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‘I would do it again’ — Tom Friedman stands by support for Iraq War in ‘personal crusade’ to change Arab world

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New York Times columnist Tom Friedman says the Iraq war worked out for the best and he stands by his decision to support it in his “personal crusade” to bring pluralism to the Arab world.

On stage at Temple Emanu-El in New York in September (video of which was posted this month), Friedman said that Arab pluralism is good for Israel, and assured the audience that “Israel had me at hello” — at 9 years old in 1962 — and he will never abandon the Jewish state. Though he worries that the next generation of Times columnists won’t be so committed.

Describing his personal crusade, Friedman began with an anecdote.

“I don’t really give interviews any more because they always end up with the charge sheet.” But his British publisher lately prevailed on him to give an interview in London, and sure enough, the journalist wound up: “You supported the Iraq war, you supported MbS’s reforms [Mohammad bin Salman in Saudi Arabia], and you were too excited about the Arab spring.”

Friedman got up and told the journalist it was such a big question, he’d answer by email. He went on:

Think of what you just asked me. You said I was too excited to get rid of one Arab dictator, I was too willing to tolerate another Arab dictator, and I was way too excited about the prospect of getting rid of all the Arab dictators…. You don’t see the throughline…

The throughline for me is wherever I saw a chance to open the door of pluralism in that part of the world, I got behind it. Because guess what, perfect is not on the menu, alright? And so every time I saw a crack– maybe we can partner with Iraqis to bring some kind of multicultural pluralism to this place, albeit as crazy as that may seem. Actually, Iraq is doing amazing stuff today, by the way, but don’t tell anybody. OK? After its third free and fair election.

Maybe we can open the crack in Saudi Arabia to a little religious and gender pluralism. And maybe we can open a crack across the Arab world to it, because if the Arab world doesn’t find its way to gender pluralism, education pluralism, political pluralism– it’s actually going to die. It’s going to go over a cliff, and Israel is going to be surrounded by complete and utter fauda [chaos].

Friedman said he became an interventionist after 9/11. For years, America had treated the Arab world as a collection of gas stations. The deal was, keep your prices low and your pumps open and don’t bother the Jews too much and you can miseducate your children and oppress women, publish crazy conspiracy theories in newspapers, and preach crazy ideas in mosques.

My view was that on 9/11 we got hit with the distilled essence of all the pathologies going on out back. And ever since 9/11 my personal crusade and project has been wherever I can support and get behind cracks in pluralism in that part of the world, I got behind it. I took all the criticism. I never did [prayer in Hebrew as he beats his breast] “Please let me write for the liberal press again.” I know just what I was doing, why I was doing it, I was a consenting adult. And I would do it again.

He said he worries that young Americans’ hostility toward Israel will direct Democratic Party positioning.

Young Democrats are increasingly woke on two issues, BDS and MbS… If you get a liberal progressive Democrat as president of the United States that is influenced by and influencing where the mood is of where young Democrats are today, I think you can get a very discontinuous relationship between the United States and Israel…

Friedman warned that among young people there is “a lot of energy behind the BDS movement” and hostility against MbS/Saudi Arabia in the wake of the “despicable murder of Jamal Khashoggi.” And btw in the Khashoggi context, he said, Everybody does bad things.

Asked by Abigail Pogrebin if he ever succumbs to Jewish “fatigue” over Israel’s failures/problems, Friedman said he does, but don’t worry folks, he fell in love with Israel when he was young and will stick by it. And so will the New York Times! But he worries about the next generation.

I was in Beijing… I was driving to the airport. Just as I was coming in an El Al plane landed… And I just thought, what an amazing time to be alive as a Jew in this era of the Jewish state when an El Al plane flies from Tel Aviv to Beijing. And I still get a buzz out of that. OK? And I know about that fatigue. I feel it some time myself. But I never feel it when I’m in Israel.

What does worry me most is– I met Abe Foxman in Herzl [Zionist Jewish] camp in Webster, Wisconsin, in 1962. We reenacted the Dreyfus trial every summer. Twice I was the French officer who got to rip his epaulets off and break his sword, OK?

Israel had me at hello. Whatever you think folks– don’t worry. In times of crisis, I know where I will be. When the Jewish state is under threat–

But I worry about– I’m 66, I’ve been the foreign affairs columnist [at the New York Times] for 21 years– what about the next generation? Will the next foreign affairs columnist– we got David Brooks, we got Bret Stephens, we’re all sort of the same generation, one that socialized in a different era– Will they [the next foreign affairs columnist] get that buzz when they see an El Al plane landing in Beijing? That’s what worries me.

