No contradiction at all. First of all, I don’t know any Democrats bragging about winning. Most of them think that no matter what we have achieved there, and even if we’d exceeded beyond the wildest expectations, it wouldn’t be worth the money and it wouldn’t be worth the lives. Bring those 100,000 dead Iraqis back to life and the 4,500 soldiers we lost, and heal all the wounded, restore the trillion-plus dollars we wasted, bring back Saddam and put him back in power and back in his palace and I’d take that deal without blinking once. There was no time at any point during the last nine years when the better option would not have been to cut and run. And yes, Reid was right in 2007.
…bring back Saddam and put him back in power and back in his palace and I’d take that deal without blinking once.
For your consideration:
On July 8, 1982, Saddam Hussein was visiting the town of Dujail (50 miles north of Baghdad) when a group of Dawa militants shot at his motorcade. In reprisal for this assassination attempt, the entire town was punished. More than 140 fighting-age men were apprehended and never heard from again. Approximately 1,500 other townspeople, including children, were rounded up and taken to prison, where many were tortured. After a year or more in prison, many were exiled to a southern desert camp. The town itself was destroyed; houses were bulldozed and orchards were demolished.
Officially from February 23 to September 6, 1988 (but often thought to extend from March 1987 to May 1989), Saddam Hussein’s regime carried out the Anfal (Arabic for “spoils”) campaign against the large Kurdish population in northern Iraq. The purpose of the campaign was ostensibly to reassert Iraqi control over the area; however, the real goal was to permanently eliminate the Kurdish problem.
The campaign consisted of eight stages of assault, where up to 200,000 Iraqi troops attacked the area, rounded up civilians, and razed villages. Once rounded up, the civilians were divided into two groups: men from ages of about 13 to 70 and women, children, and elderly men. The men were then shot and buried in mass graves. The women, children, and elderly were taken to relocation camps where conditions were deplorable. In a few areas, especially areas that put up even a little resistance, everyone was killed.
Hundreds of thousands of Kurds fled the area, yet it is estimated that up to 182,000 were killed during the Anfal campaign.
As early as April 1987, the Iraqis used chemical weapons to remove Kurds from their villages in northern Iraq during the Anfal campaign. It is estimated that chemical weapons were used on approximately 40 Kurdish villages, with the largest of these attacks occurring on March 16, 1988 against the Kurdish town of Halabja.
Beginning in the morning on March 16, 1988 and continuing all night, the Iraqis rained down volley after volley of bombs filled with a deadly mixture of mustard gas and nerve agents on Halabja. Immediate effects of the chemicals included blindness, vomiting, blisters, convulsions, and asphyxiation. Approximately 5,000 women, men, and children died within days of the attacks. Long-term effects included permanent blindness, cancer, and birth defects. An estimated 10,000 lived, but live daily with the disfigurement and sicknesses from the chemical weapons.
On August 2, 1990, Iraqi troops invaded the country of Kuwait. The invasion was induced by oil and a large war debt that Iraq owed Kuwait. The six-week, Persian Gulf War pushed Iraqi troops out of Kuwait in 1991. As the Iraqi troops retreated, they were ordered to light oil wells on fire. Over 700 oil wells were lit, burning over one billion barrels of oil and releasing dangerous pollutants into the air. Oil pipelines were also opened, releasing 10 million barrels of oil into the Gulf and tainting many water sources. The fires and the oil spill created a huge environmental disaster.
At the end of the Persian Gulf War in 1991, southern Shiites and northern Kurds rebelled against Hussein’s regime. In retaliation, Iraq brutally suppressed the uprising, killing thousands of Shiites in southern Iraq. At one point, Hussein’s regime killed as many as 2,000 suspected Kurdish rebels every day.
As supposed punishment for supporting the Shiite rebellion in 1991, Saddam Hussein’s regime killed thousands of Marsh Arabs, bulldozed their villages, and systematically ruined their way of life. The Marsh Arabs had lived for thousands of years in the marshlands located in southern Iraq until Iraq built a network of canals, dykes, and dams to divert water away from the marshes. The Marsh Arabs were forced to flee the area, their way of life decimated.
