Tom Friedman Not Sucking It on Iraq War

21 December 2011 — Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting

Today New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman (12/21/11) gives readers a sense of what the Iraq War was all about:

Iraq was always a war of choice. As I never bought the argument that Saddam had nukes that had to be taken out, the decision to go to war stemmed, for me, from a different choice: Could we collaborate with the people of Iraq to change the political trajectory of this pivotal state in the heart of the Arab world and help tilt it and the region onto a democratizing track?

Huh. A collaborative effort with the people of Iraq? Friedman goes on:

But was it a wise choice?

My answer is twofold: ‘No’ and ‘Maybe, sort of, we’ll see.’


Others remember a different Tom Friedman, interviewed by Charlie Rose on May 30, 2003.

‘Now that the war is over,’ Rose began his question–a conclusion widely jumped to in the early days of the war. When asked if invading Iraq was worth it, Friedman responded that it was ‘unquestionably worth doing.’

The war, back then, was an attack on the ‘terrorist bubble,’ which in Friedman’s mind meant that ‘we needed to go over there and take out a very big stick… and there was only one way to do it.’

He went on:

What they needed to see was American boys and girls going house to house, from Basra to Baghdad, and basically saying: ‘Which part of this sentence don’t you understand? You don’t think, you know we care about our open society, you think this bubble fantasy, we’re just gonna to let it grow? Well, suck. On. This.’ That, Charlie, is what this war is about. We could have hit Saudi Arabia; it was part of that bubble. Could have hit Pakistan. We hit Iraq because we could.

The house-to-house, ‘suck on this’ democracy campaign. That’s how it’s normally done.

I guess one great thing about being a Times columnist is that you not only  get to write about the present–you can also re-write your own past.

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