Sunday, November 29, 2009

"Crazy, Irrational Beliefs of" Americans (Leaders)

A raving American journalist (lunatic) has spoken as clearly as he possibly can about the US aims in the Mideast (and other close environs), which he knows everything about from his deep political connections, and Charlie Rose treats him as an intelligence guru. My thanks go out to Glenn Greenwald for this brilliant dissection that I've been thinking about rendering (but would never have been anywhere so pithy) since seeing FriedBrain last week on Cholly Rose's festival of economic/political know-nothings. (Emphasis marks added - Ed.)

Tom Friedman, The New York Times, today: Major Hasan may have been mentally unbalanced - I assume anyone who shoots up innocent people is.
Tom Friedman, The Charlie Rose Show, May 30, 2003:
ROSE: Now that the war is over, and there's some difficulty with the peace, was it worth doing?

FRIEDMAN: I think it was unquestionably worth doing, Charlie. I think that, looking back, I now certainly feel I understand more what the war was about . . . . What we needed to do was go over to that part of the world, I'm afraid, and burst that bubble. We needed to go over there basically, and take out a very big stick, right in the heart of that world, and burst that bubble. . . . And what they needed to see was American boys and girls going from house to house, from Basra to Baghdad, and basically saying: which part of this sentence do you understand? You don't think we care about our open society? . . . . Well, Suck. On. This. That, Charlie, was what this war was about. We could have hit Saudi Arabia. It was part of that bubble. Could have hit Pakistan. We hit Iraq because we could. That's the real truth. Tom Friedman, NPR's Talk of the Nation, September 23, 2003 (via NEXIS): That's what I believe ultimately this war was about. And guess what? People there got the message, OK, in the neighborhood. This is a rough neighborhood, and sometimes it takes a 2-by-4 across the side of the head to get that message. Tom Friedman can declare with a straight face that "anyone who shoots up innocent people is . . . mentally imbalanced" without seeing how clearly that applies to himself and those who think like he does. It's that self-absorbed disconnect - seeing Hasan's murder of American soldiers as an act of consummate evil and sickness while refusing to see our own acts in a similar light - that shapes most of our warped political discourse. And note the morality on display here: Hasan attacks soldiers on a military base of a country that has spent the last decade screaming to the world that "we're at war!!," and that's a deranged and evil act, while Friedman cheers for an unprovoked war that killed hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians and displaced millions more - all justified by sick power fantasies, lame Mafia dialogue, and cravings more appropriate for a porno film than a civilized foreign policy - and he's the arbiter of Western reason and sanity. But even worse is the glaring dishonesty driving everything Friedman writes here. Our perpetual war cheerleader today laments that there is a "Narrative" plaguing the Muslim world that is a "cocktail of half-truths, propaganda and outright lies about America." These crazy, stupid, irrational Muslims seem to believe "that America has declared war on Islam, as part of a grand 'American-Crusader-Zionist conspiracy' to keep Muslims down," when the reality is that "U.S. foreign policy has been largely dedicated to rescuing Muslims or trying to help free them from tyranny." They see devastating attacks launched by the U.S. and Israel collectively on six Muslim countries in the last decade (including Gaza) - all of which Friedman (along with his fellow Muslim-condemning NYT colleague) supported, naturally - and those Muslims simply refuse to understand why they deserved it and why it was all for their own Good. According to Friedman, these benighted Muslims simply refuse to see the truth: that our two post-9/11 wars were "primarily to destroy two tyrannical regimes - the Taliban and the Baathists - and to work with Afghans and Iraqis to build a different kind of politics." Six months into the war, Friedman proudly proclaimed that "the real truth" was that we invaded Iraq to take out our "big stick" and tell them to "Suck On This," to take a 2-by-4 across their heads, and that we attacked them "because we could."

In his 2003 explanation with Charlie Rose, did he even mention what he now claims was the war's "primary" purpose: "to destroy two tyrannical regimes . . . and to work with Afghans and Iraqis to build a different kind of politics"? No. In a very rare moment of candor for this rank war-loving propagandist, he announced very clearly the real purpose of the war, only for him to now turn around and accuse Muslims of being blind and hateful because they heard his message loud and clear, and because they don't express enough gratitude for all the gracious Freedom Bombs we've dropped - and continue to drop - on their homes, their villages, their families, their children and their society. Apparently, they heard deranged, chest-beating bellowing like this from America's Top Foreign Policy Expert and took it seriously . . .

UPDATE II: George Orwell, in describing "political speech and writing in our time," perfectly captured what Tom Friedman does and who he is - along with most of our most prominent establishment political writers (see the last comment here).

Read on and decide for yourself whether FriedBrain deserves just to be ignored from now on (and run out of the "leadership" group he so humbly represents on the MSM) or worse. Suzan P.S. Speaking of brilliance - don't miss Driftglass' ineradicable treatment of this strange and deadly phenomenon. ___________________


Reamus said...


Freidman was an idiot when we did Desert Storm and it sequel. I am not sure he ever got to rehab after that since he seems to exhibit the same charateristics here. Intererstingly, he used to get lots o f face time from NPR and others who no longer seem interested in whatever it is he is trying to say.
If I never saw or read him again IO might be lucky.

Good post, thanks.

One Fly said...

He's a piece of shit nobody. Banged the drums of war on Iraq. I/we did not . We were right -he was way fucking wrong. That makes us smarter than him.

Suzan said...

Oh yeah, guys!

Oh yeeeeaaaaahhhh!

I'd like to see that guy buried (by the MSM, of course).

Thanks for the comments!


Beach Bum said...

As someone who use to read Friedman's stuff I find him now about in the same league as Limbaugh.

One of the other things that turned me against him was his stance on free trade and globalization. Okay, I know we cannot protect American industries from all competition but what China and several other nations have done (very much including ourselves) to encourage the transfer of the best paying American manufacturing jobs overseas is damn close to a murder/suicide.

Friedman was wrong about Iraq and he is just as wrong about his precious "flat earth".

Suzan said...

BB, thanks for the comments!

In thinking about your comparison of FriedBrain to Limpthoughts, I have to say I reached a Eureka moment.

I believe that his wrongness about everything has forced him into the righties' corner as he knows that thoughtful people are no longer paying him any attention.

And he's just gotta have that. The billion or so he was worth before the Crash was just not enough.

Don't worry about him though. He'll be back on his feet before we will.

Great analysis!