Golden oldies: Tom Friedman at start of Iraq war telling Arabs to ‘suck on this’

Israel/Palestine
on 37 Comments

I forget this, but Belen Fernandez, author of the new book on Thomas Friedman: Imperial Messenger, reminded me of it today. It’s a video she has made featuring Thomas Friedman on Charlie Rose at the beginning of the Iraq war, explaining the great moral/historical necessity of the war. Because the Arab world had formed the belief that terrorism could bring down the west, from our bond options to television, sayeth Tom, it was a noble thing to see “American boys and girls going from house to house” in Baghdad and Basra telling the Arab world to “suck on this.”

Wow, what a simplistic world view. I don’t think those people ever believed that. Maybe Al Qaeda did. This is pure collective punishment, and racism.

Here is Friedman talking to Avi Shavit about the causes of that war, at about the same time, and being far more thoughtful (Shavit is a wonderful interviewer). Notice the Israel link:

Actually, the Iraq war is a kind of Jenin on a huge scale. Because in Jenin, too, what happened was that the Israelis told the Palestinians, We left you here alone and you played with matches until suddenly you blew up a Passover seder in Netanya. And therefore we are not going to leave you along any longer. We will go from house to house in the Casbah. And from America’s point of view, Saddam’s Iraq is Jenin. This war is a defensive shield. It follows that the danger is the same: that like Israel, America will make the mistake of using only force…

Is the Iraq war the great neoconservative war? It’s the war the neoconservatives wanted, Friedman says. It’s the war the neoconservatives marketed. Those people had an idea to sell when September 11 came, and they sold it. Oh boy, did they sell it. So this is not a war that the masses demanded. This is a war of an elite. Friedman laughs: I could give you the names of 25 people (all of whom are at this moment within a five-block radius of this office) who, if you had exiled them to a desert island a year and a half ago, the Iraq war would not have happened.

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Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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37 Responses

  1. Chaos4700
    November 13, 2011, 12:05 pm

    Well at least we have some honesty here. The United States is adopting Israeli military policy and tactics vis-a-vis attacking Arab civilians, and the people who supported the war make no bones about the fact that Israel was their guiding light in taking the US to war with Iraq.

  2. dumvitaestspesest
    November 13, 2011, 12:10 pm

    It looks like sometimes they do tell us the Truth.
    “Friedman laughs:
    I could give you the names of 25 PEOPLE (all of whom are at this moment within a five-block radius of this office) who, if you had exiled them to a desert island a year and a half ago, the Iraq war WOULD NOT HAVE happened.”
    “An nescis, mi fili, quantilla sapientia mundus regatur?”, (Don’t you know, my son, how little wisdom is needed to rule the world?”.
    Yes, if it takes 25 people to start the war by so called “democratic” country.

    • teta mother me
      November 13, 2011, 1:17 pm

      so where’s that list? Name ‘em and shame ‘em — or better yet, name ‘em and “exile them to a desert island” called Guantanamo.

      1. Paul Wolfowitz
      2. Douglas Feith
      3. Richard Perle
      4. Thomas Friedman
      5. William Kristol
      6. Rauel Marc Gerecht
      7. Dick Cheney
      8. Scooter Libby
      9. …
      10. …

      • eGuard
        November 13, 2011, 5:10 pm

        x. Bush sr.

      • Kathleen
        November 13, 2011, 7:40 pm

        Woolsey, Micheal Rubin, Kagans, Wurmsers, Bolton, “mushroom cloud” Rice, Judy “I was fucking right” Miller,Rumsfeld, Micheal Ledeen. The devil is building a new wing in hell for this psychopathic group

  3. DICKERSON3870
    November 13, 2011, 12:35 pm

    RE: “We will go from house to house in the Casbah.” ~ “Tommy Boy” Friedman

    MY COMMENT: Well isn’t that just too cute! It says a lot about Tom Friedman. I didn’t realize what an immature über-ass he was.
    The Clash of Civilizations?
    The Clash: Rock The Casbah (VIDEO, 03:43) – link to youtube.com
    Rock the Casbah in HEBRON REMIX 2010!!! *NEW* (VIDEO, 01:51) – link to youtube.com

    P.S. REGARDING TOM FRIEDMAN AND HIS ÜBER-MACHO “SUCK ON THIS”, SEE: Israel’s Defense Chief OK’s Hundreds of Israeli Deaths, By Ira Chernus, CommonDreams.org, 11/11/11

