Why did the administration want to invade Iraq, when, as the memo noted, "the case was thin" and Saddam's "W.M.D. capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea, or Iran"? Iraq was perceived as a soft target; a quick victory there, its domestic political advantages aside, could serve as a demonstration of American military might, one that would shock and awe the world.
Krugman writes about the “Downing Street Memo” and then takes it that final step that I cherish so much in my students’ writings, the “so what” factor.
But the Iraq war has, instead, demonstrated the limits of American power, and emboldened our potential enemies. Why should Kim Jong Il fear us, when we can't even secure the road from Baghdad to the airport?
Why indeed o ye fighting 301st keyboarding divisions of the right blogosphere.
The point is that something has to give. We either need a much bigger army - which means a draft - or we need to find a way out of Iraq.
Sorry that Krugman felt the need for the false dichotomy at the end here. There is rarely such a stark fork in the road if reasonable people are trying to reason with other reasonable people. I can forgive this as a rhetorical flourish, but I also acknowledge that Bush and the neocons live in a faith-based reality that neither needs or wishes to be reasonable. With them it’s my way or the highway, love it or leave it. I guess Krugman’s implied point is that if we get backed up into this corner much further we won’t even have stark choices.
BTW: get your fill of Krugman and Frank Rich now because it looks like the NYT is going paid subscription with its columnists and op-ed page. I don’t have fifty bucks a year for that. That’ll end up biting them in the ass. Newspapers continue to dive in “pulp” circulation and this will only serve to drive down web circulation. I guess they have moved Judith Miller to circulation management.