Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Wasting Time 

The Times Op-Ed Editor must have quite a laugh every couple days when Baghdad Brooks and Paul Krugman appear together on the same page.

Paul K. comes out with another factually precise, well-sourced, reasonable column.

David, of course, reasons with groundless generalizations, per usual, but at least today there are some proper names and mentions something approaching an actual date.

This is the meat of his argument:
If you follow the 9/11 commission, you find yourself in a crowd of Shultzians. The critics savage the Clinton and Bush administrations for not moving aggressively enough against terror. Al Qaeda facilities should have been dismantled before 9/11, the critics say.

Then you look at the debate over Iraq and suddenly you see the same second-guessers posing as Weinbergerians. The U.S. should have been more cautious. We should have had concrete evidence about W.M.D.'s before invading Iraq.

Step back and you see millions of people who will pick up any stick they can to beat the administration. They're perfectly aware of the cruel uncertainties that confront policy makers, but, opportunistically, they ignore them.

...I don't know where to start.

Dave, the difference is that there was "concrete evidence" that Al-Qaeda posed a threat. And that Iraq didn't. So they lied about Iraq. Can you say that without the coded, guarded language? Go on -- try it. It'll feel better.

Also -- we don't fault the Bush administration for not being aggressive enough in fighting Al-Qaeda. We fault them for not doing a goddam thing.

Look, David: They aggressively went after the one everyone knew wasn't a threat and completly ignored the one that everyone with any sense said should be their number one priority. Is that clear?

Despite my best efforts, I don't think I'm drunk enough to talk at David Brooks' level.

Two decades and a national tragedy later, it is hard to find anybody that consistent [as Caspar Weinberger and George Shultz]

Actually, I agree with Brooks 100% on this one. Very few people are as consistently evil as Reagan's cabinet.

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