New York Times columnist, and Nobel-winning economist, Paul Krugman has been getting grilled today for a post on his blog that expressed his dismay at how the aftermath of 9/11 resulted in a flurry of cynical, greedy, and dishonest politicians who exploited the atrocity for their own political or financial gain. He said in part…
The atrocity should have been a unifying event, but instead it became a wedge issue. Fake heroes like Bernie Kerik, Rudy Giuliani, and, yes, George W. Bush raced to cash in on the horror. And then the attack was used to justify an unrelated war the neocons wanted to fight, for all the wrong reasons.
Krugman correctly labeled these people and policies “shameful,” This set off a resounding assault from arrogant pseudo-patriots, on Fox News and elsewhere, trying to misrepresent Krugman’s thoughts as being somehow disrespectful to the victims and survivors of 9/11. Of course, the opposite is true. It is those who took advantage of the attacks to enrich themselves or advance their agenda who were so despicably disrespectful.
Contrast this with remarks by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani who was asked by CBS anchor Bob Schieffer, “Do you think [9/11] changed the country?” Giuliani replied:
“Sure it changed the country. Mostly in good ways. It made us more realistic about the threat that we faced, I think we have much better intelligence today. I think spiritually we’re stronger.”
Mostly in good ways? Does Giuliani really believe that a renewed sense of unity forged by tragedy is “good” when it cost the lives of 3,000 innocent people on American soil and more than 8,000 American troops (nearly twice the number lost on 9/11), as well as hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians overseas? Is it really “good” that we ran up more than a trillion dollars in debt due to what are now the longest wars in American history? Is it “good” that our Constitution has been violated by legislation like the Patriot Act and repugnant policies that justify torture and other extra-legal acts of war? Does Giuliani really believe that better intelligence and whatever it is that he regards as stronger spirituality is worth all the suffering we’ve endured?
Giuliani is one of those to whom Krugman referred who benefited from the 9/11 attacks. He shaped his whole post-mayoral persona on the tragedy, embarked on expensive political campaigns, published books, and launched a security consulting firm. He is a one-man 9/11 profiteering conglomerate. And he has managed this while bringing nothing useful to table to promote healing. In the same interview with Schieffer, Giuliani bragged that New York City…
“…is bigger, stronger, you know, twice as many people live down here now as before September 11th.”
The stupidity of that comment is all too apparent. If the population of New York City doubled it would bring the city to a standstill. The truth is that the city’s population grew from 8,008,278 in 2000 to 8,175,133 in 2010, according to the Census Department. That’s an increase of only 2.1%. So Giuliani was only off by 97.9%.
The wonder of all of this is how the conservative media can get its feathers all ruffled by Krugman’s perfectly reasonably comments, but have nothing to say about the ignorant and revolting comments by Giuliani. There is no comparison as to which were the more offensive and removed from reality. Giuliani deserves a firm rebuke, and hopefully the media will soon regain consciousness and start doing its job.