Q: Iz Tom Friedman Learning?

A:  No.

When last we checked in on the moustache of wisdom, we learned the real reason we should start a war with Iraq.

One would have thought that would be the end of Tom Friedman as someone anyone could take seriously.  Hell, it should have been the start of the time people spat on the sidewalk as he passed them by.

But, of course, because we have been so well and benevolently led by our elites, Tom of the Married Fortune and Unmerited Influence continues to opine about the sacrifice and loss others should undertake in the service of his worldview.

Exhibit A:

And Iraq was such a bitter experience for America that we prefer never to speak of it again. But Iraq is relevant here. The only reason Iraq has any chance for a decent outcome today is because America was on the ground with tens of thousands of troops to act as that well-armed midwife, reasonably trusted and certainly feared by all sides, to manage Iraq’s transition to more consensual politics. My gut tells me that Syria will require the same to have the same chance.

 

A little fisking seems in order.

And Iraq was such a bitter experience for America that we prefer never to speak of it again.

You don’t.  We do.  Why? 

Because adults (and lots of children, in fact) understand that the best way to avoid repeating colossal f*ck ups is to try to understand what went wrong.  You know, talk about how we got into that war (lookin’ at you, little Tommie) how we planned for the post-combat phase (lookin’ at you George W. Bush and all your feckless minions) understanding the full weight of the losses incurred both by the US and the Iraqis we sought to liberate from oppression (in the best but certainly not an exclusive reading of our mission).  It would be useful to have some real inquiry into what fighting that war on those justifications did to the US, both in terms of human and material loss, and in terms of the damage done to our polity and society.  We used to be able to say that torture was everywhere and always illegal. Not anymore, bro…..Hell you get the idea.

Tom Friedman has an obvious motive to cry silence on the Iraq war; otherwise, his unblemished record of wrong — and of abject moral failure — would continue to get trotted out for a look-see.  As here.

The only reason Iraq has any chance for a decent outcome today is because America was on the ground with tens of thousands of troops.

Counterfactual not in evidence. “The only reason?”  Could sanctions have worked?  Could a Libya style involvement have been possible.  What about creating an independent Kurdistan in the north and starting from there?  I’m not saying any of these things would work, or even were plausibly good ideas at the time — but the “only reason” trope exists only to crush the possibility of argument over a claim that can’t be tested.  Gutless reasoning in other words.

And then there is the carefully worded phrase “any chance for a decent outcome.”

Begs the question, don’t it? How much of a chance do you need for a war of choice to have been justified on any interest calculation?  And what are those chances anyway?  From Friedman’s own employer:

BAGHDAD — Al Qaeda in Iraq carried out one of the most coordinated and baldly sectarian series of attacks in years on Monday, aiming for Shiite targets with car bombs, checkpoint ambushes, and assaults on a military base and police officers in their homes in an offensive that its leadership appeared to equate with the Sunni-led uprising in neighboring Syria.

The offensive, coming in the early days of Ramadan, the monthlong religious rite of fasting by day and feasting by night, was without precedent over the past few years, at least in the sheer number of attacks, spread over so many locations in a third of Iraq’s 18 provinces, from north to south.

It raised new concerns about the government’s ability to contain the violence, six months after the last American troops left the country following more than eight years of occupation and civil war that upended Saddam Hussein’s Sunni-led minority power base and empowered Iraq’s long-repressed Shiite majority.

“I think Al Qaeda in Iraq made a big joke of the government and the Iraqi security forces,” said Khalid Fadel, a military analyst and former instructor at the Iraqi Military College. “They were so clear that they were going to launch attacks during Ramadan, and the government said that they have information of about 30 terrorist groups entering the country, but still the security forces are unable to prevent the attacks.”

Look.  Maybe Friedman is right for once, though nothing in past performance suggests that I should count on anything but the triumph of hope over experience.  It would indeed be great if all that price paid in Iraq by all parties did create a foundation for peaceful social and public life in that country. (Though again, it’s important to remember Friedman’s classic mission creep.  Success is here defined not as t meeting our own pre-conflict objectives, the ambition to assert a Pax Americana in the Middle East and in the prevention of terrorist attacks, but rather by our i serving some grand missionary role to bring democracy to the great unwashed.)  But  in the face of the ongoing civil strife In Iraq, it’s simple counterfactual folly to argue that the US intervention in Iraq can be held up as successful.

Onwards!…and a little detour.

