Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Secondary, not Phony-Tom Friedman has a column up on Iraqi reconstruction that is one word shy of being excellent. However, that one word takes it from being truly Pulitzer Prize worthy to being leftist propaganda (Yes? The two are positively correlated? No, it only seems that way.). Here's the problem child, with my italics added
For me, though, it is a disturbing thought that the Bush team could get itself so tied up defending its phony reasons for going to war — the notion that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction that were undeterrable and could threaten us, or that he had links with Al Qaeda — that it could get distracted from fulfilling the real and valid reason for the war: to install a decent, tolerant, pluralistic, multireligious government in Iraq that would be the best answer and antidote to both Saddam and Osama.
Had Friedman substituted secondary for phony, he'd have gotten away with it. He would have given credit for a grand humanitarian vision to President Bush. However, as Friedman wrote it, it credits Bush not with a grand humanitarian vision but dishonesty. WMDs was a secondary reason and al Qaeda was a tertiary reason, but they weren't bogus. Were regime change the only reason for kicking Saddam out, there were plenty of other countries more needy, such as North Korea and Zimbabwe. If regime change were the only reason, a majority of Americans wouldn't have been behind it, nor would it be worth the risk. Right now, Bush is having some bad PR over WMD intelligence; not finding any significant evidence as of yet gives liberals ammunition to use against the president. Friedman, working at the epicenter of the current flap, seems to have succumbed to the liberal cheap shot. Friedman may be left-of-center and prone to internationalist conventional wisdom at times, but he's not been a Democratic hack. Today seems to be an exception.

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