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Economist ant NY Times columnist Paul Krugman speaks to The Commonwealth Club of California, in San Francisco. May 22, 2012. (Photo: Ed Ritger/Commonwealth Club/flickr/cc)

Hillary Clinton and Paul Krugman: Fuddy Duddies against Sanders (Life During Wartime)

Howard Friel

I keep reading columns in the New York Times by Paul Krugman about how he is on the outs with Bernie and is in with Hillary. (I don’t know why he loves her like he does.*)

They do sound like soulmates during wartime. Krugman never actually, really opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003, although he had lots of opportunities to do so as the NYT columnist. And, Hillary Clinton, of course, voted in 2002 to invade Iraq when she was the carpet-bagging U.S. senator from New York. She “apologized” for that vote, as Krugman recently wrote. But she’s still a super hawk, and with Ted Cruz the presidential candidate most likely to ignite nuclear war with Russia. And Krugman, a post-invasion critic of the Iraq invasion, now supports the Hawk Democrat for president. (Backsliding! How Do You Do?)

Apologize? Is that it? It was nice of her to apologize and for Krugman to accept; another reason why they’re together. Except that hundreds of thousands (maybe a million) Iraqis were killed. The country itself and its cultural heritage were obliterated, with outcast Saddam Baathists moving on to become founding members of ISIS. Not to mention that an illegal invasion of another country is a “crime against peace” under the Nuremberg Principles. That means it’s a war crime; in fact, the “supreme international crime” under international law. (Stop acting crazy!)

And what is the ongoing total cost of the Iraq invasion to the U.S. public treasury which, according to Clinton and Krugman, can’t afford single-payer universal healthcare or free public universities? At least $3 trillion, per Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes in their definitive estimate. Want more such wars? Vote for the Krugman-backed Clinton, and her neocon, covert-ops State Department cohort of (slippery people).

While Clinton and Krugman have criticized the call from Sanders for universal healthcare, free public universities, fully funded public schools, and badly needed new transportation, energy, and water infrastructure as mostly not affordable, they’ve said nothing about President Obama’s 30-year, $1 trillion nuclear weapons modernization program which, according to Joseph Gerson, would cost “$66,000 a minute for thirty years.” Nor have Clinton or Krugman said much or anything about the annual $1 trillion U.S. federal expenditure for the world’s largest national security state (Pentagon, CIA, NSA, Homeland Security, supplemental war spending) which, using Gerson’s metric, costs taxpayers more than $1.9 million per minute. With Clinton comes even more perpetual war, if that’s possible. (The sound of gunfire, off in the distance, I’m getting used to it now.)

I see broken-down and dilapidated cities, schools, trains, communities, and people all over the place in this country. Here’s my question: The last time I looked at a map of the world, I saw the United States bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the Pacific Ocean to the west, Canada and the Arctic up north, and Mexico, Central America, and South America down south—tell me, again, who is going to invade us and why do we need to spend those trillions on “defense”? Or is this more about “defense” contractors, militarized hi-tech, a bought-and-sold Congress, and a standing army on steroids that the constitutional framers and President Eisenhower warned against? For Clinton and Krugman to give all of this a free pass while mugging free public universities and healthcare is kind of like mugging grand-mom and grand-pop. And they make it all sound like they’re making sense. (Stop making sense!)

A trillion dollars here and a trillion dollars there, and pretty soon we’re talking about serious money. Here’s a modest proposal: why not put it toward something good, like our own people, instead of things that are truly horrific?

We need global nuclear disarmament. (When they split those atoms, it’s hotter than the sun.) We need to stop climate change. (I don’t care how impossible it seems.) The disparagement of the fuddy-duddies about practicalities aside, we need federally-funded universal healthcare and free public universities. (We’ll make it up as we go along.)

And the fuddy-duddy-in-chief should stop lecturing the kids that support Sanders; the kids are right and she is not. It may be about money to her. (Who took the money?) But it’s not about money to them. (Never for money. Always for love.)

*With special thanks to the Talking H‎eads.

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