Paul Krugman drew conservative outrage on Sunday when he wrote that the anniversary of 9/11 had become a marker of "shame" for the U.S. (Scroll down for Krugman's new post on the subject.)
The New York Times columnist wrote a blog post called "The Years of Shame," in which he said that "what happened after 9/11" was "deeply shameful." Krugman castigated people like Rudy Giuliani and President Bush as "fake heroes" who exploited the attacks for their own personal, political or military gain. He also said that many in the media had "[lent] their support to the hijacking of the atrocity."
Krugman concluded, "the memory of 9/11 has been irrevocably poisoned; it has become an occasion for shame. And, in its heart, the nation knows it." He said he had turned off the comments on the post "for obvious reasons."
Conservative commentators quickly seized on Krugman's post. Blogger Michelle Malkin called him a "smug coward." Writer Glenn Reynolds called the post "an admission of impotence from a sad and irrelevant little man." A writer at the Big Journalism site called Krugman "vile." And former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced that he was cancelling his subscription to the Times.
However, some progressives defended Krugman. Blogger Glenn Greenwald vociferously backed the post on Twitter.
"Michael Moore & The Dixie Chicks were just as right back then as Krugman is today - but today the taboos (& their enforcers) are much weaker," he wrote.
And, on Crooks & Liars, Nicole Belle said that Krugman was simply telling the truth. "That day was the impetus for us to attack and invade Iraq, a country that had nothing to do with the attacks and posed no threat to us," she wrote. "To date, we've lost 4,752 allied service members in Iraq and over 100,000 Iraqi civilians. How is this not a black mark of shame on the legacy of 9/11?"
UPDATE: Paul Krugman responded to his critics on Monday, writing another blog post about the 9/11 anniversary. He did not apologize for anything he wrote. Rather, he said that "the two years or so after 9/11 were a terrible time in America" and that "I'm not saying anything now that I wasn’t saying in real time back then, when Bush had a sky-high approval rating and any criticism was denounced as treason. And there’s nothing I’ve done in my life of which I’m more proud."
Krugman did say that "the American people behaved remarkably well in the weeks and months after 9/11: There was very little panic, and much more tolerance than one might have feared." But he insisted that "the memory of how the atrocity was abused is and remains a painful one. And it's a story that I, at least, can neither forget nor forgive."
Read the full post here.