This week the Watson Institue released its latest figures on the costs of U.S. intervention in the Middle East. $6.8 trillion that some Democratic candidates think could have been used better elsewhere. 800,000 deaths directly and several times that number indirectly.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of Mondoweiss.net and founded the site in 2005-06.

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45 Responses

  1. HarryLaw on November 22, 2019, 5:38 pm

    What a clown, one million dead Iraqi’s and a decimated infrastructure, that equals Sec of State Madeline Albright who said in the context of US sanctions regarding the estimate in a 1995 U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization report that 567,000 Iraqi children under the age of five had died as a result of the sanctions. “That the price was worth it” What a monster.
    As for pluralism in the Arab world Friedman should look first at his beloved Apartheid state Israel, and the millions of Palestinians this state treats like animals, two million of whom are locked in a huge cage called Gaza.

    • Misterioso on November 23, 2019, 3:19 pm

      Thomas Friedman suffers from a major disadvantage or affliction when analyzing events in the Middle East. The “Arab street” views him as an utter fraud without comprehension of their culture or understanding of their over 100 years of immense suffering at the hands of Britain, France, Italy, America, etc. and of course, the racist, fascistic, expansionist entity referred to as “Israel.” In short, he is a dedicated Zionist and consequently, cannot or refuses to see things as they really are.

      The good news is that he is becoming increasingly irrelevant.

      • annie on November 23, 2019, 4:40 pm

        he ran out of friedman units.

  2. Donald on November 22, 2019, 6:08 pm

    Everyone in the foreign policy establishment feels exactly the same way, though, especially if they are politicians running for something, they may feign regret about how many Americans died in Iraq.

    I’ve had Richard Seymou’s book “ The Liberal Defense of Murder” sitting unread on my shelf for awhile. I should read it. I gather it is a centuries long history of how Western liberals have justified imperialism as a humanitarian undertaking. Zionism fits in nicely under that umbrella.

    It figures Friedman likes Bret Stephens. They both endorsed the shooting of Gazan protestors. More humanitarianism.

    • philweiss on November 24, 2019, 11:09 am

      This is cynical (objectively) and, I hope, wrong.
      Otoh it’s true that Few have suffered career damage for supporting the Iraq war, which is to say, the powers that be don’t think that requires an accounting, many would do it again.
      Otoh, Hillary lost in 08 over this; Slate published a dialogue about We were wrong, between Jake Weisberg Friedman Berman and Packer, as I remember it, in which there were some confessions of error and remorse over same. And though Schiff makes me wince when he calls the US the indispensable nation, I dont think US behavior has been As Bad as Iraq in the last 10 years. Friedman is completely unrecontructed, the establishment is not completely un…
      I supported the Libya intervention. I was wrong and have said as much and taken some (intellectual) responsibility for the error. And I believe some of these establishmentarians aren’t complete hard cases

      • philweiss on November 24, 2019, 11:13 am

        And PS I find Friedman’s comments shocking. I thought maybe he would catch a clue on a number of questions here. He hasn’t. He still wants to smash something in the Arab world and tell them to suck on this. Morevoer, he confesses his old school Zionism proudly and wink-winks to the audience that when Israel needs him, he’ll be there. And so will the Times….
        James North tells me I’m naive to be surprised. OK, maybe I am; but I’m surprised by the naked embrace of neoconservatism here, Bret Stephens, and it’s a reminder to me that Neoconservatism is simply the harder flavor in Jewish Zionist intellectual culture, and liberal Zionists blend in when they need to. Which is why Peace Now has never left the AIPAC board, out of a communitarian impulse, rather than a principled one…

      • Mooser on November 24, 2019, 1:11 pm

        ” I thought maybe he would catch a clue”

        He’s gone stale.

      • eljay on November 24, 2019, 2:27 pm

        || philweiss: … [Friedman] still wants to smash something in the Arab world and tell them to suck on this. … ||

        The wet dreams of Zionists and neocons.

      • Donald on November 24, 2019, 3:49 pm

        You’re overly optimistic, as always. You thought Obama represented some sort of profound change. He wasn’t.

