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Hoisted from the Archives: Moral Fault Attaches to Anybody Who Pays Money to or Boosts the Influence of the _New York Times

Summary:
There are many, many reasons why moral fault attaches to anybody who pays money to or boosts the influence of the New York Times. This is one: Thomas L. Friedman (2003): Because We Could: "The failure of the Bush team to produce any weapons of mass destruction (W.M.D.'s) in Iraq is becoming a big, big story. But is it the real story we should be concerned with? No. It was the wrong issue before the war, and it's the wrong issue now. Why? Because there were actually four reasons for this war: the real reason, the right reason, the moral reason and the stated reason... ...The ''real reason'' for this war, which was never stated, was that after 9/11 America needed to hit someone in the Arab-Muslim world. Afghanistan wasn't enough. Because a terrorism bubble had built up over there—a

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There are many, many reasons why moral fault attaches to anybody who pays money to or boosts the influence of the New York Times. This is one: Thomas L. Friedman (2003): Because We Could: "The failure of the Bush team to produce any weapons of mass destruction (W.M.D.'s) in Iraq is becoming a big, big story. But is it the real story we should be concerned with? No. It was the wrong issue before the war, and it's the wrong issue now. Why? Because there were actually four reasons for this war: the real reason, the right reason, the moral reason and the stated reason...

...The ''real reason'' for this war, which was never stated, was that after 9/11 America needed to hit someone in the Arab-Muslim world. Afghanistan wasn't enough. Because a terrorism bubble had built up over there—a bubble that posed a real threat to the open societies of the West and needed to be punctured. This terrorism bubble said that plowing airplanes into the World Trade Center was O.K., having Muslim preachers say it was O.K. was O.K., having state-run newspapers call people who did such things ''martyrs'' was O.K. and allowing Muslim charities to raise money for such ''martyrs'' was O.K. Not only was all this seen as O.K., there was a feeling among radical Muslims that suicide bombing would level the balance of power between the Arab world and the West, because we had gone soft and their activists were ready to die.

The only way to puncture that bubble was for American soldiers, men and women, to go into the heart of the Arab-Muslim world, house to house, and make clear that we are ready to kill, and to die, to prevent our open society from being undermined by this terrorism bubble. Smashing Saudi Arabia or Syria would have been fine. But we hit Saddam for one simple reason: because we could, and because he deserved it and because he was right in the heart of that world. And don't believe the nonsense that this had no effect. Every neighboring government -- and 98 percent of terrorism is about what governments let happen -- got the message. If you talk to U.S. soldiers in Iraq they will tell you this is what the war was about...

#journamalism #noted #2020-06-04
Bradford DeLong
J. Bradford DeLong is Professor of Economics at the University of California at Berkeley and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He was Deputy Assistant US Treasury Secretary during the Clinton Administration, where he was heavily involved in budget and trade negotiations. His role in designing the bailout of Mexico during the 1994 peso crisis placed him at the forefront of Latin America’s transformation into a region of open economies, and cemented his stature as a leading voice in economic-policy debates.

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