"Have no doubt: we punched a fist into the Arab/Muslim world after 9/11, partly to send a message of deterrence, but primarily to destroy two tyrannical regimes."
But "have no doubt" protests too much. Friedman pretends to know more than the evidence knows about why we did what we did to Iraq; but no matter.What matters is that "we punched a fist" into a large generic target ("the Arab/Muslim world"), hoping to kill anything, anywhere. It is the righteous boast of an angry man who is sure he will be forgiven. He doesn’t meet the standards of reason and justice, and he knows it. He feels that he has earned our sympathy none the less. The guy–and the country that he speaks for (as he sees it)–is just blowing off steam. Expressing himself. Sending a message. Friedman loves imperialism with a punch-drunk love.
Weiss adds: Reminds me of this admission by Friedman on Slate in 2004, in justifying his support for the Iraq war:
The real reason for this war—which was never stated—was to burst what I would call the "terrorism bubble," which had built up during the 1990s.
This bubble was a dangerous fantasy, believed by way too many people in the Middle East. This bubble said that it was OK to plow airplanes into the World Trade Center, commit suicide in Israeli pizza parlors, praise people who do these things as "martyrs," and donate money to them through religious charities. This bubble had to be burst, and the only way to do it was to go right into the heart of the Arab world and smash something—to let everyone know that we, too, are ready to fight and die to preserve our open society.
Oh I see Greenwald is on the same case, violent language…