        All the mainstream learned from Iraq was that sending hundreds of thousands of Americans into a ground war turns out to be unpopular if the war doesn’t end in a quick victory. So then they decided to stick to proxy wars in Libya, Syria, and Yemen. All disastrous for the people living there.

        The Democrats have turned against the war in Yemen though they waited until it was safe to pretend it was Trump’s war, knowing the press would let them do it. Libya is totally forgotten. Syria is treated as a case where we didn’t intervene, which is a cynical Orwellian lie. We intervened on a massive scale, via arms shipments, and then pretended the long bloody result was entirely the fault of Assad.

        I am not a Tulsi supporter, but the criticism of her as a dictator lover by most mainstream Democrats is an exact parallel to the criticisms of antiwar protestors in 2003. If you opposed the invasion of Iraq and wanted talks with Saddam then you were a Saddam lover. Democrats are repeating exactly that argument against Gabbard. Whether one supports Gabbard is irrelevant. Their criticism shows that the Democrats have not changed in an fundamental way. They are antiwar when it suits their political purposes— when they can blame a Republican in a way that doesn’t leave them exposed. Notice that they didn’t criticize Trump for the increased civilian casualties that stemmed from our bombing of Mosul and Raqqa under Trump— this is because you can’t criticize Trump on this without implicitly criticizing the military which carried out his orders and systematically undercounts civilian casualties. You would be talking about our war machine and not simply one very corrupt individual.

        This post is already too long or I’d talk about liberal hypocrisy on Bolivia and Venezuela.

        You have tunnel vision because you focus on Israel and Palestine and the Israel Lobby. I have news for you. If Israel and its lobby never existed, US foreign policy would still be imperialistic. The details of how this worked out in the Mideast would be different, but we would still be supporting dictators, murderous “ freedom fighters” and imposing brutal sanctions on governments that didn’t toe our line and then placing the blame for the suffering on the governments we didn’t like. And liberals would claim we had only the best of intentions.

      • Keith on November 24, 2019, 4:52 pm

        PHIL- “Which is why Peace Now has never left the AIPAC board, out of a communitarian impulse, rather than a principled one…”

        I suspect that the same could be said about you and loyalty to the Democratic Party and/or Democrats in general. For starters, rhetorical misrepresentations aside, there is nothing progressive about the Democratic Party or those who support it. Nothing. The Democrats have merged with the Deep State and Wall Street to advance imperial interests, Soros a driving force behind Democratic Russophobia. I hold the Democrats as most responsible for the Yeltsin era destruction of Russia, and for the current Ukraine disaster.

      • eljay on November 24, 2019, 5:12 pm

        || Donald on November 24, 2019, 3:49 pm ||

        Dead on and beautifully said, Donald.

      • Donald on November 24, 2019, 6:18 pm

        Eljay—thanks.

        I forgot to comment on this—

        “ Otoh, Hillary lost in 08 over this; Slate published a dialogue about We were wrong, between Jake Weisberg Friedman Berman and Packer, as I remember it, in which there were some confessions of error and remorse over same. ”

        Yeah, very convincing. Btw, this is why Friedman is so valuable. He just exposes what the establishment really thinks. He has no filter. He has no sense that after hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died , along with thousands of Americans, you have to claim that you have learned your lesson before you can go ahead and advocate similar policies later on.

        Yes, Democrats supported Obama and criticized Hillary, though it was a close race between them if I recall correctly.. But at that time Iraq was seen as a weapon to be used against Republicans. It was Bush’s war and that argument could not be used by Clinton in a campaign against McCain since she supported the war as he did. There was a NYT story in 2007 or 2008 about how the Clinton campaign was trying to decide if she should admit she was wrong.

        8 years later and Clinton is now the great foreign policy genius. She supported and pushed for the Libyan intervention, she wanted a hard line on Syria and spoke of a no fly zone, which American generals said would involve massive bombing of Syrian military forces, possibly killing Russians. And this is the person the Democratic establishment said had such vast experience in foreign policy and they can’t forgive Sanders for running against her or Wikileaks for revealing how much the DNC did to tip the scales in her favor.

        Yeah, Phil, that liberal establishment really seems broken up over their teensy little well-intentioned misjudgment in Iraq.

      • echinococcus on November 25, 2019, 12:29 am

        “I supported the Libya intervention. I was wrong and have said as much and taken some (intellectual) responsibility for the error.”