Check out this phrase:

America was on the ground with tens of thousands of troops to act as that well-armed midwife

It’s possible to be a bad writer and a good thinker, though that’s a trick that’s harder than it looks.  But it continues to amaze me just how brutal an abuser of the English language is Tom Friedman.  Think of  all the richness of imagery and allusion of which the language is capable, and wonder at the epithet “that well armed midwife.”  It’s going to take some time before I can get the image of the US as a woman bending over the baby Jesus’s birthing table (see above), M-16 at her hip.  Shakespeare wept!

Wait! There’s more.  Friedman characterizes the US in Iraq as

reasonably trusted and certainly feared by all sides

WTF?  Were we ever trusted by any side?  This is just wishful rewriting of the actual skein of conflict in Iraq.  Pure nonsense.  This is Friedman telling himself what he wants — really has — to believe in  order not to see an imbecile with blood on his hands everytime he looks in a mirror.

And now to Fisk’s end:

My gut tells me that Syria will require the same to have the same chance.

Your gut?  Your F*cking Gut! Jesus, Mary and the mule, dude, only connect the dots for once in your life!

Your gut…

…is the least reliable organ of sense since Titiana beheld Bottom.

No one — and I mean absolutely no human being with a capacity for reason above that of a ficus — cares about your indigestion.  If you don’t have anything better to base your opinion on, Shut. The. Hell. Up.

To be fair to a man who still sports the least convincing porn ‘stache in public life, Friedman in this column does admit that American intervention in Syria isn’t going to happen.  He concees, several paragraphs below the one dissected above that Iraq is not IRL a satisfactorily emerging democracy.  And he even recognizes that the situation in Syria is beyond our control, and unlikely to meet our desires.

But such moments of hungover clarity don’t count for much with me in a column so soaked with nostalgia for the time when the Friedmans of our governing class could tell the world to “suck on this,” and the US would send in the troops  in the service of middle-aged men’s fantasies.

Channeling my inner Brad DeLong:  why oh why can’t we have a better press corps?

Image:  Lorenzo Lotto, The Birth of Jesus, 1527-28.

Michiel Jansz van Mierevelt, The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Willem van der Meer, 1617.

Cross posted.

 






129 replies
  1. 1
    redshirt says:

    To wit: We need to destroy this world in order to save it.

  2. 2
    schrodinger's cat says:

    I don’t know what is worse this column or his gem on Sunday where he was opining how everyone should start their own business. Idiot.

  3. 3
    BGinCHI says:

    Tom Friedman is Louie Gohmert with more knowledge but exactly the same acuteness in reasoning about the world.

  4. 4
    Soonergrunt says:

    Friedman characterizes the US in Iraq as
    ((reasonably trusted and certainly feared by all sides))
    WTF? Were we ever trusted by any side? This is just wishful rewriting of the actual skein of conflict in Iraq.

    Speaking as someone who spent considerably more time in Iraq than Tom Friedman, we weren’t all that feared by the people we wanted to fear us, either. The people we didn’t want to be fearful of us, OTOH…

  5. 5
    maya says:

    What’s a few more tours, more or less, in a 120° clime to the US Marine Midwives Corps.

  6. 6
    the Conster says:

    I wish I could ask him to explain to me like I’m five years old what benefit I got for my $4 trillion. Then I would like to kick him in the nuts.

  7. 7
    BGinCHI says:

    @Soonergrunt: You know who else was reasonably trusted and certainly feared by all sides?

  8. 8
    MattF says:

    I agree about Friedman’s ‘drag you through the Gates of Hell and into Satan’s anus’ level of bad judgement, but even he (unlike some unregenerate Straussians) says we should stay out of Syria and is pessimistic about the prospects there. What does Romney think, one wonders.

  9. 9
    seanindc says:

    the new wingnut meme of the week is Iraqi WMD’s were moved to Syria before we could find them and prove the Dubya right.

  10. 10
    the Conster says:

    @seanindc:

    That’s old wingnut news – I had that argument with wingnuts back in 2005-2006.

  11. 11
    geg6 says:

    I just wish Tom Friedman would suck on the business end of an M-16.

    The world, not to mention the US and the media, would be a better place for it.

  12. 12
    Soonergrunt says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: We should all start our own businesses. Just like he did.
    So I’ll be marrying a rich heiress who has a land development business that relies extensively on local, state, and federal tax breaks.

  13. 13
    Jerzy Russian says:

    his unblemished record of wrong

    I will steal that phrase.

  14. 14
    amk says:

    This sick fuck is now pushing for a syrian war ? On top of the iranian war ?

  15. 15
    maya says:

    @seanindc:

    the new wingnut meme of the week is Iraqi WMD’s were moved to Syria before we could find them and prove the Dubya right.

    Ah ha! Ricky was right. I smell a putsch at the RNC.

  16. 16
    The Dangerman says:

    Entering a conflict where Iran and Russia support the current Syrian government; what could possibly go wrong?

