Tuesday, July 22, 2003
Phantom correction alert: Following in the footsteps of his colleague Maureen Dowd, Paul Krugman, in today's New York Times column corrects an error he made one week ago in his column.
As I noted at the time, Krugman opened his column with the statement:"More than half of the U.S. Army's combat strength is now bogged down in Iraq..."
I noted a Christian Science Monitor report that two months earlier had put the number at "more than one-third." Subsequent contributions by readers to my comments also unearthed a this New York Times article that states that 16 of the Army's 33 active-duty combat brigades are currently in Iraq. Which would be "less than half." (Perhaps a journalist can be expected -- though not excused -- for believing that 16/33 or 48 percent is "more than half," but Krugman was at one time a respected economist.)
So, what does Krugman say in today's column?
Issues of principle aside, the invasion of a country that hadn't attacked us and didn't pose an imminent threat has seriously weakened our military position. Of the Army's 33 combat brigades, 16 are in Iraq; this leaves us ill prepared to cope with genuine threats. [emphasis added]
Corrections to columnists at the Times no longer appear as such. It's outrageous and disappointing. Maureen Dowd's phantom correction drew a lot of attention because it was an anomaly -- newspapers just don't operate that way. If one is an anomaly, two is a trend.