        Yes, Mr Weiss, you said as much and that is to your credit — but every word you write continues to show that you still don’t get why you were wrong.

      • Tuyzentfloot on November 25, 2019, 9:19 am

        I recommend Jean Bricmont on Humanitarian Imperialism .
        It is perfectly fine for progressives to be concerned about misery and oppression in other countries. There has been an evolution however that progressives have become more open to the idea that empire should intervene in other countries and save those people. Anti-imperialists consider that a very bad idea in general.
        Likewise progressives have nearly unanimous support for western agents nurturing separatism , that minorities or region can completely disregard the interests of the state they belong to and independently go their own way, and that this should be allowed to go on until the competing states are fragmented in many statelets.

      • Mooser on November 25, 2019, 12:11 pm

        Shorter Tuyzentfloot: ‘NATO should be ended. And US treaties abrogated, and leave Russia alone.’

      • Mooser on November 25, 2019, 12:21 pm

        “I hold the Democrats as most responsible for the Yeltsin era destruction of Russia, and for the current Ukraine disaster.”
        “Keith”

        “Keith”, you are really outstanding in your field. Like Devin Nunes’ cow, you’re always ready for a load of bull.

        Hey, but you should really show all that evidence about the “Democrats as most responsible for the Yeltsin era destruction of Russia” to the Republicans!! Maybe they can use it against the Democrats in the 2020 election. (Or is that the ‘insurance” that Giuliani has in his safe?!?)

        BTW Seen today’s news?

      • Keith on November 25, 2019, 2:24 pm

        MOOSER- “Hey, but you should really show all that evidence about the “Democrats as most responsible for the Yeltsin era destruction of Russia” to the Republicans!!”

        Why, when it is so much more fun to taunt you with reality. I understand the logic to your irrationality, but do you understand the irrationality of your logic? You must be proud at being able to give the Zionists a lesson in pilpul. The Yeltsin disaster was during the Clinton administration. You know, the guy who expanded NATO. Below is a link to an interview of Mark Ames by Abby Martin which describes in detail what occurred. And the Ukraine “color revolution” was during the Obama administration, Hillary was Secretary of State and Victoria Nuland Assistant Secretary of State for Europe. This is all well known history, yet you are in deep denial. Phil admits he was wrong about Libya, but Mooser follows Roy Cohn’s advice and never admits that the Democrats have been seduced by the dark side of the force.

        Abby Martin – Mark Ames Russia interview (27 min)- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7HwvFyMg7A

        “Since 2014, it’s been glaringly obvious to astute (and honest) observers that the Administration of Barack Obama and Joe Biden supported the most vicious street mobs in Europe, people who considered themselves proud fascists. Western media routinely censored this part of the story. Obama’s Assistant Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland, made deals with their leaders and was caught on an open phone line handpicking the next unelected leader of Ukraine, someone they could sell to the US public: “Yats is the guy.”
        ….
        America’s proxy terrorists burned Kiev, seized power violently, and through the power of the purse strings, Obama’s Administration installed friendly-faced fascists, who immediately set about attacking their countrymen in the east, with a policy of mass murder and indiscriminate bombings. Eastern provinces of Crimea and Donetsk, which notably had supported the ousted president, held referenda. The people there voted overwhelmingly to secede from the illegitimate, unelected, foreign-sponsored coup regime in Kiev.”
        (Joe Giambrone) https://dissidentvoice.org/2019/11/ukrainegate-13000-times-worse-than-you-think/#more-98960

      • echinococcus on November 25, 2019, 2:31 pm

        Tuyzentfloot,

        It’s high time for starting the systematic use of quotation marks.
        Quote marks around whatever these criminal clowns call themselves, be it “progressive”, “left”, “woke”, or even “liberal”. Foot soldiers of finance capital and aggression wwho feel “progressive” for ensuring that transvestites have the right of becoming uniformed murderers, or “leftist” because they would like larger crumbs from the war profits, or “liberal” for reserving speech to themselves while they they now openly champion censorship of any speech that offends the alphabet-soup deep state spy outfits they are openly collaborating with (and now publicly praising.)

        This said, if and when such Empire warriors individually happen to support Palestinian resistance or the fight against Zionism, for whichever reason of their own, fine, more power to them as far as they move in the right direction. Just like religious or racial fanatics who happen to oppose Zionism for reasons of their own. Seen from that perspective, Mooser’s macabre pro-Empire clowning deserves the same tolerance as Islamic invocations by resistance-supporting fundamentalists.

