The Right Coast

February 07, 2004
Hand picked Bush panel presents new challenges to conspiracy theorists
By Tom Smith

Cover up! Whitewash! The four democrats on Bush's panel to investigate pre-Iraq war intelligence do make one wonder what the next Krugmanesque conspiracy theory move will be. Patricia Wald-- secret Republican? secretly a man? A member of Skull and Bones?

Krugman, you may have noticed, is shaking loose a screw or two. He needs to slow down, get the oil changed and all the fluids checked. If you can follow the logic of the latest screed, you are doing better than I. Laurie Mylroie, a friend of Paul Wolfowitz, published a book in which she accused the State Department and CIA of underestimating Iraq's WMD threat. Dun dun dunnnn! And yet (the serious voiceover voice continues) now the White House is claiming they had no choice but to go to war based on the CIA's estimates. Well, two little problems here. First, Laurie is not the White House. She doesn't work for the administration. Yes, she's one of those neo-con, pro-Israel sorts. And she's also Jewish. But you can't automatically attribute her views to all neo-cons, or all Jews. And besides, even if you could, she's probably right. The State department is probably still in denial over 9/11. Are we sure that really happened? Krugman's other devastating point is that Brian Jones, British WMD expert, says his views were not adequately deferred to. Well, then, obviously everybody else must be wrong. Am I getting that right Paul? I guess Brian Jones is sort of the Paul Krugman of the UK. Anybody who disagrees with him is automatically wrong.

Krugman is getting to the point where he is insulting to one's intelligence. People who have never dealt with economists or scientists tend to naively believe that just because they can do advanced math they must be really smart about everything. Not so. Indeed, it is often the case that geniuses have downright nutty views on matters outside their fields. Newton believed in alchemy and all sorts of bizarre non-sense. Einstein's views on world politics were goofy. Leibnitz thought he could reduce everyday decision making to a kind of mathematics (and invented symbolic logic in the process, but still a nutty idea). Here's the news sportsfans. Krugman is a brilliant mathematical economist. On matters of politics, he is quickly coming to resemble that gent from Planter's with the cane and top hat.