they realized that the official case for war was a pretext, but had their own reasons for wanting a war, or, alternatively, allowed themselves to be intimidated into going along. For there was a definite climate of fear among politicians and pundits in 2002 and 2003, one in which criticizing the push for war looked very much like a career killer.

Krugman ends his piece with a call for the American public to finally “get the Iraq story right.” No matter how hard some are trying to mislead the impressionable, it’s looking like the truth won’t be suppressed so easily.

Featured image: Getty

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. jack ronner

    May 19, 2015 at 6:01 am

    The most heinous and callous aspect of the rush to war was the (mostly ignored) use of war as a political ploy to counter the sagging approval ratings of Bush as he sought a second term. Wrapping himself in the flag and uttering the the dreaded “terrorism” word, he was invulnerable to criticism and bullied the Congress into following his lead as the Commander in Chief. This role served him well after 9/11 and his ratings skyrocketed with the war in Afghanistan, so why not do it again? He consulted three generals before he found one who agreed with him that the post-war period would be the real battle, and would require prohibitive numbers of troops and treasure. He wanted a quick in and out victory before the election: “Mission Accomplished”. Never mind the untold thousands of Iraqis who perished and the lives of our men and women, and the creation of a generation of radicalized muslims who have flocked to the banners of Al Qaeda and ISIS. Great job, Bubba Bush.

  2. Sharon

    May 20, 2015 at 8:40 am

    I still remember telling my father that it was Saudi’s flying the airplanes. The truth was there but nobody followed it up.All too many went for the lies!I blame our so-called much vaunted media for covering up the truth.The bloody damned media is letting the Republicans get away with the lies again by Not following up with Bush and Rubio saying it was faulty intelligence. Any one remember Valerie Plame?How the buying of uranium had already proved to have been a lie? How Cheney said the New York Times had the story when he was the one that told Judith Miller to write the story.It goes on and on.Are they going to get away with all the Lies Again?

  3. fixento

    May 20, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    Those of us that lived through the Iraq war and the following inquiries of, “Where’s the chemical weapons?’ know the what happened. Krugman is not correcting conservative history, he’s only correcting what he heard or read on internet. There are many excellent books that cover the war and he’s “corrections” are
    redundant.

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