Although most of Hussein’s large-scale atrocities took place during the 1980s and early 1990s, his tenure was also characterized by day-to-day atrocities that attracted less notice. Wartime rhetoric regarding Hussein’s “rape rooms,” death by torture, decisions to slaughter the children of political enemies, and the casual machine-gunning of peaceful protesters accurately reflected the day-to-day policies of Saddam Hussein’s regime. Hussein was no misunderstood despotic “madman.” He was a monster, a butcher, a brutal tyrant, a genocidal racist.
And this is the guy you’d return to power “in the blink of an eye”? And here I was thinking people like you cared about fellow human beings. How silly of me.
I was getting kind of bored today and I was looking for something to do. Then I saw this post and just had to respond.
It’s one thing to say that Paul and other Austrian leaning types were “predicting” the major collapse for a few decades. I think that’s a fair criticism and Krugman brought that up in this column, but it’s another thing to say that Paul was wrong. The Austrians were right about a lot of things pertaining to this collapse (and every economic downturn since the Great Depression). Keynesians on the other hand have been routinely wrong for the last 80 years.
So let’s tackle what Krugman claims to be “GOP Monetary Madness.”
Mr. Paul identifies himself as a believer in “Austrian” economics — a doctrine that it goes without saying rejects John Maynard Keynes but is almost equally vehement in rejecting the ideas of Milton Friedman. For Austrians see “fiat money,” money that is just printed without being backed by gold, as the root of all economic evil, which means that they fiercely oppose the kind of monetary expansion Friedman claimed could have prevented the Great Depression — and which was actually carried out by Ben Bernanke this time around.
Firstly, Milton Friedman isn’t an Austrian economist, so I’m not quite sure why Krugman feels the need to point out why Friedman and Austrians were sometimes contradictory. Secondly, money supply went through a huge monetary expansion in the years preceding the Great Depression. From Murray Rothbard’s (an actual Austrian economist) America’s Great Depression:
Over the entire period of the boom, we find that the money supply increased by $28.0 billion, a 61.8 percent increase over the eight-year period. This is an average annual increase of 7.7 percent, a very sizable degree of inflation. Total bank deposits increased by 51.1 percent, savings and loan shares by 224.3 percent, and net life insurance policy reserves by 113.8 percent. The major increases took place in 1922–1923, late 1924, late 1925, and late 1927.
This inflation all occurred during the boom from 1921 to 1929 (I think Rothbard would argue the Roaring Twenties were roaring partly because of this artificial boom in the business cycle and partly the result of Harding’s “hands off” policy on the depression of 1920). So to say that monetary inflation could have prevented the depression (something Austrians most definitely don’t believe) is kind of a moot point when confronted with how massive the inflation really was.
But Krugman’s main argument is that Paul’s policies would result in another Great Depression. It is true that when the market begins to correct itself unemployment will likely rise, along with interest rates. But the recession is supposed to be the correction. The investment mistakes that led to the crash have to be corrected, which means assets need to liquidate allowing for the market to equilibrate. The alternative is Krugman’s dogmatic plan that if we just spend enough money, on anything, we will eventually spur economic growth into existence from the top down.
The point that originally made me want to address this was that Krugman, a Keyensian, was saying an Austrian’s policies would cause the next Great Depression. This is funny to me because it was the Austrians that predicted the Great Depression and it was the Keyensians that were wrong about virtually everything that had to do with the recovery. It was the Keynesians that predicted massive unemployment when WWII ended. It was the Keynesians that championed the New Deal and the National Recovery Act which ultimately exacerbated the depression into greater heights. It was the Keynesians that imposed trade tariffs and urged the Federal Reserve to continue inflating the currency. The regime uncertainty that permeated from Washington then as it does now is something inherent in the Keynesian system from the new regulations and tax hikes. There really is no limit to just how wrong Keynesians can be.
“There was one good thing about Marx; he was no Keynesian.” —Murray Rothbard