September 09, 2003
Time to Stop Reading Slate?

Time to stop reading Slate? Perhaps: Don't Commemorate Sept. 11, by ChristopherHitchens I don't see any reason why I would want to read such a headline....

Posted by DeLong at 08:52 PM

March 19, 2003
The Anti-Terrorism Experts Aren't Too Happy Today

"...I'm not positive that there's a consensus (among intelligence services) that deposing Saddam's regime is a bad idea for fighting terror." Meaning what? That there's just an overwhelming majority that thinks it? "I think that there are serious concerns about resources and alienating allies..." Yep. "[B]ut some of us see an upside." The upside I see is that a barbaric, tyrannical, and sadistic Iraqi regime is about to fall, which is likely to be very good news for 20 million Iraqis. But I wish I saw a bigger upside than that. United Press International: Top White House anti-terror boss resigns: By P. Mitchell Prothero | From the Washington Politics & Policy Desk | Published 3/19/2003 5:37 PM | WASHINGTON, March 19 (UPI) -- The top National Security Council official in the war on terror resigned this week for what a NSC spokesman said were personal reasons, but intelligence sources say the move reflects concern that the looming war with Iraq is hurting the fight against terrorism. Rand Beers would not comment for this article, but he and several sources close to him are emphatic that the resignation was not a protest against an invasion of Iraq. But the same sources,...

Posted by DeLong at 09:17 PM

September 13, 2002
Paul Krugman on the "Economic Rationale" for War Against Iraq

Perhaps the stupidest things written about what action should be taken in response to Iraq's flouting of U.N. resolutions on its armaments are Larry Kudlow's cry to invade Iraq to raise the Dow and John Podhoretz's cry to invade Iraq to elect more Republicans to Congress in November. Here Paul Krugman takes on the mostly-whispered claim that a war against Iraq would be "a good thing" for the American economy. Needless to say, policy should rest on whether Saddam Hussein is the successful object of containment policies--a cautious tyrannical madman--or is likely to develop and use weapons that will turn New York or Tel Aviv into abattoirs, not on its effect on the year-over-year growth rate of real GDP. Stocks and Bombs: ...World War II is a very poor model for the economic effects of a new war in the Persian Gulf. On balance, such a war is much more likely to depress than to stimulate our struggling economy. There is nothing magical about military spending it provides no more economic stimulus than the same amount spent on, say, cleaning up toxic waste sites. The reason World War II accomplished what the New Deal could not was simply that...

Posted by DeLong at 11:00 AM

September 01, 2002
So Where Did the Volume Go?

"Gene Healy's another smart person at Cato," an acquaintance said. "He's making powerful arguments that the Bush Administration must acknowledge Congress's power over war and peace in foreign affairs." So I went to read what Gene Healy had written. I was expecting considerable volume: I had read a short piece by him on the "executive arrogance" of the Clinton years, calling Clinton's foreign policy: ...shameful... brazen... abuse of executive authority... contempt for constitutional limits ... Nixonian... the cluster-bomb humanitarianism of the war on Serbia... But the volume turned out to be extremely muted. After all, if Healy really does believe that Clinton's conduct of foreign affairs in Bosnia, Kosovo, Haiti, and Afghanistan was "...shameful... brazen... abuse... contempt," what words must have come to Healy's mind to apply to many aspects of the Bush Administration's conduct of the campaign against terror? Yet somehow none of these words make it into Healy's discourse, which seems rather... milquetoast... by comparison. His arguments may be right--but if it was so important to express them so... forcefully in judging the Clinton Administration, isn't it even more important to express them forcefully today? War with Iraq: Who Decides? February 26, 2002 by Gene Healy Gene Healy...

Posted by DeLong at 07:55 PM

August 15, 2002
Brent Scowcroft Comes Out Against Attacking Iraq

I don't claim to know enough about military affairs to have an informed view on just what, if anything, the U.S. should do further to draw the fangs of Saddam Hussein. I cannot help noticing, however, that the right-wingers who have been beating up on those pleading for caution as lily-livered idealists with no sense of how dangerous the world is now have to beat up on... Brent Scowcroft: WSJ.com - Brent Scowcroft: Don't Attack Saddam: Given Saddam's aggressive regional ambitions, as well as his ruthlessness and unpredictability, it may at some point be wise to remove him from power. Whether and when that point should come ought to depend on overall U.S. national security priorities. Our pre-eminent security priority -- underscored repeatedly by the president -- is the war on terrorism. An attack on Iraq at this time would seriously jeopardize, if not destroy, the global counterterrorist campaign we have undertaken. The United States could certainly defeat the Iraqi military and destroy Saddam's regime. But it would not be a cakewalk. On the contrary, it undoubtedly would be very expensive -- with serious consequences for the U.S. and global economy -- and could as well be bloody. In fact,...

Posted by DeLong at 09:23 AM

July 31, 2002
Nice Things to See on and Above the Ocean

Late Afternoon on the Atlantic Coast It is late afternoon on the Atlantic coast of Virginia, near the Carolina border. The beach is miles long, a forty yard strip of white sand. And overhead... Overhead, a flight of fifteen pelicans goes by, echeloned so that each gets the benefit of the path through the air carved by the one in front of it. The water is 80 degrees or so--truly pleasant. The sun sparkles off the waves. A pod of porpoises frolicks forty or so yards offshore. Somewhere in the marsh, the kingfishers hunt. The seabirds run up and down the beach, staying in front of the surf. And overhead... Overhead, with a roar, four F-18s--at least, I think they are F-18s: they look like F-18s--thunder past less than a thousand feet up. They are beautiful--elegant, graceful, fast--but very, very noisy. For we are more than just at a beautiful Atlantic beach late on a summer afternoon. We are half a mile south of Camp Pendleton, the marine base. We are ten miles from Oceana Naval Air Station. We are forty miles from the headquarters of the United States Atlantic Fleet. All the things I have seen in the past...

Posted by DeLong at 05:19 PM