The meaning of Friedman
Friedman's column from Sunday April 27, 2003 "The Meaning of a Skull
" is pretty good. In it, he argues effectively that America's war against Saddam was justified even if no weapons of mass destruction are found.
Whether you were for or against this war, whether you preferred that the war be done with the U.N.'s approval or without it, you have to feel good that right has triumphed over wrong. America did the right thing here. It toppled one of the most evil regimes on the face of the earth, and I don't think we know even a fraction of how deep that evil went. Fair-minded people have to acknowledge that. Who cares if we now find some buried barrels of poison? Do they carry more moral weight than those buried skulls? No way.
That's well and good.
But as with most of Friedman's columns, he manages to tarnish this cogent thought by explaining that it's hard for Democrats to be excited because now Bush and Rove will "drive through a radical conservative agenda." Worse still, Democrats and administration critics have found that they'll be labelled unpatriotic for criticizing the administration.
And when you look at the way war critics — from the Dixie Chicks to Tom Daschle — have been savaged by conservatives, it feels as if some people want to use this war to create a multiparty democracy in Iraq and a one-party state in America.
Give me a break. Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks spoke up, as was her right (in England.) Country music fans either destroyed their copies of Dixie Chicks albums or won't buy them anymore. That's democracy for you. How Friedman purposely confuses criticism with repression is beyond me. But even when he's right, Thomas Friedman feels the need to take gratuitous shots at the Republicans or Israel or some other source of evil in his little world. It's a shame because he clearly has talent. He just chooses to squander it so he can be a hit man for the Democratic party.
He said it
It's good to be back at blogging. While I was away others have been taking shots at Friedman. Here's a nice piece from the Wall Street Journal on war critics
. Thomas has a place of honor in the next to last entry.
Thomas Friedman call your Shrink
As I've often noticed, Friedman has an obsession with Israeli "settlements." They, and not money, are the root of all evil for our intrepid columnist. So in Sunday's column
he finds lessons for America to learn from Israel's occupation of Judea and Samaria.
Israel has been trying to get rid of Yasir Arafat for years, but it was a legitimate process, managed by the Palestinian legislature, that last month produced the first legitimate alternative: the first Palestinian prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas.
Now aside from the question of how legitmate the process was or if Abbas even represents much of a departure
from Arafat, let's accept Friedman's premise that this is a good thing. Did it come about because the PLC simply decided that Arafat was immoral, or a terrorist or had led his people to ruin? Well no. It had everything to do with America showing resolve and telling the Palestinians that the gig was up. Arafat was not legitimate; go find someone else.
I'm still curious what Friedman thinks was legitimate about the process anyway? There was no election.
That's been a core problem with the Israeli-Palesitinian peace process. People in the media, government and the diplomatic core are unwilling to say the truth about Arafat and his cohorts. Anyone undiplomatic enough
to point these things out is labelled an extremist or Likudnik and dismissed out of hand.
It's true that Friedman came down hard on Arafat after the Camp David fiasco of 2000 but two paragraphs earlier shows, he seems to have forgotten that.
Mr. Bush should visit the West Bank. It is a cautionary tale of an occupation gone wrong. It is a miserable landscape of settlements, bypass roads, barbed wire and cement walls. Why? Because the Israeli and Palestinian mainstreams spent the last 36 years, since Israel's victory in 1967, avoiding any clear decision over how to govern this land. So those extremists who had a clear idea, like the settlers and Hamas, hijacked the situation and drove the agenda.
If my math is correct 36 years brings us to 2003. It's as if 2000 never happened. Ehud Barak was the perfect Israeli PM by Friedman's standards, yet his efforts are simply forgotten by a man who pretends to be the world's greatest living expert on the Middle East.
Furthermore, settlers build and Hamas (not to mention the PA) destroy, this equivalence is absolutely repugnant. But that's Friedman's obsession.
He really needs to see someone about it.
Cross-Posted on Doubting Thomas