    (excerpt)…An essential motive of Zionism from its beginning was a fierce desire to end the centuries of Jewish weakness, to show the world that Jews would no longer be pushed around, that they’d fight back and prove themselves tougher than their enemies. There was more to Zionism than that. But the “pride through strength” piece came to dominate the whole project. Hence the massive Israeli military machine with its nuclear arsenal.
    But you can’t prove that you’re stronger than your enemies unless you’ve also got enemies — or at least believe you’ve got enemies — to fight against. So there has to be a myth of Israel’s insecurity, fueled by an image of vicious anti-semites lurking somewhere out there, for Zionism to work. Since the 1979 Iranian revolution, Iran has gradually risen to the top of Israel oh-so-necessary enemies list. Iranophobia is rampant in Israel, as one Israeli scholar writes, because “Israel needs an existential threat.”
    Anyone who has grown up in Israel, or in the U.S. Jewish community (as I did), and paid attention knows all this…

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – link to commondreams.org

    • DICKERSON3870
      November 13, 2011, 12:52 pm

      P.P.S. REGARDING TOM FRIEDMAN AND HIS ÜBER-MACHO “SUCK ON THIS”, ALSO SEE: How the Power of Myth Keeps Us Mired in War, By Ira Chernus, TomDispatch.com, 01/20/11

      (excerpt)”…White Americans, going back to early colonial
      times, generally assigned the role of ‘bad guys’ to ‘savages’ lurking in the wilderness beyond the borders of our civilized land. Whether they were redskins, commies, terrorists, or the Taliban, the plot has always remained the same.
      Call it the myth of national security — or, more accurately, national insecurity, since
      it always tells us who and what to fear.
      It’s been a mighty (and mighty effective) myth…”

      ENTIRE COMMENTARY – link to tomdispatch.com

      P.P.P.S. The U.S. and Israel’s so-called “shared values”!

      P.P.P.P.S. RE: “So there has to be a myth of Israel’s insecurity, fueled by an image of vicious anti-semites lurking somewhere out there, for Zionism to work.” ~ Chernus
      ALSO SEE THIS DOCUMENTARY: Defamation (2009), by Yoav Shamir, 91 minutes
      “Defamation” can be streamed from Netflix – link to movies.netflix.com
      “Defamation” on YouTube (in 9 parts) – link to youtube.com

    • john h
      November 13, 2011, 1:09 pm

      Good link Dickerson(commondreams) – as usual – thanks.

    • DICKERSON3870
      November 13, 2011, 1:16 pm

      P.P.P.P.P.S. RE: “So there has to be a myth of Israel’s insecurity, fueled by an image of vicious anti-semites lurking somewhere out there, for Zionism to work.” ~ Chernus

      ALSO SEE: Avraham Burg: Israel’s new prophet ~ By Donald Macintyre, The Independent, 1 November 2008
      Avraham Burg was a pillar of the Israeli establishment but his new book is causing a sensation. It argues that Israel is an “abused child” which has become a “violent parent”. And his solutions are radical, as he explains to Donald Macintyre.
      LINK – link to independent.co.uk

  4. dahoit
    November 13, 2011, 12:38 pm

    Another hate diatribe from another alleged civilized idiot.Someway,somehow their will be retribution for all these criminals.

  5. jewishgoyim
    November 13, 2011, 1:37 pm

    There’s a “rule of da hood” component in the neocon worldview. Schoolyard ethics. They are bullies so it is not surprising. Nationalism of their sort is also very infantile. At one point in early life, you’re supposed to grow up, see the bigger picture and stop following a possibly natural instinct toward tribalism. Or you don’t and become vindictive adults like Rachel Abrams or Jennifer Rubin or Tom Friedman (using neocons to make my point here but I don’t see bullies only in this corner).

    I’m surprised that Phil could have forgotten this very juicy little nugget of Friedman. True Friedman “connoisseurs” know it’s one of his best quote!

  6. dumvitaestspesest
    November 13, 2011, 1:38 pm

    BTW .
    What a chutzpa ( unfortunately probably true) it takes to admit blatantly, publically and openly, that it took 25 people to start the war with Iraq.
    What a slap in the cheek given to all “political powers” in the USA.!!!!
    It is like saying: “you all ,dumb/numb, American idiots, you think you live in democracy. So……………………………..dream on. ”
    He ,(Friedman) must have a big ,iron back supporting him to say something like this ,publically.

    • dumvitaestspesest
      November 13, 2011, 2:36 pm

      so ,it looks like, hm.. ,25 people decide the fate of the nation of what?
      Like 309.1 millions?
      And we call it “democracy”???

      • dumvitaestspesest
        November 13, 2011, 4:30 pm

        I guess , I’m the only one here, that is bothered by the fact that 0.0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000025%
        of the country’s population decided, that the country is going to be engaged in the war.
        What is the definition of totalitarian country??

      • Kathleen
        November 13, 2011, 7:42 pm

        I often forget to mention Stephen Hadley..he was a major warmonger who slips through the cracks.

