Paul Krugman Sparks Controversy With 9/11 Post

Labels the aftermath "The Years of Shame"

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Paul Krugman Sparks Controversy With 9/11 Post
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The latest blogger to find himself in an internet shitstorm is New York Time’s opinion columnist Paul Krugman. Yesterday morning he posted a short article to his NYT blog, “The Conscience of a Liberal,” that has sparked quite the controversy.

Of course, yesterday was the 10th anniversary of 9/11. And that’s probably why Krugman’s blog post, entitled “The Years of Shame” became such a hot button issue. That’s not to say that the piece would have gone unnoticed if published on a regular day, but the timeliness definitely stoked the fire. And no doubt, that was part of Krugman’s decision.

In the post, he blames “fake heroes” like Rudy Giuliani and George W. bush for using 9/11 for political reason immediately following the attacks. He says that the memory of 9/11 “has been irrevocably poisoned.” The post is pretty short, so here’s the whole post for your perusal –

Is it just me, or are the 9/11 commemorations oddly subdued?

Actually, I don’t think it’s me, and it’s not really that odd.

What happened after 9/11 — and I think even people on the right know this, whether they admit it or not — was deeply shameful. The atrocity should have been a unifying event, but instead it became a wedge issue. Fake heroes like Bernie Kerik, Rudy Giuliani, and, yes, George W. Bush raced to cash in on the horror. And then the attack was used to justify an unrelated war the neocons wanted to fight, for all the wrong reasons.

A lot of other people behaved badly. How many of our professional pundits — people who should have understood very well what was happening — took the easy way out, turning a blind eye to the corruption and lending their support to the hijacking of the atrocity?

The memory of 9/11 has been irrevocably poisoned; it has become an occasion for shame. And in its heart, the nation knows it.

I’m not going to allow comments on this post, for obvious reasons.

The post quickly ignited both the blogosphere and Twitter, with many denouncing the post as “vile,” “treasonous,” and worse. The conservative blog Big Journalism called the posts “venom,” saying it was “sanctimonious and self-righteous.”

Mr. Krugman couldn’t contain his vindictive hatred of the President and had to rush to the “blog of record” to let his venom flow. The sanctimonious and self-righteous tone of Krugman’s post is something we’ve grown used to by now: “and I think even people on the right know this, whether they admit it or not”. But this use of the 9/11 memorial as an occasion to accuse President Bush and Mayor Giuliani of political war profiteering is beyond the pale, even for Krugman.

This tweet from former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld drew a lot of attention –

After reading Krugman’s repugnant piece on 9/11, I cancelled my subscription to the New York Times this AM. 5 hours ago via web · powered by @socialditto

On the flip side, Salon blogger Glenn Greenwald defended Krugman on Twitter, comparing his remarks and the reaction to the Dixie Chicks’ attack of then President Bush’s Iraq war decisions while overseas.

Michael Moore & The Dixie Chicks were just as right back then as Krugman is today – but today the taboos (& their enforcers) are much weaker 21 hours ago via web · powered by @socialditto

Columnist David Weigel also defended Krugman in a post on Slate

On a day when everyone else was flashing back to 9/11/2001, I was flashing back to the days and months later, when criticism of the Bush administration returned, and the practioners of it became, briefly, Emmanuel Goldsteins. Remember Susan Sontag? Remember the Dixie Chicks? Remember the campaign to “revoke the Oscar” from Michael Moore? There hasn’t been much criticism of the substance of Krugman’s remarks; denying that 9/11 and counterterrorism strategy became “wedge issues” is denying a few years of political history. The criticism is of Krugman for expressing it.

Krugman posted a follow-up article of sorts about an hour ago on his NYT blog. In that post, he didn’t back down for his previous post, though he said that he should have made some things clear –

Now, I should have said that the American people behaved remarkably well in the weeks and months after 9/11: There was very little panic, and much more tolerance than one might have feared. Muslims weren’t lynched, and neither were dissenters, and that was something of which we can all be proud.

But the memory of how the atrocity was abused is and remains a painful one. And it’s a story that I, at least, can neither forget nor forgive.

Many feel that Paul Krugman was correct in his characterization of political profiteering following 9/11. Conversely, many feel that his comments were completely untrue and baseless. If you agree with Krugman, do you think that the 9/11 anniversary was the proper time for the comments? If you disagree with Krugman, how has what he said affected you, and your relationship with the New York Times? Let us know in the comments.

[Lead Image Courtesy Forbes]

Paul Krugman Sparks Controversy With 9/11 Post
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  • Nicholas

    I agree with him, and think this was exactly the right time for such a comment. It is important to remind the country to stay strong and not get into panics that lead to poor judgement and actions that are shameful.