  17. 17
    Rob in CT says:

    @the Conster:

    Ah, zombie lies. Where would a neocon be without them?

  18. 18
    Maude says:

    Maybe he’s trying to keep his place in the 101st Chairborne.

  19. 19
    Ben Franklin says:

    Frankly I’m surprised the MEdia occasionally broaches the subject. Chris Matthews was a chief enabler of the War Mongers, but he now has a different memory of his participation.

    The manipulation of public perception has been a cornerstone of Journalism for decades.

    As for Iraq, there was nary a discouraging word when it mattered the most. The so called
    ’embedding’ of journos and Pentagon is not a hollow metaphor.

  20. 20
    BGinCHI says:

    @Maude: Armed Midwife Division.

  21. 21
    Culture of Truth says:

    reasonably trusted

    Stop it, yer killin’ me

  22. 22
    geg6 says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    My John, who is not as obsessive about politics as I am (has just recently begun to understand, with much pointing out by me, that CNN is FOXNews lite), was literally yelling in spittle-flecked rage after readin that column on Sunday. Made me feel better about all the times he’s had to witness me doing the same.

  23. 23
    bcinaz says:

    Sure we should go make big war in Syria, and pay for it with another round of really big tax cuts for you know who. That all worked out so well the last time – especially on the debt and deficit side.

  24. 24
    Soonergrunt says:

    @geg6: Make it a 9mm pistol. Larger slug, lower velocity round. More damage in the soft-tissue-inside-a-box environment of the human skull.

    The man helped lay the intellectual groundwork for a war that got several of my friends killed and maimed to no advantage to our country, and that causes me a few issues of my own.
    He, like Cheney, and their useful tool Bush, can never suffer enough for their crimes.

  25. 25
    Gretchen says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:
    I wish all these well-insured doofuses understood that the reason more people don’t start small businesses is that they’re afraid of losing their health insurance.

  26. 26
    The Moar You Know says:

    Failure to learn from mistakes is failure.

  27. 27
    Chris says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    The only way that would be possible is for every business in America to consist of exactly one person who has no need of anyone else to help him or her in any respect. Otherwise not everyone can start their own business.

  28. 28
    snailbiscuits says:

    Having spent 15 months in Baghdad during The Surge and twice in Afghanistan and currently still there, I can say that Tom Friedman is the definition of a Blue Falcon. I am also pretty sure that none of us really want to move on to Syria next. I think we have spent enough time away from home and drained enough of our treasury.

  29. 29
    Tom Levenson says:

    @snailbiscuits: Keep safe. Best wishes.

  30. 30

    A less convincing pornstache than Joseph Farah?

    I am doubtful….

  31. 31
    Tom Levenson says:

    @snailbiscuits: And yes, I do know how hollow it is to say “keep safe” from this safe distance.

  32. 32
    The Moar You Know says:

    I wish all these well-insured doofuses understood that the reason more people don’t start small businesses is that they’re afraid of losing their health insurance.

    @Gretchen: A Galtian Master Of The Universe doesn’t put up with bacteria mooching off of the organs of his body any more than he does with the gubmit interfering with his backyard nerve gas factory.

  33. 33
    Maude says:

    @Soonergrunt:
    He said on the radio that the Iraq war was experiment. It made me so furious that I never read or listened to him again.
    He is evil.

  34. 34
    Tom Levenson says:

    @zombie rotten mcdonald: Close one, indeed.

    BJ-ers? Your vote?

  35. 35
    snailbiscuits says:

    @Tom Levenson:

    No worries! The thought is very much appreciated! BTW Kandahar is a lovely place this time of year.

  36. 36
  37. 37
    Tom Levenson says:

    @snailbiscuits:

    Kandahar is a lovely place this time of year.

    That, I believe, just has to be a rotating tag line.

  38. 38

    OMG this is a big flip-flop:

    Ex-Citibank CEO, the guy we can thank for the repeal of Glass-Steagall, has called for the law to be reinstated and for the break-up of the big banks.

    Holy wowzah. Bet this story gets buried.

  39. 39
    MattW says:

    And the win-win for Republicans (at least in their minds) is that any positive thing that occurs at any point in the future in Iraq will be to George Bush’s credit for sending the troops in. Any negative thing that occurs at any point in the future in Iraq will be Obama’s fault for withdrawing the troops.

  40. 40
    Maude says:

    @snailbiscuits:
    Kinda like Paris in the spring?

  41. 41

    Tom @top:

    since Tatiana beheld Bottom.

    I think that’s supposed to be Titania, not Tatiana.

    @Soonergrunt:

    Make it a 9mm pistol. Larger slug, lower velocity round. More damage in the soft-tissue-inside-a-box environment of the human skull.