  7. Taxi
    November 13, 2011, 2:02 pm

    Not that I didn’t particularly value the above video, but if every day mondoweiss is gonna have something on either the Dersh or the Tomsh, then it’s only gonna end up as a Class B filthy net-rag.

    And Charlie Rose of course will end up inviting Phil and Adam to his ladeeda-smartypants show cuz they’ll be oh so fascinatingly down and dirty enough for his standards.

    I hate how Charlie’s so cuppacoffee civilized to the most atrocious people on the planet.

    • annie
      November 13, 2011, 2:14 pm

      i don’t agree and think it is important to emphasize how these supposed ‘liberals’ are war mongers.

      • jewishgoyim
        November 14, 2011, 8:20 am

        Yes. It is quite depressing that so few people know. On the other hand, if they did not realize that 10 years ago, it’s kind of difficult to convey almost ten years after the facts.

      • Kathleen
        November 14, 2011, 9:41 am

        this line is finally being drawn

    • Kathleen
      November 13, 2011, 7:44 pm

      I like the Rose show. Although he does not hit hard enough with logical questions. Love when Flynt Leverett took him down a few notches when Rose repeated unsubstantiated claims about Iran

      • Donald
        November 13, 2011, 8:03 pm

        Taxi is right about Rose, though. He loves his war criminals, so long as they are Western. He also has had a longstanding crush on Tom Friedman.

    • MRW
      November 13, 2011, 9:56 pm

      You’re wrong, Taxi (and I LOVE your ass, so this isn’t a put-down, got it?) Weiss and Horowitz BELONG on Rose’s show.

      If I still lived in Manhattan, it would be a done deal. Period.

      One mother-f**king phone call. Chirp. Chirp.

      • Taxi
        November 13, 2011, 11:24 pm

        Hey guys I’m just, as the Brits say, pissing about with Phil and Adam :-)

        But also in truth, I do find the topic of the Dersh and the Tomsh to be eeeew kinda yuky fusty oldy – inconsequential at this point and sooo last century!

      • Citizen
        November 14, 2011, 9:28 am

        Gee, Taxi, you wouldn’t make a very good Nazi hunter. Never Remember!

      • Kathleen
        November 14, 2011, 10:40 am

        good point. All of this “move on, turn the page, next chapter, don’t be about vengeance, witch hunts, retribution” Can you imagine someone saying this to Jewish families or anyone else who lost family members in the Holocaust?

        Will the Iraqi people produce a Simon Weisenthal who hunted down Nazi’s for decades? Will they hunt down those who lied this nation into Iraq and those responsible for all of the death and destruction?

      • Kathleen
        November 14, 2011, 9:42 am

        At least Rose had Leverett on more than any other MSM host have done

  8. seafoid
    November 13, 2011, 4:07 pm

    House to house in Iraq ended up as house to house foreclosure back in the homeland.

    • Kathleen
      November 13, 2011, 7:45 pm

      I’ve talked to quite a few of these “boys” who kicked down some of these doors in Baghdad. Most of them feel ashamed about what they did.

      • Walid
        November 14, 2011, 12:56 am

        Kathleen November 13, 2011 at 7:45 pm:

        “I’ve talked to quite a few of these “boys” who kicked down some of these doors in Baghdad. Most of them feel ashamed about what they did.”

        Kicking down doors and doing house-to-house searches at times using human shields in Iraq was actually taught to American servicemen by Israelis that had mastered the art; the training included the vile practice of targeted assasinations.

        From MSNBC in 2003:

        “… The British newspaper The Guardian recently reported Israeli advisers are training U.S. soldiers at Fort Bragg, N.C.

        Lt. Col. Hans Bush, of the U.S. Army’s Special Operations Command, said there are no Israeli forces “currently teaching Army Special Operations Command forces at Fort Bragg.”

        Last week, a large delegation from the Army Training and Doctrine Command in Fort Monroe, Va., visited Israel. Harvey Perritt, the command’s civilian spokesman, said the meeting was routine, but would not elaborate.

        The Israeli army said in a statement it does not comment on “ongoing strategic cooperation between the U.S. and the Israeli military.”

        But military officials close to the sides, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the meetings focused on lessons learned from Israel’s fighting in the West Bank and Gaza and how to adapt them to Iraq.”

        “… Israeli expert predicts U.S. defeat
        Martin Van Creveld, an Israeli military expert, warned that just as Israel has been unsuccessful in eliminating militant groups and suicide bombers, the United States cannot expect to be victorious in Iraq.

        Van Creveld traveled to Camp Lejeune, N.C., last year to lecture U.S. military officials on the door-to-door fighting that took place in April 2002 in the West Bank refugee camp of Jenin. Twenty-three Israeli soldiers and 52 Palestinians were killed in the battle.

