The Upside Down Thomas Friedman

by Ravi Mosur,, October 3, 2002

In the September 18, 2002 issue of the New York Times, an editorial written by Thomas Friedman began by explaining why Iraq is not going to terrorize the U.S. by dropping nuclear or biological weapons. Then he goes on to say that we should invade "Iraq only if we think that doing so can bring about regime change and democratization."

Invade Iraq!?! After using half his column stating why there is no threat to the United States from Iraq, he nevertheless advocates invading Iraq, while ignoring the U.N. charter prohibiting any military action except in self-defense.

Perhaps Mr. Friedman's asserted love for democracy, law, and the international community is not as deep as he claims it to be.

Further into the editorial, Mr. Friedman continues his patronizing sermon: "What the Arab world desperately needs is a model that works - a progressive Arab regime that by its sheer existence would create pressure and inspiration for gradual democratization and modernization around the region."

May I advise Mr. Friedman that there were such regimes in the Middle East? One example is Iran under Mosaddeq in 1953. What happened to it, Mr. Friedman? Why did the U.S. deliberately go about working to dismantle it? If the U.S. loves democracy so much, why did the U.S. support the dictator Shah of Iran? Why did the U.S. enthusiastically support Saddam Hussein in his wars against Iran and repression at home? Why did the U.S. enthusiastically support the dictator and mass murderer Suharto in another Muslim country, Indonesia?

Are these more mistakes of foreign policy, Mr. Friedman?

How many of the governments installed by the U.S. (as if it has some God-given right to do so) around the world have been democratic, Mr. Friedman? How many have been rank dictators of the lowest breed? Why should we believe any of your words, when your deeds are the exact opposite? What shred of credibility could you possibly have after your long history of military interventions on behalf of despotic tyrants around the world? As recently as in April of this year, the U.S. establishment enthusiastically and unanimously applauded the military coup against democratically elected Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. Why should we believe that this time, the U.S. will make an about-face and settle for a democratic government in oil-rich Iraq?

The following fragment from the editorial by Mr. Friedman takes the cake: "...young men who are full of rage, because they are raised with a view of Islam as the most perfect form of monotheism, but they look around their home countries and see widespread poverty, ignorance and repression. And they are humiliated by it, humiliated by the contrast with the West and how it makes them feel, and it is this humiliation -this poverty of dignity - that drives them to suicidal revenge."

I see. Mr. Thomas Friedman has now become an expert psychologist. When Usama bin Laden discussed the World Trade Center attacks, he didn't discuss how humiliated the West made him feel. No, his justification for the attack was found in three reasons: U.S. military bases in Saudi Arabia, U.S. savage and murderous war against Iraq, and U.S. blind support for Israel in its occupation of Palestine. Does any of this ring a bell, Mr. Friedman? Does any of that sound like bemoaning some inherent failure of Islam in the face of the West?

The vast majority of Latin America hates the U.S. as well. What psychobabble are you going to invent to explain that hatred? Either you are utterly ignorant of Usama's statements - in which case you have no right to be writing in a national newspaper - or you are fully aware of it all, but simply lying through your teeth in coming to these asinine conclusions.

Perhaps Mr. Friedman should analyze what drives the United States to homicidal mass murder. Perhaps the United States is humiliated; humiliated that with all of its superpowers. all of its nuclear weapons, stealth bombers, nuclear submarines, cluster bombs, daisy cutter bombs, cruise missiles, and all the fancy death machines that the media is so in love with - the U.S. still doesn't have access to free oil. Perhaps the United States is humiliated that it still has to actually pay undeserving third world countries for all that oil that rightfully belongs to the only superpower in the world.

Mr. Friedman, you are no writer. Your analyses are so utterly empty that you have become a disgrace to the Pulitzer Prize your fellow cronies awarded to you. Please return it at your earliest convenience.

[Ravi Mosur is a 46-year-old high-tech computer industry worker who considers himself surrounded by elitist viewpoints. Ravi finds much satisfaction in looking for ways to promote the circulation of alternative media and viewpoints since the mainstream media are rapidly losing all credibility. He lives and works in the bay area of California in the United States.]

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