      • Tuyzentfloot on November 25, 2019, 4:18 pm

        Echinococcus, quotation marks are used far too extensively to mean “so-called”, or “really not deserving the title”, whether it be progressives, artists, intellectuals, intelligence,
        experts or any name which carries some form of reputation. At least “PEP” acknowledges that people are progressive in some issues.
        I prefer not to cast doubt on people’s progressiveness when I disagree with them, or when I agree with them for that matter.
        I can believe that supporters of Israel can be progressive. Progressive means there are narratives which resonate. Say, narratives about victims and oppression.
        There is a division however about which narratives can be trusted. Putting it simply, there is disagreement between progressives about who the oppressed victims are.

        Mooser: What??

      • Donald on November 25, 2019, 5:21 pm

        Mooser—

        You might find this piece interesting. Levitz thinks Trump should be impeached for Ukrainegate ( using the government to investigate his political opponents) but does not think this means we should endorse our policy of arming one side in the Ukraine war.

        http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/11/alexander-vindman-testimony-impeachment-hearing-ukraine-policy-deep-state.html

        People in the foreign policy establishment have been using Trump’s corruption as a cover for our interventionist foreign policy. The argument is that because Trump is corrupt and sometimes pretends to be antiwar ( when he isn’t supporting war crimes) , we are morally obligated to be pro interventionist. A lot of scummy people have jumped on the anti Trump bandwagon, especially in foreign policy. Bret Stephens and Tom Friedman are anti Trump.

      • echinococcus on November 25, 2019, 7:42 pm

        Tuyzentfloot

        “Progressive means there are narratives which resonate.”
        We aren’t talking about fairy tales or acoustics: this is about imperialism and war of aggression, more specifically about settler colonialist invasion and genocide. In this particular case, it’s all objectively measurable with no room for the “it’s complicated!” Bernayses and Goebbelses of our times.

        If you want to make it about “narratives” of course any bullshit name goes.

        “I can believe that supporters of Israel can be progressive.”
        Then they should keep all the nonsense labels, and may them carry them to a timely hell. Give me some frank, unreconstructed reactionary who effectively fights the empire, any day.

      • RoHa on November 25, 2019, 9:33 pm

        ‘NATO should be ended. And US treaties abrogated, and leave Russia alone.’

        NATO was cooked up to threaten the Soviet Union. There is no Soviet Union to threaten now, so NATO is just a jobs-for-the-boys waste of money. Ending it would be a good idea.
        The US ignores treaties unless it wants something from them, so abrogation wouldn’t make a lot of difference.
        And why not leave Russia alone?

      • Tuyzentfloot on November 26, 2019, 5:20 am

        echinococcus, I am making a point. If you compare it to fairy tales or acoustics then you’re not getting the point while every propagandist who is able to distinguish between targeting progressives and conservatives does get the point.
        I can refer to George Lakoff who has a pretty good framework for understanding progressive thought.

        What I’m getting at is that the main disagreement between all those who consider themselves progressives is not degrees of progressiveness but networks of trust:
        which sources are trustworthy. If the critics of Israel are considered as antisemites then their version of events is not to be trusted.
        If the Palestinians are considered as islamofascist suicide fanatics then their version of events is not to be trusted.
        These become sources of bad reputation. There are not trustworthy and if you care about your own reputation then associating with them damages you and makes you untrustworthy.
        If you are very tribal then you only trust your tribal companions to tell you how much 2+2 is, or which of the 3 lines on a sheet of paper is the shortest.
        If you want to hear a fairy tale, it’s that people come to their choices autonomously.
        In a large part the reputation dynamics of antizionism is that it tries very hard to avoid association with antisemitism while the zionists try very hard to reinforce that association.

      • echinococcus on November 26, 2019, 11:11 am

        Tuyzentfloot,

        It was obvious that your intervention was all about “perception management” as others call it; I was sure Lakoff’s name would appear early on. Well, it’s definitely about fairy tales.

        To me, it’s all bullshit. I only deal in verifiable fact and have a lot of trouble telling so-called progressives from so-called reactionaries. Irrelevant anyway. Watch their hands; ignore the sound.

