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The value of Thomas Friedman

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on 8 Comments

So the New York Times was sponsoring a conference in Saudi Arabia when the genocide (yes, I think the word is deserved) in Yemen is going on, but the apparent murder of a Washington Post columnist is an outrage and this is what causes them to pull out. From an editorial on the Jamal Khashoggi case.

More pressure [on Saudi Arabia] should come from Americans and other foreigners planning to attend a major investor conference in Riyadh this month, which the crown prince is scheduled to attend. The New York Times has already pulled out as a media sponsor; other media companies should follow suit.

It is an outrage, but they must subconsciously think like Tom Friedman, who was stupid enough to come right out and say the murder of his friend was worse than the war in Yemen.

If Jamal has been abducted or murdered by agents of the Saudi government, it will be a disaster for M.B.S. and a tragedy for Saudi Arabia and all the Arab Gulf countries. It would be an unfathomable violation of norms of human decency, worse not in numbers but in principle than even the Yemen war.

To Friedman, the war crimes committed by the Saudis are still possible war crimes, not certainties.

And the Saudi-United Arab Emirates war in Yemen has been so badly botched that the Saudis have been accused of possible war crimes, even though Iran and the Houthi rebels had also contributed mightily to Yemen’s destruction.

That is Friedman’s real value — he is so wrapped up in himself he just blurts these things out, showing how people in our elite class actually think, with the veil ripped away.
He really thinks murdering a friend of his is worse than a genocidal war.
A portion of Johnson’s views were published in the New York Times today as a letter to the editor.
Donald Johnson

Donald Johnson is a regular commenter on this site, as "Donald."

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8 Responses

  1. John O on October 13, 2018, 5:46 pm

    Following my recent analysis of Jeffrey Goldberg’s literary style here a little while ago, I decided to have a look at Friedman’s article “Praying for Jamal Khashoggi” (NYT, 8 October 2018).

    As I noted on a previous thread, Friedman is really fond of the first-person singular pronoun (“I”). In an article of 1,319 words, in 21 paragraphs, he refers to himself 20 times (21 if you count the word “me” as well). This gives a Friedman Index of 0.95. A grateful world already has the Friedman Unit (i.e. “the next six months”), so I humbly submit the Friedman Index for your consideration.

  2. Tuyzentfloot on October 13, 2018, 6:12 pm

    The reason the war on Yemen can now be called a genocide is because Yemen has to import most of its food and Hodeidah is the main port for that. Closing that port in the current situation will quickly lead to massive deaths, and not necessarily in a very visible manner.
    This is not just about Saudi Arabia. UAE has its own people fighting in Yemen .(the saudis rent people)

    Dependency on imported food is the consequence of economic policies in the last generation

    • Maghlawatan on October 14, 2018, 5:12 am

      Yemen had huge population growth over the last 50 years and the water supply was limited. Same thing as in Syria. Population overshot food production capacity. Climate change then reduced food production capacity. The 2 wars are essentially population reduction processes linked to water limits and climate change.

      • Tuyzentfloot on October 15, 2018, 4:03 am

        I’m not sure I understand. Are you now wrongly and casually dismissing the wars in Yemen and Syria, or just in Yemen?

    • Boomer on October 14, 2018, 7:16 am

      re: “the war on Yemen can now be called a genocide ”

      Indeed. And along similar lines:

      “Israel’s Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman has ordered an immediate halt to fuel deliveries headed to the besieged Gaza Strip in response to what he said were attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians, his office announced on Friday.”

  3. Emet on October 14, 2018, 1:02 am

    Freedman gets things right about 50% of the time. For the life of me I do not understand why anyone still listens to him.

  4. Boomer on October 14, 2018, 7:22 am

    I’ve quoted TF’s explanation of why we needed to invade Iraq before, but this seems a good place to repeat it. It illustrates the point you make:

    “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.… What they [Muslims] 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 we care about our open society? You think this bubble fantasy, we’re just going to let it grow? Well, suck on this!” That, Charlie, is what this war was about. We could have hit Saudi Arabia! It was part of that bubble. We could have hit Pakistan. We hit Iraq because we could.”
    Charlie Rose (30 May 2003).

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