Friday, December 19, 2003

Krugman Nails It

Paul Krugman continues to speak the truth:

The capture of Saddam Hussein has produced a great outpouring of relief among both Iraqis and Americans. He’s no longer taunting us from hiding; he was a monster and deserves whatever fate awaits him. But we shouldn’t let war supporters use the occasion of Saddam’s capture to rewrite the recent history of U.S. foreign policy, to draw a veil over the way the nation was misled into war.

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As a practical matter, I suspect that they’ll be disappointed: the only leaders in Iraq with genuine popular followings seem to be Shiite clerics. I also wonder how much real commitment to democracy lies behind the administration’s stirring rhetoric. Does anyone remember that Dick Cheney voted against a resolution calling for Nelson Mandela’s release from prison? As recently as 2000 he defended that vote, saying that the African National Congress “was then perceived as a terrorist organization.”

Which brings me to this week’s other famous prisoner. While the world celebrated the capture of Saddam, a federal appeals court ruled that Jose Padilla must be released from military custody. Mr. Padilla is a U.S. citizen, arrested on American soil, who has been held for 18 months without charges as an “enemy combatant.” The ruling was a stark reminder that the Bush administration, which talks so much about promoting democracy abroad, doesn’t seem very concerned about following democratic rules at home.

Expect shrill screeching from the wingers as they accuse Krugman of yet again being shrill.