    Why not go whole hog and make it a 12 gauge loaded with buckshot? If you want to do massive damage, go for something overpowered.

  42. 42
    Ben Cisco says:

    My gut tells me that Syria will require the same to have the same chance.

    You first, motherfucker.

  43. 43
    Chris says:

    @MattW:

    Just like Vietnam.

  44. 44
    NonyNony says:

    @Maude:

    He is evil.

    In a “banality of evil” sort of way. He isn’t even out there trying to screw people over for his own betterment. Instead he reheats and projects conventional wisdom in a way that leads us into horrible actions like Iraq just to fill some column space.

  45. 45
    Ben Franklin says:

    , the guy we can thank for the repeal of Glass-Steagall

    Didn’t Clinton sign the death certificate?

  46. 46
    salacious crumb says:

    Friedman opines and wails that the US cannot intervene in Syria after the Iraq misadventure, but let’s face it, he masturbates to the fantasy of another enemy of Israel going down, and hopes the US or NATO intervenes again. He lists all the various reasons, that he thinks are convincing and true at face value because the NYTimes dutifully reports what unnamed government sources say about Assad, that Assad should go (he is a brutal dictator! gasses his own people!) and then, with an aw shucks demeanor, says we shouldn’t do anything about it.

    basically, Assad is an ally of Iran, who is an enemy of Israel, and since Ahmedinajad is the new Hitler, Assad going down would mean a loss for Iran and nothing would give Ron Jeremy`s cousin a more (but without the extended appendages, In guessing) beautiful wet dream than to see Assad go.

  47. 47
    burnspbesq says:

    Everything after “no” is superfluous.

  48. 48
    Tom Levenson says:

    @Roger Moore: Yeah, but even Shakespeare admitted the play was better in the original Russian. (Fix’t)

  49. 49
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Why not go whole hog and make it a 12 gauge loaded with buckshot?

    I raise you an 8-gauge with rifled slugs.

  50. 50
    snailbiscuits says:

    @Maude:

    Yeah it’s pretty close. Kandahar might not have the museums and the shopping but it makes up for it in other exciting ways.

  51. 51
    hep kitty says:

    And Iraq was such a bitter experience for America that we prefer never to speak of it again.

    I talked, yelled, protested, and stamped my feet for about 6 years. I’ll be happy to discuss Iraq with Mr. Friedman any time, anywhere.

  52. 52
    Cassidy says:

    @snailbiscuits: 24 hour gym and chow hall. All the pirate dvd’s you can buy.

  53. 53
    sherparick says:

    Tom Friedman is essentially a high ranking bureaucrat in elite media machine, a spokesperson for the VSPs and our current oligarchy. Friedman represents the current elite, who like Cheney says, always have other priorities and never notice the butcher bill for their indulgences (and fortune making, because it should not be forgotten that fortunes have been made off of Iraq and Afghanistan). From Jesse’s Cafe’ Americain, the following quotes from Chris Hedges seem appropriate:

    “…Here you have the explanation of why our ruling elites do nothing about climate change, refuse to respond rationally to economic meltdown and are incapable of coping with the collapse of globalization and empire. These are circumstances that interfere with the very viability and sustainability of the system. And bureaucrats know only how to serve the system. They know only the managerial skills they ingested at West Point or Harvard Business School. They cannot think on their own. They cannot challenge assumptions or structures. They cannot intellectually or emotionally recognize that the system might implode. And so they do what Napoleon warned was the worst mistake a general could make—paint an imaginary picture of a situation and accept it as real..” http://jessescrossroadscafe.bl.....ty-of.html

  54. 54
    scav says:

    I’m still savoring the warm glow from this

    Your gut…
    __
    …is the least reliable organ of sense since Tatiana beheld Bottom.
    __
    No one—and I mean absolutely no human being with a capacity for reason above that of a ficus—cares about your indigestion.

    ETA: Foreign fairy queens, coming here, stealing our jobs . . . I’m letting my copy stay though, parallel universes and all that, it’s a hard life under Putin.

  55. 55
    Linda Featheringill says:

    @snailbiscuits:

    Hi. Haven’t heard from you in a while. Doing okay?

    Please do take care.

  56. 56
    geg6 says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    I bow to your superior knowledge. A 9mm it is.

  57. 57
    Jeffrey Kramer says:

    But what does the well-armed midwife do when the fetus of democracy is strangling on the umbilical cord of ethno-religious division and the mother of national identity is going into the septic shock of oh fuck it just kill me now.

  58. 58

    @Tom Levenson:
    I find the spelling much easier to remember since watching a modern dress version in High School that really put the “Tit” in Titania. My juvenile mind made the connection, and I have never forgotten it.

