If you're going to try to debunk something, it helps if you're right and the debunkee is wrong. Donald Luskin, the National Review Online columnist, is an Ahab with a white whale named Paul Krugman; he has made taking the Times columnist to task his life's work. In this column, he rails against four Krugman "lies." I'll leave it to others to deal with "lies" #2, #3, and #4 and stick with #1. Luskin writes:
Krugman's first lie about lying is an all-too-familiar sound-byte. In his New York Times column Tuesday, he wrote that "Mr. Bush and his officials portrayed the invasion of Iraq as an urgent response to an imminent threat," and he told Terry Gross [on her NPR show],
... if he says ... that some country is an imminent threat when in fact the evidence points the other way, people in the journalistic profession are very, very reluctant to say, "Hey, he's lying."
Perhaps they are "very, very reluctant" because of the fact that President Bush said exactly the opposite. In his state of the union address this year, Bush was at pains to disclose that the Iraq threat was not imminent, but that a controversial pre-emptive strike was nevertheless justified. Bush said,
Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike?
Gross didn't correct him.
Where in this passage does Bush argue that the threat from Saddam isn't imminent? I see no sign of that.
Here's the passage with the two sentences that follow:
Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option.
Bush says the threat, unannounced now, quite possibly could emerge both "suddenly" and "fully" -- and if it does, it would be "too late" for a response. He's saying action is required now.
So he's not saying the threat isn't imminent -- he's saying it is imminent.
Krugman 1, Luskin 0.