Thomas Friedman Forgot He Was A Big Supporter of War Criminals

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman appears to have amnesia.

How, he asked in a column of yesterday Times, does the world have to live with a “war criminal-led nation with a seat on the Security Council” when that nation launches an “unprovoked invasion” of another country? What will become the “broad framework” of global peace and security when a superpower with impunity of the United Nations commits atrocities such as “shuttering cities” on its territory? aggression? Friedman suggests that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine created a situation of “similar things that we haven’t known about since 1989 — and possibly 1939.”

I can only assume that the columnist forgot about George W. Bush’s illegal and unprovoked invasion of Iraq in 2003 — and how Friedman himself gave the propaganda cover for that invasion in the pages of New York Times. For several years.

Bush’s justification for invading Iraq is no more coherent than Putin’s bizarre speech about the “demilitarization and demilitarization” of Ukraine. The official theory is that Saddam Hussein may be developing “weapons of mass destruction” and that Iraq’s secular dictator, after decades of brutal repression of Muslim fundamentalists, may not be able to solve the problem. would love to one day share his weapons with his arch-enemies in al Qaeda. And that we can’t afford to think too hard on that idea, don’t bother waiting for meaningful evidence — because in the immortal words of then-Vice President Dick Cheney, ” smoking gun” could be “a mushroom cloud”.

Thomas Friedman had a simpler justification for the invasion.

In a famous 2003 interview with Charlie Rose, Friedman argued that there was a “bubble” in the 1990s where Islamic extremists thought they could get away with terrorism and that the solution was The United States needs to go to “that part of the world” and burst that bubble. “

“Few of Friedman’s readers may remember that he once stated that he ‘regularly started[s] write column ‘by interviewing yourself. I swear I didn’t make this up. He said it. ”

It’s important to pause here for a moment and note the fact that Friedman’s idea was not that we need to specifically attack Iraq. Friedman didn’t even tell Charlie Rose that there was, for example, a link between Iraq and 9/11. Instead, he says, it’s a matter of “they” need to see that Americans don’t care so much about our “cheap and stock options” that we’re not willing to make sacrifices.

What exactly is “them”? Islamic extremists? Muslims in general? Middle East as a region? Friedman threw a very wide net:

“What they need to see are American boys and girls going door to door — from Basra to Baghdad — and basically saying:

“Which part of this sentence do you not understand?: Don’t you think we care about our open society? You think this fantasy — are we going to let it grow? Well, suck. Above. This. That, Charlie, is this war. We can hit Saudi Arabia… We can hit Pakistan. We hit Iraq because we can.”

In his column on the invasion of Ukraine, Friedman describes Vladimir Putin, who had hoped for an easy victory, but had “made too many mistakes”. It’s correct. But I wonder if he remembers his own series of predictions that the “next six months” will be deadly about America’s prospects for delivering a good outcome in Iraq. He said this on 11/30/03, 6/3/04, 10/3/04, 28/11/04, 28/09/05, 28/12/05, 23/06/06, 3/2/06, 23/04/06 and 5/11/06 and that is not an exhaustive list. Friedman was once famous for bolstering the analyzes in his columns with conversations he reportedly had with anonymous taxi drivers in various parts of the world, who were — as a copy. The 2012 synopsis said, “confirms his own view of the world” with “astonishing regularity. You can still check old tweets by long-running parody account named @TaxiWisdom whose profile picture is a close-up of Friedman’s mustache.

Few of Friedman’s readers may remember that he once stated that he “often started”[s] write column” by self-interview.

I swear I didn’t make this up. He said it. I don’t know if he interviewed himself before writing yesterday’s run, or at least before he hit “send”. If he did, I suspect he didn’t think to ask himself whether “the destruction of cities” in Ukraine could bear any resemblance to the “shocking and horrifying” bombings of Ukraine. Iraq during the 2003 invasion or subsequent horrors such as the November 2003 siege of Fallujah. Red Crescent estimates that the US bombardment of that city may have claimed the lives of 6,000 people. . A study eight years later found that more than half of the babies born in Fallujah had birth defects. The researchers point out that the US military’s excessive use of white phosphorus and depleted uranium bombs during the siege were possible culprits.

I don’t imagine he asked himself whether the use of cluster bombs in Iraqi cities could be as much a war crime as their use in Ukrainian cities today, or exactly. What does the world have to do about this provided that the perpetrator is a superpower with a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. These days, I hear a lot about the “what theory”. If this refers to bringing up American crimes while discussing Russian crimes to justify Russian crimes, then I agree that thisism is bad. However, Thomas Friedman’s column vividly demonstrated the cost of never considering such analogies in the first place.

If you want to develop defendable and internally consistent principles for how to think about and deal with the mistakes of the superpowers, you need to think long and hard about the parallels between what you do and what you do. and what the other side does. And even if you don’t mind that, you should at least take a moment to consider such analogies — if only so you don’t end up sounding like an idiot like Thomas Friedman. Thomas Friedman Forgot He Was A Big Supporter of War Criminals

Russell Falcon

Russell Falcon is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Russell Falcon joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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