Liberal Grace

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Zogby gives Friedman a well-deserved shellacking

Thomas Friedman rolled-over for the bungling neo-con warmongers and now he expects a free pass.



James Zogby rocks! He gets the Middle East. I've been reading him regularly for about a year now and I can't think of a single thing he's been wrong about.

Well, today he gave a good scolding to Rice, that shameless bigot Virgil Goode and Thomas Freedman.

Specifically Zogby criticizes Friedman for Mideast Rules to Live by which Zogby sees as both bigoted and arrogant:

Zogby's response is:

[Friedman's] article makes the following observations:

Arabs are dishonest (they say one thing in private, another in public); Arabs are illogical (prone to conspiracies); Arabs are weak-kneed, without principles ("moderates", in particular, are dissemblers, with no backbone); Arabs are more violent and vengeful than "we" are; Arabs are petty and tribal and so on.

The Friedman lesson for Bush appears to be, "It's not your fault, sir, it's theirs. You and I weren't wrong about the war; they weren't ready for the gift you were giving them."

I have often been disturbed by Friedman's dismissive tone coupled with his weird obsession with all things Arab. With this piece my reaction went from disturbed to outrage.

As I read through Friedman's 15 rules for dealing with "Middle Easterners" (as he terms the objects of his condescension), I wondered, "what if an Arab had written a comparable piece about the Jews?"

The reaction would have been swift and justifiable condemnation.
Polluting the air of national discourse


Zogby brings up another problem with Friedman, that I just can't get past: Friedman cheerlead the worst foreign policy decision of modern times -- or maybe ever. And he has never given a clear apology for his incredibly bad judgement.

In the lead up to the Iraq War, Friedman, The New York Times columnist, was one of the invasion's strong advocates. He has now figured out why the war has gone so badly and so in a rather remarkable piece titled "Mideast peace to live by" appearing in the Times (December 20) and Gulf News (December 21) he offers advice to the US President George W. Bush.

Never known for humility or apologies, here's what Friedman has concluded: It's the Arabs' fault. I said the article was remarkable, and it was, not for its wisdom, but for its shameless self-serving bigotry.
I have a hard time getting past Friedman's horrible judgment about Bush and Iraq because Friedman was one of the good guys. He should have known better. I knew better. Millions of people, far less educated than Friedman, knew better.

The closest Friedman has given to an apology was (I paraphrase) "I never imagined that Bush would play politics the war on terror nor did I expect him to be such a screw up."

Oh, really? You didn't see that one coming?

Even if Bush has been competent, the Iraq war was a risky long-shot.

In an ideal world, I'd also like to see Iraq be shining Jeffersonian beacon on a hill. In an ideal world, I'd also be twenty years younger, forty pounds lighter and driving a Jag.

But, you go to war with the president you have, not the want. Thomas Friedman encouraged us to go war with a president we all knew was a screw-up.

As a Christian, I must forgive Friedman, but I just bring myself to respect him anymore. I used to. But not now.

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