Thomas Friedman : Final Solution in Iraq


Richard Moore

    On an ideological level, Friedman's new book is the worst,
    most boring kind of middlebrow horseshit. If its literary
    peculiarities could somehow be removed from the equation, The
    World Is Flat would appear as no more than an unusually long
    pamphlet replete with the kind of plug-filled, free-trader
    leg-humping that passes for thought in this country ...


Final Solution in Iraq 
By Paul Richard Harris 
Oct 17, 2005, 15:25 

Long a master of persuasive writing, albeit not always in the
pursuit of truth, Thomas Friedman has finally revealed his
inherent barbarism. Although he is apparently a 'Foreign
Affairs' columnist for the New York Times, for the past five
years he has worked as an unembarrassed apologist for the
White House.

Readers may remember Friedman's book From Beirut to Jerusalem
as a wide-ranging, if somewhat biased, perspective of an
American Jew reporting for ten years from a hotbed of
anti-Israel  sentiment. Most recently, his The World is Flat
has enjoyed stellar sales figures. That book carries on some
of the specious writing he began with The Lexus and the Olive
Tree , wherein he wrote a populist justification for the rich
of the world to suppress the poor. That's not the way he put
it, of course: he actually argued that economic globalization
is the cure-all for the world's ills in a kind of 'trickle
down' effect like that fostered by US president Ronald Reagan.
He conveniently ignored the relativity of wealth: if some of
the crumbs trickle down, it is only because someone further up
the chain got a much bigger piece of the pie - the result
being the gap between top and bottom is an ever-widening

Friedman is a persuasive writer. His technical ability to put
sentences and paragraphs together is impressive and he has
learned well how to touch on the individual fears, desires,
prejudices of the American public. But, intellectually, he is
such a lousy writer and so full of rubbish that one hardly
knows where to begin to criticize. So I'll simply quote from
New York Press writer Matt Taibi in his rant about The World
is Flat :

    On an ideological level, Friedman's new book is the worst,
    most boring kind of middlebrow horseshit. If its literary
    peculiarities could somehow be removed from the equation, The
    World Is Flat would appear as no more than an unusually long
    pamphlet replete with the kind of plug-filled, free-trader
    leg-humping that passes for thought in this country ...
    ... It's impossible to divorce The World Is Flat from its
    rhetorical approach ... Friedman is an important American. He is
    the perfect symbol of our culture of emboldened stupidity.
    Like George Bush, he's in the reality-making business. In the
    new flat world, argument is no longer a two-way street for
    people like the president and the country's most important
    columnist. You no longer have to worry about actually
    convincing anyone; the process ends when you make the case.   
    Things are true because you say they are. The only thing that
    matters is how sure you sound when you say it ...

Friedman manages to convince a lot of people, even some very
bright people, with his writing. So it is particularly
disturbing to read his call for a Final Solution in Iraq.
Let's remember that Friedman is Jewish, and the concept of a
'final solution' is not something one would expect him to find
attractive. But his recent calls for a resolution of American
involvement in Iraq have an uncomfortable resonance with the
German plans that crystallized during World War II.

In a September 27, 2005 column for the New York Times,
Friedman proposed an 'endgame' bloodbath in Iraq. Although he
has written extensively about the nobility of the
Anglo-American effort to bring about alleged democracy and
liberation in Iraq, he thinks the time has arrived to get the
troops out and let all the Iraqi people kill each other.

Friedman writings show a history of glossing over the truth in
his rush to support the neo-colonial agenda of the United
States and the neo-liberal thugs racing to grab the world by
the throat. In a July 2003 column, he encouraged the Bush
White House not to get "so tied up defending [the] phony
reasons for going to war"; instead, they should focus on "the
real and valid reason for the war: to install a decent,
tolerant, pluralistic, multi-religious government in Iraq."
When the war started to be less of a 'mission accomplished'
than the administration claimed, Friedman began to issue
exhortations to the Iraqi people and called on them to forget
they were Sunni, or Kurd, or Shi'a and to step forward as
Iraqis, to fight for self-determination. What he meant by
self-determination, of course, was obeisance to the American
military and the goals of the United States.

Even as recently as June 2005, Friedman waxed on with his
assurances to the American public that the war was going well
and victory was at hand.  But his September 27 column,
entitled 'Endgame in Iraq' tells a very different tale. He
writes that "Iraq, at the end of the day, was always going to
be what the Iraqis decided to make of it." This reads like an
admission that the military effort has failed and never had
any chance of succeeding.

His column goes on to complain that the ungrateful Iraqis have
failed to toe the line and follow Washington's orders. Having
acknowledged that it was always inevitable that Iraqis would
make their own country, their own rules, their own society,
Friedman bemoans that they can just go to hell for not
knuckling under to US authority and demands.

The "Bush team's incompetence" has weakened the colonizing
efforts of the US, according to Friedman. Not many would
disagree with the characterization of Bush and his crew as
'incompetent', but Friedman suggests that is not nearly so
culpable as the "moral vacuum in the Sunni Arab world" which
is determined to "stifle any prospect for democracy." It
doesn't matter that the 'democracy' that would follow is
actually the dismemberment of Iraq, leaving Sunnis landlocked
in a small fiefdom and without resources. According to
Friedman, it is the fault of the Iraqis themselves that their
current situation is so desperate and surely did not arise
because of more than two years of occupation by a rapacious
foreign power.

Leading up to the invasion, and during the occupation,
Friedman repeatedly cried that America went in to fix
everything and that entitled them to own everything. He said
it much more obliquely ... but that is what he meant. Now, in
his recent column, he writes: "Maybe cynical Europeans were
right. Maybe this neighborhood is just beyond transformation."
He says that if the minority Sunni population fails to support
the constitution that Washington has demanded, "then we are
wasting our time".

He finishes by saying: "We should arm the Shiites and Kurds
and leave the Sunnis of Iraq to reap the wind".

In other words, if the US can't get what it wants, it should
provide the weaponry to let the Iraqis slaughter each other.
In short, Friedman abandons his years of pitching the
purported democracy that America was going to bring to Iraq in
favour of an ethno-religious bloodbath. One can imagine
Friedman's horror if the suggestion was made to arm all the
Arabs and the Israelis and see who was left standing at the

I have never had any doubt that Thomas Friedman is a
simpleton. Now I know he is also vicious.

© Copyright 2005 by 

Paul Richard Harris is an Axis of Logic editor and columnist,
based in Canada.  He can be reached at •••@••.•••


"Apocalypse Now and the Brave New World"

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