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Angry Ink

Letter to Krugman

A week or so ago, Enron Shill Paul Krugman, Princeton Economist, blindly worshipped by people who ought to know better and prophet to those who refuse to know better, wrote an essay for the New York Times called "What Went Wrong ."(That's a re-post on the Common Dreams website - You have to buy it from the NYT, if you want to see the original essay.)

...As in "what went wrong with Operation Iraqi Freedom?"

Of course, those folks living in the parallel universe of Bill Bradley, John Edwards and Professor Krugman, know that "what went wrong" started on 20 January 2001, ending an eight-year period of peace, tranquility and universal social justice. Exchanged, as they all know, for the last three and a half years under the Overseer's whip.

The Omniscient Krugman told the world in this essay of the absolute failure in Iraq at the hands of the doofusses and mildly-retarded hicks managing American foreign policy. Professor Krugman's Remote Viewing talents (no doubt the CIA couldn't match the NYTime's price) brought to light that the American military are incapable of using toilet paper thanks to the Bush Administration deliberately denying our Fighting Men and Women the instructions they need (must be a cost-savings measure for more tax cuts for those two or three wealthy people who control the various US-regional Latifundia).

My brother-in-law is over there right now, leading some of the finest soldiers I've met; I don't really know where he stands in comparison with the Omniscient Paul Krugman, but his version of the story doesn't agree with the Professor's Vision From the Ivory Tower:

Dear Mr. Krugman:

Thank you for the ponderous dismissal of the war and reconstruction effort in Iraq, as set forth in your editorial "What Went Wrong?"

I found satisfaction in your matter-of-fact tone. I beamed at the liberty with which you invoked the collective Iraqi mindset (as if such a thing existed). I experienced moral validation by the conspicuous absence of specific, viable, alternative political, economic and security plans to the ones now being implemented. Thank you for failing to name any corporate or governmental entity capable of supporting the ongoing military effort in a manner free of fraud, waste or abuse. Similarly, please accept my thanks for failing to note that the need for "outsourcing" lies with the last Administration's neglect of the Nation's military and security structures, particularly in the areas of global force-projection and sustainment.

I am glad that you omitted any substantive ideas about how to mend a country violated by thirty years of institutional corruption, state-sponsored tribal in-fighting, the systematic violation of international law, raw terror and unbridled slaughter. I am grateful for your subliminal resort to the now-tired personification of President Bush as corporate sock puppet. Clever.

Finally, I commend you for bearing the burdens of prescience with such grace and generosity. (Indeed, you must be exhausted. Perhaps you should take the rest of the month off to engage in some self-reflection on the esoterics of guerilla warfare so you can help in that area too. I'm sure the resulting opus would be stupendous.)

I am thankful, you see, because your article makes me appreciate the value of my current work. Were I left to learning about Iraq from insightful, honest thinkers like you - as I was until some months ago, by reading the A Section of the Times during my morning subway commute - then I would know absolutely nothing about the progress that has occurred in Iraq. I concede that that progress has at times faltered due to the efforts of several well-coordinated terrorist organizations (i.e. those whom you identify as Iraq's "important [Iraqi] domestic groups"). Indeed, I am acutely aware of these "groups" and their current contribution to the security environment; they portend very personal, even ultimate, consequences for me and for those in my charge.

Were I home reading your work, I wouldn't know that in many places in Iraq, Sunni and Shia leaders actually agree with each other on many issues, and that they publicly praise, thank and support Coalition military commanders, and the Administration, for the courage of our soldiers and families, and for the freedoms and hopes that the Iraqi people now enjoy for the first time ever in their history.

Further, but for my current position, I wouldn't understand the complex tribal system that for decades stood as a proxy for local government under Saddam. I wouldn't see how that system, to include its infighting, both offers the key and stands as the obstacle to lasting security and prosperity for the Iraqi people. Instead, were it not for my current work, I would be left to understand from learned men like you that the "mess" in Iraq is KBR's fault. Indeed, I probably wouldn't know that there is a war on at all.

Keep up the fine work. If it weren't for people who think in two dimensions, those of us who live in three dimensions wouldn't know how lucky we are.

 

[David Lee Beowulf's Brother-In-Law]

United States Army

Iraq

April 24, 2004

 

P.S. Specialist J___ B___, my battle buddy and the senior radio telephone operator in my infantry company (erstwhile a student of international relations [in a public university in New York), insists that you immediately read the following works: Robert Kaplan's Warrior Politics, Tom Friedman's Tribes with Flags and The Lexus and the Olive Tree. All of these should be available near your desk. He also commends to you the following sources: Peter Mansfield's The Arabs; David Pryce Jones' The Closed Circle; Plato's Republic (see, esp. "The Cave"); James Abbot's Flatland; The Federalist Papers ( Hamilton et al.); The Koran; Machiavelli's The Prince; Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan; Immanuel Kant's A Perpetual Peace; Smith's Wealth of Nations; Mills' On Liberty; Rousseau's The Social Contract; and any solid history of the American experience under the Articles of Confederation and the resulting federal constitutional system.

P.P.S. Please send our greetings to CJC and TLW, whom I know and respect, and to Tom Friedman, whom I just respect. [Ditto JB!]

Image - iraq

Notes: My sister - I have two - forwarded this to those of us in military family's loop. [David Lee Beowulf's Brother-In-Law] wrote it as a venting mechanism after reading Krugman's screed - yes soldiers have access to the media, you did know that, right? Since the NYTimes didn't publish it - well, I'm shocked - it had to run somewhere. I secured permission from the author and explained that I would delete names, places, etc.; let someone else's loose lips sink a ship...

Epilogue: this week it came to my attention (I do not watch 60 Minutes, so I'm late, OK?) that a few US soldiers are committing "atrocities" - I've used scare quotes because the magnitude of these actions does not approach that of My Lai nor those of Saddam Hussein; an accurate comparison would be, oh, an Angstrom to a Parsec. I share the seething outrage expressed by Sgt. Stryker, John Cole and the rest of us who intimately know that these disgraceful actions, actions that bring nothing but shame on the uniform, do not resemble anything at all like the character of the US military, they are the polar opposite of [David Lee Beowulf's Brother-In-Law] and his men.


David Lee Beowulf was Ink Nineteen's Features Editor from 1991 to 2000. He's been there and done that and currently is gainfully employed somewhere in New York City. When he's not fighting the world he's someone else.