  59. 59
    Ben Cisco says:

    @Southern Beale:

    Ex Citibank CEO, the guy we can thank for the repeal of Glass-Steagall, has called for the law to be reinstated and for the break-up of the big banks.

    The relevant part of the quote is bolded.

  60. 60
    snailbiscuits says:

    @Linda Featheringill:

    Personally, I am okay. It’s not been a good deployment for us. We’ve had 5 KIA and 1 suicide. It’s always tough. Nothing you can do except drive on and never forget. Few more months lol, that’s what I tell myself.

  61. 61
    Redshift says:

    Friedman in this column does admit that American intervention in Syria isn’t going to happen.

    I don’t see that as a moment of clarity on his part. In the context of the beginning of the column, it seems much more like a preemptive “when things go to hell, I will blame it on our not invading like I wanted to.”

  62. 62

    @Jeffrey Kramer:

    But what does the well-armed midwife do when the fetus of democracy is strangling on the umbilical cord of ethno-religious division and the mother of national identity is going into the septic shock of oh fuck it just kill me now.

    She goes into her, “It’s not my fault, preexisting condition, can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs, look forward not back” routine.

  63. 63
    Maude says:

    @snailbiscuits:
    I think when things are settled, it will be a place that tourists flock to.

    @NonyNony:
    That’s a nice way to put it. Thx.

  64. 64
    hep kitty says:

    Oh, and is Friedman some kind of Middle East expert or something? He seems to think so. I guess we should all follow his advice because he sounds smart! Like that Newt guy!

  65. 65
    geg6 says:

    @hep kitty:

    Yeah. I hear ya. Same here. And I would hope that, should I ever actually get the chance to discuss Iraq with the MoU, that someone nearby would have a handy 9mm so I could show the true meaning of “suck on this”.

  66. 66
    muddy says:

    He grows that porn ‘stache to cover up his buckteeth, it’s a mouth comb-over. If he didn’t have that, everyone would confuse him with Bobo, who also spouts wrongness from behind the rabbity incisors.

  67. 67
    Ben Cisco says:

    @Ben Franklin:

    I raise you an 8-gauge with rifled slugs.

    I’ll see your raise and raise you Alice’s solution.

  68. 68
    Maude says:

    @geg6:
    I was thinking more along the lines of a cannon.

  69. 69
    hep kitty says:

    @geg6: We can make it a joint effort, I’ll soften him up with a baseball bat first

  70. 70
    hep kitty says:

    Also, we could hang him from the ceiling but he’s probably into that sort of thing

  71. 71
    muddy says:

    @Maude: Cannon stuffed with short lengths of chain.

  72. 72
    Chris T. says:

    @Ben Franklin: Yes. Of course the one Clinton signed was merely the final burial of a system that had suffered numerous grievous wounds.

    What we need is a “new and improved” (really, just modernized) version of Glass-Steagall, that also deals with MBS and CDOs and SIVs and the rest of the alphabet soup. But that’s not going to happen for another 20 or 40 years. First we’ll have to recover from the current depression—which should occur in about 2019—and then we’ll have another boom, which will run 10 or 20 years, and then we’ll have another depression-level bust.

  73. 73
    hep kitty says:

    Also, somebody noted he has buck teeth. We could help out by performing a few extractions sans novacaine.

  74. 74
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Ben Cisco:

    Hell hath no fury…….

  75. 75
    Njorl says:

    The only reason Iraq has any chance for a decent outcome today is because America was on the ground with tens of thousands of troops to act as that well-armed midwife,

    How could anyone in this day and age think that an Arab population could possibly overthrow a dictator without an American military invasion? Surely if there were recent examples of it happening Mr. Friedman would be aware of them.

  76. 76
    beltane says:

    I thought I had moved beyond the point where anything Tom Friedman said could elicit an emotional reaction but his “armed midwife” comment is making me wish his own birth had been attended to by such a deadly midwife. At least we would not be subjected to such sociopathic drivel. Banality of evil, indeed.

  77. 77
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Chris T.:

    What we need is a “new and improved” (really, just modernized) version of Glass-Steagall, that also deals with MBS and CDOs and SIVs and the rest of the alphabet soup. But that’s not going to happen for another 20 or 40 years. First we’ll have to recover from the current depression—which should occur in about 2019—and then we’ll have another boom, which will run 10 or 20 years, and then we’ll have another depression-level bust.

    Shorter-We need to clean HOUSE and Senate of all vermin

    even shorter- Publicly Funded Elections

  78. 78
    RossInDetroit, Rational Subjectivist says:

    The bannered legend on the Friedman armorial bearings shall be

    “LET’S YOU AND HIM FIGHT”

  79. 79
    Catsy says:

    @snailbiscuits: Here’s another wish to stay safe. My brother’s over there too.

