Paul Krugman makes the Quaint case that it matters when the goverment lies to get us into a war.
"We were not lying," a Bush administration official told ABC News. "But it was just a matter of emphasis." The official was referring to the way the administration hyped the threat that Saddam Hussein posed to the United States. According to the ABC report, the real reason for the war was that the administration "wanted to make a statement." And why Iraq? "Officials acknowledge that Saddam had all the requirements to make him, from their standpoint, the perfect target."
Krugman is, of course, talking about the missing WMD. Now, LI was anti-war, just as we are now anti-occupation. But we don't really care that much that the WMD haven't been unconvered. In our humble opinion, the distinction between WMD and W not soMD is bogus - a distinction that is designed to be elastic enough to allow the selling of aircraft designed to deliver nuclear missiles, but shrinks virtuously at the missiles themselves, is conceptually suspect. Krugman's major point is, of course, right: we were duped into this war. But we think the duping was self-administered as much as it was prescribed by the Bush-ites. In this country, the populace can get peculiarly roused to aggression, as long as it can convince itself that it isn't aggression. In this case, the argument moved vaguely from nerve gas and anthrax to 9/11. Of course, that's changed since the fall of Saddam. But if the moment closes in Iraq -- and incidents like Fallaju, where 15 protestors were killed by American troops yesterday , hint at the moment closing in the reddest way -- and the second phase of the war starts, the justification will shift, again, to one of 'defense.'