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November 28, 2005

Paul Krugman Gets a--Well, It Looks Like a Weblog

There go my chances of getting him to write for the Economists' Voice http://bepress.com/ev/:

Welcome - Krugman - NYT Web Journal : What can you do on the Web that you can't do in print? A lot. There's still no substitute for traditional newspapers, but adding online material can really enhance the overall product. One thing I've often wanted to do is supplement my regular columns with additional information -- charts, tables, links to useful Web sites. So this site will sometimes provide readers with further information, information that didn't fit in print.

I'll also use this site for commentary on issues -- mainly economic and business questions -- that I wish I had space to cover in the print edition, but don't. What's more, this site will give readers a chance to put in their own commentary.

For what it's worth, for me this new Times feature represents a bit of a homecoming. I began my career as an opinion journalist on the Web, as a writer for Slate. And I developed a healthy appreciation for the usefulness of the Internet during the world financial crisis of 1997-1998, when economics Web sites -- including my own -- became a key channel of communication among analysts; things were moving fast, ideas were rapidly changing, and traditional publication was just too slow.

Well, things are still moving fast -- faster than ever. Let's see if this new site helps us all keep up.

Denial and Deception, Revisited - Krugman - NYT Web Journal : I'm trying not to write too much about the Iraq war these days.... [T]here was a long time when I felt I had to speak out, even though I have no special expertise in national security, because it seemed that so few people in major news organizations were willing to say the obvious. But now there are many voices talking... so... it makes sense for me to focus more on the economic issues.... There is one question about Iraq, however, on which I think I can shed some light: Why now?...

Part of the answer is that some new information has emerged about how the White House misrepresented the intelligence it had. But the truth is that by the summer of 2003 there was ample evidence that the administration had deliberately misled the public to promote a war it wanted. So why didn't the public read and hear more about this evidence until very recently? The answer, I'm afraid, is that the polls led the discussion, rather than following it.... I'm sorry to say that I saw it coming. What follows is a column I published... on June 24, 2003....

On the White House Web site, George W. Bush's speech from Oct. 7, 2002 -- in which he made the case for war with Iraq -- bears the headline ''Denial and Deception.'' Indeed. There is no longer any serious doubt that Bush administration officials deceived us into war. The key question now is why so many influential people are in denial, unwilling to admit the obvious.... Leaks from professional intelligence analysts, who are furious over the way their work was abused, have given us a far more complete picture of how America went to war.... Bush sought to convey an impression about the Iraqi threat that was not supported by actual intelligence reports.... [T]here was never any evidence linking Saddam Hussein to Al Qaeda; yet administration officials repeatedly suggested the existence of a link. Supposed evidence of an active Iraqi nuclear program was thoroughly debunked by the administration's own experts; yet administration officials continued to cite that evidence....

[S]ome commentators have suggested that Mr. Bush should be let off the hook as long as there is some interpretation of his prewar statements that is technically true. Really?... Bush's speeches gave the nation a misleading impression about the case for war, close textual analysis showing that he didn't literally say what he seemed to be saying is no excuse. On the contrary, it suggests that he knew that his case couldn't stand close scrutiny....

Other commentators suggest that Mr. Bush may have sincerely believed, despite the lack of evidence, that Saddam was working with Osama and developing nuclear weapons. Actually, that's unlikely: why did he use such evasive wording if he didn't know that he was improving on the truth?... [W]hy are so many people making excuses for Mr. Bush and his officials? Part of the answer... is raw partisanship.... [S]uppose that a politician -- or a journalist -- admits to himself that Mr. Bush bamboozled the nation into war.... [Y]ou have a moral obligation to demand accountability... in the face of a country not yet ready to believe that its leaders have exploited 9/11 for political gain. It's a scary prospect.

Impeach George W. Bush. Impeach him now. Impeach Richard Cheney too.

Posted by DeLong at November 28, 2005 12:15 PM