Wednesday :: May 4, 2005

57% Now Against Iraq War, But Tom Friedman Blames The Muslims


by Steve


Tom Friedman writes his latest “the insurgents are losing” column in this morning’s Times, on the same day that the latest suicide bombing kills over 50 Iraqis in the worst attack since February. Friedman tells us that the spate of bombings in Iraq, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia is a sign of the battle amongst Muslims themselves, between the traditionalists and the rationalists, and is emblematic of a problem that the Muslim world created for itself when it made such bombings an acceptable method of warfare against the Jews. Now, it is being used against fellow Muslims, and to Friedman, these Muslim societies now must reap what they sow.

Sure Tom, and the fact that a western imperial power is occupying a country in the midst of this part of the world with 140,000 troops, and is trying to spread oil-grabbing capitalism at the end of a gun barrel has nothing to do with this problem right now. In Friedman’s rose-colored view of globalization and Bush’s crusade, the insurgents are losing and Bush is little to blame for the chaos in this part of the world that is soon to befall all of us.

But then Friedman closes his piece with a Friedmanesque cover-his-ass qualifier that he is so good at:

So yes, this is a big, deep struggle in Iraq. Yes, the forces of decency and pluralism are slowly winning. But it is not over - not by a long shot. The U.S. Army and the first freely elected Iraqi government still do not control all the terrain there. Unless we can help the Iraqis create a secure environment in their country, and unless their new government can find a way to integrate the more pragmatic Sunni Baathists, and even dejected jihadists, who want to be part of a better future for Iraq, that nation will not see self-sustaining democracy. The bad guys won't win, but neither will the good guys, and all we will have produced is a bloody stalemate.

So Tom, how can it be the fault of the Muslim world that the bombings go on unabated if an occupying imperial power blundered its way into being tied down by, as you describe them, a slowly losing insurgency? How can Bush be held blameless in your worldview if he has consigned Iraqis to a “bloody stalemate”? And how do you square your optimism with the observations of some Israeli defense and intelligence types who now believe that the new Iraqi government intentionally wants a weakened Iraqi national army so that the Kurds and Iran-sponsored Shiites can more easily pursue their own provinces in a partitioned Iraq, something directly contrary to what its neighbors want and unplanned for by the US?

Did I mention that May is shaping up to be our bloodiest month for dead US soldiers in months? Fifteen American soldiers have died in the first 4 days of this month.

Did I also mention that according to the recent Gallup Poll I have been quoting over the last couple of days, while Friedman waxes Jeffersonian about Bush’s noble efforts to bring the blessings of natural-resource grabbing capitalism and democracy to Iraqis, a solid majority (57%) of his own country now thinks invading Iraq was a mistake?

But remember, in Friedmanland, it is the Muslims’ fault that they don’t want the Iraq that George W. Bush has given them. I would ask Mr. Friedman how he thinks 57% of his own countrymen could be so wrong about Iraq?

Did I mention that this poll had more Republicans in it than Democrats?

Steve :: 8:08 AM :: Comments (21) :: Digg It!