        If you think that following the new propaganda guru of the main Empire management organization to manipulate the credibility of sources is possible without being an owner of the machine, you’ve got another think coming soon.

      • Tuyzentfloot on November 27, 2019, 4:12 am

        Echinococcus, I’m fine with you not caring whether people are progressives or not, but if you look at how our discussion started, it was about quotes to indicate that people are not real progressives, or other words of approval.
        Also, the Lakoff part in this context only explains why it’s intellectually wrong to accuse people of not being progressive.
        The important part (in many ways)is “the aerial coin of praise”, reputation.

      • echinococcus on November 27, 2019, 8:53 am

        1Kfloot

        “I’m fine with you not caring whether people are progressives or not”
        Wrong: what I don’t care about is which nonsense word they call themselves, as long as we use quotation marks where needed.

        “but if you look at how our discussion started, it was about quotes to indicate that people are not real progressives”
        That’s right. Some people. Watch their hands and turn off the sound: they are Empire toadies and that’s the diametrical opposite of any progress, hence the need for quote marks.

      • HarryLaw on November 27, 2019, 6:51 pm

        Here is the full transcript of the leaked telephone conversation with US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt including this snippet…
        Nuland: OK. He’s now gotten both Serry and [UN Secretary General] Ban Ki-moon to agree that Serry could come in Monday or Tuesday. So that would be great, I think, to help glue this thing and to have the UN help glue it and, you know, Fuck the EU. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-26079957
        They even made a pop [or is it hip hop?] record of it Acid Pauli..”Fuck the EU”

      • Tuyzentfloot on November 28, 2019, 6:09 am

        That would be 1Kfleet then. Or Armada.

  3. annie on November 22, 2019, 6:53 pm

    o god you’d think he’d never heard of bari weiss. he is insufferable.

    • Mooser on November 23, 2019, 12:18 pm

      “I would do again!”

      But you didn’t do it the first time, Tom. What you need is a nice bowl of chicken-hawk soup.

      • Boomer on November 23, 2019, 4:43 pm

        re Mooser: “But you didn’t do it the first time, Tom.”

        That was my thought, as well. Though in fairness, I suppose he expects us to understand that what he does is help to incite wars, not to fight them. And afterwards, he memorably explained, as only he can, that the war was necessary, to tell the Arabs to “suck on this.” (Warning, this video should be seen by all thinking adults, but it’s not suitable for children and morons.)

  4. gamal on November 22, 2019, 7:14 pm

    “And maybe we can open a crack across the Arab world to it, because if the Arab world doesn’t find its way to gender pluralism, education pluralism, political pluralism, it’s actually going to die. It’s going to go over a cliff and Israel is going to be surrounded by complete and utter fauda”

    so Friedman has netflix and has heard of fauda but not the library of congress or Fatemeh Keshavarz…or Sa’adi, 21 years of doing what?

    https://youtu.be/kRBG5IEW-VQ?t=11

    I would also recommend Hisham D Aidi, Fred Starr, Chase Robinson and even the accident prone Jonathan Lyons, Library of congress lunchtime lectures….I thought Alice Rothchild would especially like Chase Robinson.

    • oldgeezer on November 22, 2019, 9:03 pm

      @gamal

      His position is just so privileged and white as well.

      There is some merit to the position that societies need to evolve or they will be left in the dust. That’s a part of human society evolution. I don’t understand how people can think or believe all societies change at the same time or pace. That defies logic.

      I know he’s not too young. He may be too unaware of the realities. In my own time on this earth women were required to wear hats and veils to church services. Women weren’t required to wear hats at other times but respectable women did which was a strong arm at enforcing it. A Catholic marrying a Protestant, or vice versa, was an outrage and a sin. Women did not have full voting rights until 1960 and other male groups ere excluded. And is there really any need to get into what Canada has done to indigenous people and their children in particular? It was a crime. It still is a crime. And this is in Canada which I would argue is minimally better than the US in those terms. Minimally is the key word though.

      To judge Middle Eastern, or any other society, by our standards on our timetable is racist in at least two ways. In the first instance it sets us up as the arbiter of right and wrong. In the second it says whatever we do you must follow or be damned.

      That is even further evidenced by his “And maybe we can open a crack across the Arab world to it”. Yep we must do it. They clearly aren’t capable on their own these poor lesser peoples. White man’s burden, sigh.

