Friday, December 02, 2005

Krugman: Bullet Points Over Baghdad

Paul Krugman opines on Bush's speech in the NYTimes: "The National Security Council document released this week under the grandiose title 'National Strategy for Victory in Iraq' is neither an analytical report nor a policy statement. It's simply the same old talking points - 'victory in Iraq is a vital U.S. interest'; 'failure is not an option' - repackaged in the style of a slide presentation for a business meeting.

It's an embarrassing piece of work. Yet it's also an important test for the news media. The Bush administration has lost none of its confidence that it can get away with fuzzy math and fuzzy facts - that it won't be called to account for obvious efforts to mislead the public. It's up to journalists to prove that confidence wrong.

Here's an example of how the White House attempts to mislead: the new document assures us that Iraq's economy is doing really well. 'Oil production increased from an average of 1.58 million barrels per day in 2003, to an average of 2.25 million barrels per day in 2004.' The document goes on to concede a 'slight decrease' in production since then.

We're not expected to realize that the daily average for 2003 includes the months just before, during and just after the invasion of Iraq, when its oil industry was basically shut down. As a result, we're not supposed to understand that the real story of Iraq's oil industry is one of unexpected failure: instead of achieving the surge predicted by some of the war's advocates, Iraqi production has rarely matched its prewar level, and has been on a downward trend for the past year.

What about the security situation? During much of 2004, the document tells us: 'Fallujah, Najaf, and Samara were under enemy control. Today, these cities are under Iraqi government control.'"

It goes on from there. Read it if you can.


At 5:40 PM, Blogger mikevotes said...

As always, thanks for putting that up. I'm not gonna pay for a half dozen editorials a day.



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