  80. 80
    Bighorn Ordovican Dolomite says:

    @Ben Cisco:

    Win. Usually folks like snark, but I like the way you just cut through the bull$hit.

  81. 81
    pragmatism says:

    americans elect! Bobo/MOU ’12!

  82. 82
    snailbiscuits says:

    @Catsy:

    Thanks! I know that feeling too, both of my brothers are over here. In different provinces but still here.

  83. 83
    cmorenc says:

    @amk:

    This sick fuck is now pushing for a syrian war ? On top of the iranian war ?

    Let’s put Friedman to the REAL test: If he truly believes in the necessity of direct US military intervention in Syria or Iran, then truly he would be also willing to volunteer to serve in the first wave of infantry combat units to go in on the ground, instead of merely opining in comfy seats in air-conditioned rooms in Noo Yawk.

    Let’s put your boots where your mouth is, Tom. When you sign on the dotted line with a military (preferably Marine Corps) recruiter for exactly that line of duty, THEN maybe we’ll take you seriously enough to think about it. And think some more. And think some more about Tom Friedman at Parris Island going through basic Marine training in the humid heat of August in South Carolina. Hey, this is starting to actually be enjoyable thinking about Tom Friedman!

  84. 84
    Captain C says:

    When Friedman writes this:

    My gut tells me that Syria will require the same to have the same chance.

    I’m reminded of this quote from the movie Hi Fidelity:

    Well, I’ve been listening to my gut since I was 14 years old, and frankly speaking, I’ve come to the conclusion that my guts have sh!t for brains.

    Friedman really needs to take this to heart. In fact, he should probably stop writing for at least a couple Friedman units and spend his non-sleeping and eating time meditating on this quote and how it applies to him and his awful columns.

  85. 85
    Cassidy says:

    @cmorenc: Nah, you want him to go Army: 1)His deployment will be longer and 2) He has a higher chance of deploying.

  86. 86

    Let’s see: Iraqi deaths as a result of our intervention number at least 100,000, and may be as high as 900,000. As of 2008, according to the UNHCR, there were about 2 million Iraqis in exile abroad, and another 2.7 million in internal exile. In December 2007, the Iraqi government reported that 5 million children were orphaned, about half the underage population of Iraq.

    That’s hardly the sort of outcome that you’d want to base another intervention on.

  87. 87
    SatanicPanic says:

    @cmorenc: Don’t our soldiers have enough trouble already? I’d rather send him on one of those NRO cruises so he can annoy them.

  88. 88
    salacious crumb says:

    @cmorenc: @cmorenc: why just him? why not sign up his two daughters? assuming they are of legal age to join the military

  89. 89
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Ben Franklin: Publicly-financed elections aren’t a panacea — they get you a legislature that looks like the electorate that chooses it.

    Maine has publicly financed state elections, and a GOP-majority legislature. In the last cycle the GOP candidate, on average, was actually 1/3 more likely to run as a clean-elections candidate than a Democratic one. If anything, you get nuttieor GOP’ers because they don’t have to answer to the country-club-chanber-of-commerce great-and-good, just the base.

  90. 90
  91. 91
    beltane says:

    @low-tech cyclist:

    That’s hardly the sort of outcome that you’d want to base another intervention on.

    Unless you are a genocidal lunatic, that is.

  92. 92
    Raven says:

    @Roger Moore: A thousand cuts would be much better.

  93. 93
    TenguPhule says:

    My gut tells me that Syria will require the same to have the same chance.

    My Gut tells me Freidman should have all four limbs strapped to wild horses and then let them run wild.

  94. 94
    beltane says:

    @TenguPhule: Whatever it takes to get Friedman’s gut to stop talking to him. Whatever it takes.

  95. 95
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @pragmatism: I am not sure they could win any election, even to the county board.

  96. 96
    Yutsano says:

    @Tom Levenson:

    Yeah, but even Shakespeare admitted the play was better in the original Russian Klingon.

    Fixteth further, with moar geekiness.

    @snailbiscuits: May all your family stay together through this madness.

  97. 97
    Rob in CT says:

    @Southern Beale:

    Ah yes, how well do I recall the corporate emails telling us all to contact our representatives and tell them to vote to repeal Glass-Steagal.

    Thanks, Sandy. Thanks a whole heckuva lot.

  98. 98
    pragmatism says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: they have a heck of a platform: suggest what obama is already doing.