  • Duffy Brown

    I think Mr. Krugman was exactly right. I feel the same way. Why can’t he say what he thinks while the real nut jobs like Rush L. and others say absolutely scurilous things with no basis in fact and easily get away with it? I’m sick and tired of phoney balogna “patriotism”. Truth is also patriotic. We love our country and just want better for it!!

  • coach diplock

    The lashing out at our sworn in, voted in, administration during a time of such an historical american tragedy is absolutley unpatriotic. Our countries political leaders were put in a situation that no other president had been in before and just like any political stance you are going to be criticized from both the left and the right… But to come out with remarks as Krugman did with no insight of what kind of a responsibility weighs on our predident when the whole world is watching is shameful…. And Krugman didn“t even allow response to his pathetic blog….. Cowardly and Shameful!!!!

  • Youseff

    Kudos for Krugman! He is exactly correct. “We need writers who fear nothing. (“Our Goal”)” — Yevgeny Zamyatin.

    Most individuals who do as George Bush, Dock Chaney, John Ashcroft, and the rest, we call, the worst names imaginable, and even create a few more. How can it be, that there is not an everyday effort by those who we believe are in charge of this country, or the American justice system (The PONZI SCHEME) system, to have them convicted of war crimes, and sentenced to life In a country who hate them much more than most people in America.

    Having George W. Bush speak at the 9/11 memorial is no different than having anyone convicted of what we call the most awful, cruel murder, let out of prison, to attend the wake of and eulogize the individuals he or she murdered. Yet, America does nothing. Put trust in any government or legal system who lets that happen? You have got to be kidding.

  • D. Van Vechten

    Krugman is the worst kind of liberal self loather, a jilted Keynesian economist whose leftist policies have been exposed as fraudulent trappings. He is a very bitter, very despondent self loather. I doubt that even the grey lady, who is often servicing leftists in the back alley, would have allowed this drivel on her too often tarnished pages.

  • koehj

    Krugman’s blog was totally inappropriate and disrespectful to the memories of those who died. Given the recent history of the New York Times, I have lost all respect for the newspaper.

  • J. Ryan

    I agree with Paul Krugman; in my opinion Bush wanted an excuse to take down Hussein and he found it on 9/11; many of us who disagreed with his action to go to war with Iraq were accused of being unpatriotic; the religious right got in the middle of all this as well so we (the ones who disagreed) were hit from that area as well. A wedge? Absolutely.

  • Bruce Miller

    As with most things, Krugman is neither all wrong nor all right. And, given his natural obnoxiousness, it was no surprise that Krugman would pick the least appropriate time to express such sentiments.
    That said, however, Krugman’s charge that some exploited 9/11 is correct. Kerik was a crook and Bush did lead the charge into two ruinous wars. Guiliani, later tried to exploit 9/11 but it cannot be disputed that he rose to the occasion as mayor during that trying time. Whatever he did later, he deserves our eternal gratitude for his leadership during those dark days. 9/11 also gave rise to the Stalinist Dept of Homeland Security (or Orwellian) and the legions of clueless, blueshirted wastrels at our airports – another nod to the crowd that willingly sacrifices security for freedom and achieves neither. But Krugman also seems oblivious to the fact that it was the big government he so loves that couldn’t even take the rudimentary steps of securing cockpits or banning boxcutters – something even a dimwit could have figured would have added profoundly to airplane security. And, moreover, the 93 WTC bombing took place on Clinton’s watch. Had his administration had the wit to go after bin Laden, 9/11 would not have happened. Krugman can be faulted for being a foul-tempered troll and a bad economist. But his 9/11 missive is not all wrong.

  • Erik Setzer

    Krugman is a hypocrite, as are the people bashing Bush for the wars and not Obama as well. Obama has kept us in both wars and has no plan for leaving, and has at times increased them. Obama’s also talked up starting more wars. He’s at least as war-mongering as Bush. Further, he and the Democrats have kept the DHS and PATRIOT Act going as they were, feeling it’s good to have those things so long as they’re the ones taking advantage of them.

    Shame should be attributed to both Republicans AND Democrats for their actions since 9/11 and to this day. Both are opportunists starting wars and stripping our freedoms. To attack one without referencing the other is simply biased.

  • duckylgf

    I find his comments typical hyper left wing drivel – basically baseless and mean spirited. His timing was strictly to gain attention…”shock jock” tactics at best. He doesn’t want a discussion, he just wants to provoke anger. Shameful behavior from a grown man and supposedly educated man.

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