Monday, September 20, 2004

Skirmish of Ideas!

So in a few short weeks Thomas Friedman should be back writing his column for the Nytimes. Friedman is a great columnist, and his Israeli commentary is absolutely must read, but the sad fact is that his reputation has taking a serious beating with his writing related to the war in Iraq. Friedman was an early and vocal, and most importantly, liberal supporter of the war. He's been spouting his "war of ideas" for a long time and the war in Iraq was finally going to put his idea war to the test. Friedman stuck it out for a while, but last summer, Friedman finally decided writing about his doubts.

Friedman has been writing a book for several months now and I'm sure he has a lot to catch up with, with the Presidential campaign raging on. But if I know Friedman, I'm sure he's going to attempt a few, last gasp columns saying the situation in Iraq is still salvageable, if only we would do X, Y, and Z. But if we don't do that soon, we will certainly lose this war. Friedman said this six months ago. He keeps saying this, that somehow, just around the corner, if we simply do things the right way, Iraq won't slip into chaos.

Well, I don't buy it. My advice to Friedman (and I'm guessing he's a regular Dome reader) for his first column is to say that Bush has basically blown it. The war is lost and Bush's incompetence made a difficult situation impossible. He needs to say the only hope is for Bush to be punished by being voted out of office, only then, with a fresh start, can we start anew in Iraq. His second column should focus on what Kerry should do in Iraq if he becomes President. He should forget saying how Kerry might still pull it off. It's too late. He needs to advise Kerry on how the US should respond to the Middle East with Iraq completely in chaos. The Israeli-Palestinian issue should be his top priority and it might be one of the only ways America can begin to piece together our shattered reputation in that region.

I really hope Friedman is past this 'war of ideas' nonsense and he begins writing about what the Middle East will be like with Iraq as the chaotic and unsalvageable mess that it is. There will be severe consequences, completely unpredictable (see long term consequences of the CIA sponsored coup in Iran in 1953 as an example), arising from the situation in Iraq. Maybe Friedman can help us anticipate some of these problems so we can begin to contain them, if we can.

-MB

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