  99. 99
    Yutsano says:

    @cmorenc:

    And think some more about Tom Friedman at Parris Island going through basic Marine training in the humid heat of August in South Carolina

    He’d wash out his first day.

  100. 100
    Roy G. says:

    Friedman is the last keyboard soldier fighting for The Project for a New American Century.

    The US invaded Iraq after years of urging by the neocon chickenhawks at the PNAC, who opportunistically switched to the blatantly false pretext that Saddam was behind 9/11, and then ratcheted up to ‘Saddam has WMDs and he’s going to attack the US.’ The bringing democracy talk was added later, to gussy up the mission – along with ‘the reconstruction will pay for itself.’

    We are Uncle Sucker.

  101. 101
    grandpa john says:

    @snailbiscuits: Well if it was his treasury being drained I am sure he would quickly agree. funny how all the war mongering morons never seem to have to suffer any of the consequences of their idiotic and often immoral actions.

  102. 102
    Jeff Stone says:

    Nice Friedman smack-down in New Zealand- http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/s.....usa-00.ogg

  103. 103
    mdblanche says:

    And Iraq was such a bitter experience for America that we prefer never to speak of it again.

    Well, he was honest about one thing. Iraq has fallen off the national radar. I never would have heard about what’s happening there now if nobody had mentioned it here, because I haven’t run across any place else it’s being mentioned. And it’s just one part of George W. Bush’s legacy people never want to speak of again. Ignoring the man and his works is a coping mechanism, but it’s a foolish one. Because the reason Friedman and his ilk never want to speak of it again is the wish we’ll forget and accept the lies that make up the rest of his column as truth. As for those lies, they’ve reduced my opinion of him drastically and I didn’t even think that was possible anymore.

  104. 104
    quannlace says:

    Oh man. That Romney advisor’s comments about ‘Anglo-Saxon heritage.’ Another example of ‘are these people secretly working for Obama?’
    The Romney campaign can deny it all they want, for the next few days, that’s the very first question any British reporter is going to ask them.

  105. 105
    Chris says:

    @Roy G.:

    I think my favorite part of the Saddam 9/11 conspiracy theories is when people actually claimed that Zarqawi’s residence in Iraq was smoking gun proof that Saddam and al Qaeda were working together – this despite the fact that Zarqawi was living in the Kurdish north, which had been out of Saddam’s control (and full of NATO troops) since the early nineties.

  106. 106
    dead existentialist says:

    @sherparick: Whoa. Somebody’s disposition is less than sunny. (That was pretty, erm, scathing.)

  107. 107
    trollhattan says:

    @The Dangerman:
    Not to mention we’d be “siding” with AlQaeda, which has always worked spectacularly well for us in the past.

  108. 108
    Roy G. says:

    @Chris: I missed that at the time. I was too busy duck taping my windows with Saran Wrap before Saddam sent his Anthrax drones over NYC.

  109. 109
    trollhattan says:

    @Roy G.:

    Always thought the “bringing of democracy” turd hammered onto the steaming heap that was the Iraq misadventure was particularly rich, coming from candidate Governor Bush, who was foursquare against “nation-building” during the 2000 campaign.

  110. 110
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Davis X. Machina: Well the chamber sorts ought to have focused their noblesse oblige cannon on public education in Maine. They are literally the worst* of all the New England states and they particularly fall down when it comes to rural areas. The sad thing is that Vermont is very rural and very poor but manages to education EVERYONE well.

    *given RI’s financial problems and RCC problem and NH’s total tax/education funding meltdown, thaaaaat’s pretty impressive

    As long as ME neglects rural school districts it will continue to be Alabama North (US edition–the Canadian edition is, of course, Alberta)

  111. 111
    trollhattan says:

    @Southern Beale:
    But what does Phil Gramm think? BTW, does Gramm have any connection to the Rmoney campaign? He’s probably have been Walnuts’ Treasury Sac, had Walnuts somehow won. The knees still get wobbly at the very thought.

  112. 112
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @trollhattan: Bold-faced cold, calculating liar.

    Even I was shocked at the about-face. I thought he was a despicable person due to the Karla Faye Tucker thing and how he mocked her appeal for clemency and thought he was way too dangerous to stick in the WH, plus I objected to the whole dynastic thing. But yeah, I thought he was serious about the “nation-building” thing (this was in context an attack on Clinton over Somalia).

  113. 113
    PeakVT says:

    @Another Halocene Human: NH’s total tax/education funding meltdown

    What’s going on with that?

  114. 114
    Chris says:

    @trollhattan:

    Yeah, and the “but but but don’t you CARE about the poor Iraqis and their HUMAN RIGHTS” was vomit inducing as well, coming as it did from the same people who tried to frame Iran for Saddam’s use of chemical weapons on the Kurds (1988), and encouraged the Shiites to revolt only to fail to support them when they did (1991-1992).

