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Thursday, March 25, 2004

Tom Friedman Calls Israelis Appeasers

Oh boy, this Tom Friedman column is an absolute trainwreck, if you will. He likens the Spanish terrorist attack's impact on that country's election to what has happened in Israel in recent years:

In 1996, shortly after the murder of Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres was leading Bibi Netanyahu by 20 points in opinion polls. Then Islamic terrorists unleashed bus bombings, killing 59 Israelis. Mr. Peres saw his lead wiped out, and then lost the election by a tiny margin. Suicide bombing totally undermined Labor's Ehud Barak and helped elect Ariel Sharon in 2001. So terrorists have been voting in Israel's elections for a long time.

Hence the Israeli voters have been appeasing terrorists for some time now, according to Friedman's formulation. For some reason, I doubt we'll be hearing this point from the warbloggers any time soon.

Then Friedman offers up a reluctant concession-that-isn't-really-a-concession, concluding, "Personally, I believe it's naïve to think that truth-in-government was the only thing motivating anguished Spanish swing voters after the bombings, and that there was not a twitch of appeasement in the air." Gee, Tom, couldn't you at least fly to Madrid and pick up a few anecdotes to back this up?

Friedman writes that he hopes Zapatero reconsiders and won't pull his troops out of Iraq if there is no larger UN role in overseeing the occupation. Why is demanding this heightened UN presence and clout--something that would rationalize the occupation and give it a greater chance of success--out of bounds? Why doesn't Friedman instead focus on the stubborn refusal by the Bush administration to consider such a proposal, especially in light of Friedman's past criticism of how the Bushies have approached the situation in Iraq?