Paul Krugman’s Non Sequitur on Torture

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As I have written before, Paul Krugman is like that broken clock that tells time correctly twice a day. However, time quickly moves on and the clock is mistaken, just as we see with Krugman.

In today’s column, he writes eloquently about the issue of whether or not the Obama administration should pursue those official who either engaged in torture or permitted or even ordered it. Alas, Krugman then engages in one of his classic non sequiturs, this time tying those who oppose Obama’s disastrous economic policies to those who favor torture.Krugman writes:

But the answer to that is, what political consensus? There are still, alas, a significant number of people in our political life who stand on the side of the torturers. But these are the same people who have been relentless in their efforts to block President Obama’s attempt to deal with our economic crisis and will be equally relentless in their opposition when he endeavors to deal with health care and climate change. The president cannot lose their good will, because they never offered any.

I had no idea that these two things are related, but here it is. If one believes that the administration’s reckless spending is harmful, then one also believes that the Bush administration’s policies on torture were good.

One might compare Krugman’s column to the eloquent piece that Jeff Tucker had in today’s LRC about the movie “Missing.” The difference, of course, is that Jeff’s moral compass does not depend upon the politics of a certain situation; Krugman, on the other hand, does not have a moral compass so much as he has a political compass.

By the way, when it comes to human rights violations of those who Krugman politically supports, however, Krugman suddenly changes the subject. For example, those Branch Davidians massacred by Janet Reno’s storm troopers? Well, they were just “religious fanatics” and “gun nuts” and got what was coming to them. When there were hearings more than a decade ago on the abuses of the IRS, Krugman was there to defend the IRS and to claim that anyone who thought that the IRS was anything but benevolent was a threat to decency.

For that matter, Eric Holder himself had a rather spotty record when he worked in the Clinton-Reno DO(In)J. Paul Craig Roberts has written much about the murder of Kenneth Trentadue in Oklahoma City by federal agents, and the resultant cover-up. The main figure in the cover-up? It was Eric Holder.

However, I am sure that Krugman, if asked about this case, would have an answer for that, too. Trentadue managed to cut his own throat and beat himself before hanging himself. He probably was a “gun nut.” No doubt, he would have opposed Obama’s economic policies, which means he supports torture, etc.

6:43 am on April 24, 2009