      Friedman is a dyed in the wool racist though I know he’d be insulted and argue against that. It’s exactly what he is and his words, attitudes and beliefs are proof, not just evidence, of that.

  5. HarryLaw on November 23, 2019, 6:33 am

    The Jim Crow laws were not abolished in many Southern US states until 1965, how many people outside the US when commenting on these abuses were told to mind their own business and that the US State is “exceptional” and a “shining city on a hill”.

  6. Maximus Decimus Meridius on November 23, 2019, 9:04 am

    Whenever I have the grave misfortune to read anything by this guy, I am reminded what an absolute blethering idiot he is. He speaks and writes like a pretentious 14 year old. And having been wrong about just about every single thing in the Middle East for the past two decades, you’d think he’s learn a bit of humility. But no.

    Then there’s this:

    “Israel had me at hello. Whatever you think folks– don’t worry. In times of crisis, I know where I will be.”

    Overlooking the infantile language (had me at hello?) the arrogance is extraordinary. All that matters is that Israel offers a hypothetical refuge in imaginary ‘times of crisis’ for an extremely privileged bloke who lives in New York. Who gives a toss if millions of Palestinians have been displaced, imprisoned and killed, so long as a rich American gets to have a bolt-hole in the event of a ‘crisis’ that isn’t going to happen. I’d like to say his attitude were rare among ‘diaspora’ Jews but it seems the opposite is true. The lives of Arabs are of no consequence so long as get their Jewish Disneyland.

  7. genesto on November 23, 2019, 3:33 pm

    That this cheerleader for criminal wars in the Middle East, this Israel-loving Zionist hack, is still taken seriously as a journalist after all these years says all you need to know about the corruption of the MSP. I can’t even stomach reading what he writes anymore. I consider it a total waste of my time.

  8. James Canning on November 23, 2019, 5:31 pm

    The Iraq War “worked out for the best”? Utter nonsense. Trillions of dollars squandered. Chaos running wild. Lives of millions of people ruined. Friedman is correct to indicate the purpose of the war was to protect Israel.

    • oldgeezer on November 24, 2019, 12:35 am

      Well if you consider the yinon or pnac plan as the measuring stick it did work out for the best. Those plans called for Iraq to be destroyed which was certainly accomplished. With the current push for a Kurdish state then other objective stated is in process. A balkanized Iraq.

      It’s not like zionists care about the 25 million lives and futures destroyed. And whether secular, Christian or Jewish this was a zionist plan.

      Immoral criminals. Even the liberal, neocon or neoliberal variety. Disusting the lot of them. As are their supporters.

      • genesto on November 25, 2019, 1:03 pm

        The Zionists LOVE the chaos created in the Middle East, thanks in great part to Israel for fomenting many, if not all, of the conflicts. The power vacuum created makes it easier for Israel to achieve its ultimate goal of hegemony in the region – and beyond.

      • oldgeezer on November 26, 2019, 12:49 am

        @genesto

        I can’t add to what you’ve said. At least not in any significant way. And you are quite correct. This is a major problem for humanity. Too many wars. Too many dead.

  9. eljay on November 23, 2019, 8:19 pm

    The hypocrisy of people like Friedman – people who are happy to see done unto to others acts of injustice and immorality they would never want others to do unto them – is truly disgusting.

    Zionists are birds of a truly hateful and immoral feather.

  10. Mooser on November 24, 2019, 1:13 pm

    The War on Iraq was the thing that made chicken-hawkery a new form of military bravery.

  11. Tuyzentfloot on November 25, 2019, 9:26 am

    This article https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/23/opinion/saudi-prince-mbs-arab-spring.html
    is the work of a demagogue, not someone’s honest thinking. Workgroups were set up to decide what image Bin Salman should get ( https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/31/business/cambridge-analytica-scl-group-saudi-arabia.html )and this was the result. Friedman is a spokesman for empire.

  12. Vera Gottlieb on November 26, 2019, 2:55 pm

    israel would have a lot less to worry about if/when it decided to treat ALL Palestinians as human beings and not as dogs.

  13. PFSimon on November 26, 2019, 11:26 pm

    Let us praise the great scholar, whose words here will do nothing but divide Democrats….. Trump must be smiling. ….. Friedman cannot back down from a neoliberal cornerstone, even though he knows better than anyone how it created ISIS.

    Let’s hear it for perpetual warfare.

    Praise ye, Tom Friedman. The chasm widens.

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