  115. 115
    Bruce S says:

    I actually think that from the perspective of a cold, calculated opponent of Saddam Hussein’s who was cynical about the potential for a protracted opposition overturning his regime in the foreseeable future, conning the US into toppling him, letting the obviously ensuing chaos cut short any hopes of an external power wanting to hang in and try to manage their surrogates, and working to pick up the pieces isn’t a crazy strategy. That seems to be what happened, with Chalabi and others cooking intel and feeding it to eager to invade anything neo-cons. Friedman isn’t able to express his “insight” with much depth or honesty, but there may be some fragment of a point there – if you are the kind of person whose political objectives trump any issues of tens of thousands of innocent lives or the day-by-day aspirations of normal people.

  116. 116
    rikyrah says:

    He still hasn’t apologized for supporting the war.

  117. 117
    Chris says:

    @Bruce S:

    Chalabi may be a snake in the grass, but the notion that he had enough pull in Washington to provoke the war seems fairly far fetched to me. They wanted the war. Chalabi just hitched his cart to it by giving them the excuse.

  118. 118
    Maude says:

    @rikyrah:
    He sees no need to say he’s sorry.

  119. 119
    JoyfulA says:

    @snailbiscuits: We had news of a local (York, PA) man’s death in Afghanistan yesterday. May you all come home soon, safe and sound, and the U.S. no longer send anyone abroad to kill and be killed for old neocons’ fantasies.

  120. 120
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Chris:

    I don’t know that you guys are really disagreeing. Chalabi wanted to overthrow Saddam, so he told the neocons what they wanted to hear.

    He didn’t have enough pull to be installed as the new puppet prime minister of Iraq, which seems to have been his goal, but he certainly was a useful tool in getting the invasion to happen.

  121. 121
    Dr. Omed says:

    @geg6: You got it all wrong; for maximum suffering, you make him strip naked, let him run, then let him have it with both barrels, 12 gauge shells custom loaded with rock salt. Won’t kill ‘im, but he’ll wish he was dead. That’s what my crazy great grandfather kept on hand for stray dogs and trespassers.

  122. 122
    Chris says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Yeah, that sounds about right. He thought he was cutting a deal with the neocons that would guarantee his own power, but vastly overestimated his own value in their plans.

    “What of our bargain? My colony was to be spared!”
    “I now alter the bargain.”
    “How can you alter one side of a bargain?”
    “When there is no other side left. You have missed the entire point of the war.”

  123. 123
    Chris says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Yeah, that sounds about right. He thought he was cutting a deal with the neocons that would guarantee his own power, but vastly overestimated his own value in their plans.

    “What of our bargain? My colony was to be spared!”
    “I now alter the bargain.”
    “How can you alter one side of a bargain?”
    “When there is no other side left. You have missed the entire point of the war.”

  124. 124
    Baron Elmo says:

    I had a very satisfying experience once with a fellow employee who spoke admiringly of Tom Friedman after seeing him on television.

    My response was to take him to the nearest computer and summon up the infamous “Suck. On. This.” excerpt from his Charlie Rose interview, then watch his lip curl in disgust as he took in full scope of Tom’s douchebaggery. Needless to say, his good opinion of The Mustache was scuttled forever.

    Would there was some way to legally mandate that the Rose clip was to precede any Tom Friedman interview or television appearance for the rest of his life and after. That or force the man to live out the rest of his days in a clown suit, complete with wig, makeup, floppy shoes and rubber nose. I’d settle for either.

  125. 125
    Roy G. says:

    @trollhattan: Speaking of Phil Gramm, I would really like a group of concerned citizens to corner him and let him know how his ‘Financial Modernization’ worked out for the 99%. Last I heard, he was in a sinecure at Banc Suisse, and was telling the little people to ‘suck it up.’

    He is one of the top global scumbags who really needs to come face to face with the consequences of his crooked actions.

  126. 126
    Rex Everything says:

    Thank you, Tom Levenson, for using “begs the question” correctly.

  127. 127
    r€nato says:

    @seanindc: it’s not new at all; merely being rehashed in light of current events.

  128. 128
    Ken_L says:

    Some moron at NRO wrote a few days ago that until Obama went and screwed things up, Iraq was an outstanding success, with pro-American, anti-Iranian parties winning all the elections. These guys have truly created their own reality, just like they said they would.

  129. 129
    fuckwit says:

    @Baron Elmo: Sadly, last I checked, the SUCK ON THIS quote had been disappeared from YouTube. By whom, I know not, but my first guess would be by a petulant Friedman and his lawyers.

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