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Thursday, December 23, 2004

That Shifting Rationale for War

Enduring Friedman quotes Tom Friedman today:

...this is a war between some people in the heart of the Arab-Muslim world who - for the first time ever in their region - are trying to organize an election to choose their own leaders and write their own constitution versus all the forces arrayed against them.

Compare to Tom Friedman, January 12, 2004:

The real reason for this war—which was never stated—was to burst what I would call the "terrorism bubble," which had built up during the 1990s.

This bubble was a dangerous fantasy, believed by way too many people in the Middle East. This bubble said that it was OK to plow airplanes into the World Trade Center, commit suicide in Israeli pizza parlors, praise people who do these things as "martyrs," and donate money to them through religious charities. This bubble had to be burst, and the only way to do it was to go right into the heart of the Arab world and smash something—to let everyone know that we, too, are ready to fight and die to preserve our open society. Yes, I know, it's not very diplomatic—it's not in the rule book—but everyone in the neighborhood got the message: Henceforth, you will be held accountable. Why Iraq, not Saudi Arabia or Pakistan? Because we could—period.

Strange how Bill Clinton gets pilloried for saying he got it on with Lewinsky "because he could" while Friedman can claim we started a war because we could and that's cool.

Anyway, the rhetoric has shifted, huh? Here's Tom on Old Europe:

We may lose because most Europeans, having been made stupid by their own weakness, would rather see America fail in Iraq than lift a finger for free and fair elections there.

Or, just maybe, they don't want to sign on to the war since it's being run so incompetently. Do you think the US would cede any decision-making power to the Europeans if they offered some troops to the effort? I'm guessing not. Without a change in direction, though, this Iraqi campaign is going nowhere. Why should Europeans waste their lives and treasure on an American boondoggle? Friedman should hardly be insulting others for not joining up when he can't even figure out the purpose of the mission.

Also, the Europeans might not want to participate in War Crimes.