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Saturday, August 23, 2003

What the Iraq war is about, take seventeen
From the increasingly bizarre Thomas Friedman:

We are attracting all these opponents to Iraq because they understand this war is The Big One. They don't believe their own propaganda. They know this is not a war for oil. They know this is a war over ideas and values and governance. They know this war is about Western powers, helped by the U.N., coming into the heart of their world to promote more decent, open, tolerant, women-friendly, pluralistic governments by starting with Iraq a country that contains all the main strands of the region: Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds.

Yeah, Tom--that's exactly what AWOL said in the state of the union, what Powell told the UN. Bush pushing for "pluralistic governments" in the Middle East, while doing everything possible to destroy the ones we have here (Texas and California, for example). You're a funny man, Mr. Friedman. The war IS about oil. It's about empire. It's about repression.

Friedman tries to atone for this nonsense by ripping the Bushies on their methods:

We may fail, but not because we have attracted terrorists who understand what's at stake in Iraq. We may fail because of the utter incompetence with which the Pentagon leadership has handled the postwar. (We don't even have enough translators there, let alone M.P.'s, and the media network we've set up there to talk to Iraqis is so bad we'd be better off buying ads on Al Jazeera.) We may fail because the Bush team thinks it can fight The Big One in the Middle East while cutting taxes at home, shrinking the U.S. Army, changing the tax code to encourage Americans to buy gas-guzzling cars that make us more dependent on Mideast oil and by gratuitously alienating allies.

We may fail because to win The Big One, we need an American public, and allies, ready to pay any price and bear any burden, but we have a president unable or unwilling to summon either.

If I actually believed that the war was justified for some reason, I don't think I'd be terribly critical of the way it has been run, except for the giveaways to Halliburton, Bechtel and the like. Occupying a country like Iraq is bound to be difficult, and people will die. If the occupation were justified, I'd certainly give them the benefit of the doubt. I point out the failures of the occupation not to point out every flaw in its execution, but to call attention to the insanity that caused it to happen. The maniacs who did this must not be allowed to do it again. And Friedman is certainly believing his own propaganda if he thinks the Bushies for one minute considered bringing "pluralistic governments" to Iraq or anywhere else.

[Update] Someone else realized that not only has Friedman gone off the deep end again, but in a different spot from last time:

The "real reason" for this war, which was never stated, was that after 9/11 America needed to hit someone in the Arab-Muslim world. -- Thomas Friedman, June 4, 2003.