        “They are already doing things that we have been doing for years to no avail, like demolishing buildings … like closing off villages in barbed wire,” Van Creveld said. “The Americans are coming here to try to mimic all kinds of techniques, but it’s not going to do them any good.”

        In Iraq, the Americans have a more difficult task than Israel’s in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Van Creveld said. Iraq is larger, the borders are open and there is almost unlimited access to arms.

        “I don’t see how on earth they (the U.S.) can win. I think this is going to end the same way Vietnam did,” Van Creveld said. “They are going to flee the country hanging on the strings of helicopters,” he added, referring to the 1973 U.S. departure from Saigon.”

        link to msnbc.msn.com

      • Kathleen
        November 14, 2011, 9:40 am

        ““… The British newspaper The Guardian recently reported Israeli advisers are training U.S. soldiers at Fort Bragg, N.C.”

        Yes I have read some of this. But thanks for reminding us.

        Also remember retired Col Janis Karpinski reporting that Israeli agents may have been involved with the Abu Gharib torture.

        link to thepalestinefreevoice.com

        link to en.wikipedia.org
        “In July 2007 Karpinski stated she had evidence Israelis were
        involved in interrogations”

        Karpinski to Cheney
        link to wn.com

      • seafoid
        November 14, 2011, 11:15 am

        Wasn’t there something about wrapping prisoners in Israeli flags?

  9. seafoid
    November 13, 2011, 4:10 pm

    Because the Arab world had formed the belief that terrorism could bring down the west…

    Now we know that Wall St is bringing down the West. No chance of American boys and girls going from house to house in the Hamptons

  10. MRW
    November 13, 2011, 5:25 pm

    This is not a video legacy I would want to leave on the shelf. ;-)

    But it’s so deliciously iconic, isn’t it? It’s what the New York Times said to us at the time when we challenged its truth. Suck. On. This.

    They must have been out having a bottle of Opel. He was incoherent. “You dont think we care about our open society? You think this bubble fantasy we’re just going to let it grow?

  11. Kathleen
    November 13, 2011, 7:04 pm

    “suck on this” Friedman is covered in the Iraqi people’s blood along with American “boys and girls” blood. I clearly remember him all over the place before the invasion along with Bolton, Gaffney, Pollack, Woolsey, Kristol, Frum, the Cheney/ Bush war thugs pushing pushing the lies.

    Do you think Friedman encourages his children to serve in the US military? Fuck no. The man is a very rich yellow bellied chicken hawk.

    • seafoid
      November 14, 2011, 4:13 am

      Suck on this, America

      It wasn’t the Muslims who brought the curtain down on the American dream

      link to vanityfair.com

      “The smart money says the U.S. economy will splinter, with some states thriving, some states not, and all eyes are on California as the nightmare scenario. After a hair-raising visit with former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who explains why the Golden State has cratered, Michael Lewis goes where the buck literally stops—the local level, where the likes of San Jose mayor Chuck Reed and Vallejo fire chief Paige Meyer are trying to avert even worse catastrophes and rethink what it means to be a society.”

  12. yourstruly
    November 13, 2011, 7:05 pm

    the names of 25 people who, had they been exiled somewhere, the iraq war would not have occurred?

    are the infamous 25 also members of the cabal of israel-firsters now promoting an iran war?

    are they registered as foreign lobbyists?

    if not, being that their israel-first treachery endangers u.s. troops in afghanistan as well as national security

    why isn’t the FBI investigating them. and if they’re found to be engaged in treasonous activities, prosecuting them to the letter of the law?

  13. Donald
    November 13, 2011, 8:10 pm

    “Actually, the Iraq war is a kind of Jenin on a huge scale. Because in Jenin, too, what happened was that the Israelis told the Palestinians, We left you here alone and you played with matches until suddenly you blew up a Passover seder in Netanya. And therefore we are not going to leave you along any longer. We will go from house to house in the Casbah. And from America’s point of view, Saddam’s Iraq is Jenin.”

    That’s no better than “Suck on this”. The Israelis didn’t leave the Palestinians alone. Friedman knows that. The Palestinians live under occupation and in the Second Intifada it was the Israelis who were killing civilians in large numbers before the Palestinians used suicide bombing. Palestinian civilian deaths were far higher than Israeli deaths.

    And in Iraq, the sanctions are of no importance to this jerk. Imagine the extreme hysterical reaction that would ensue if somehow Israel or (why not go crazy with the fantasy) the US were subjected to the sort of sanctions regime we inflicted on Iraq.

    Friedman is a person with no moral compass. American liberals, some of them well-intentioned, often don’t understand this. They might agree if one said this about Bush or Cheney, but they can’t or won’t see just how horrible some of our so-called liberal pundits and politicians really are. I suppose it hits too close to home.

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