Tom Friedman today:

As I never bought the argument that Saddam had nukes that had to be taken out, the decision to go to war stemmed, for me, from a different choice: Could we collaborate with the people of Iraq to change the political trajectory of this pivotal state in the heart of the Arab world and help tilt it and the region onto a democratizing track? After 9/11, the idea of helping to change the context of Arab politics and address the root causes of Arab state dysfunction and Islamist terrorism — which were identified in the 2002 Arab Human Development Report as a deficit of freedom, a deficit of knowledge and a deficit of women’s empowerment — seemed to me to be a legitimate strategic choice.

Tom Friedman then:

What they needed to see was American boys and girls going house to house, from Basra to Baghdad, um and basically saying, “Which part of this sentence don’t you understand?” You don’t think, you know, we care about our open society, you think this bubble fantasy, we’re just gonna to let it grow? Well, Suck. On. This.[28][29][30] ..We could have hit Saudi Arabia. It was part of that bubble. Could have hit Pakistan. We hit Iraq because we could. That’s the real truth…

This text is provided as a public service. The email address for the Times Public Editor is, for LsTE,


15 Responses to Friedman

  1. Blue Meme says:

    I suspect that the reason it is so hard to get people in power to see that pundits like Lil’ Tommy are emotional eight-year-olds is that most people in power are emotional six-year-olds, and look up to him.

  2. LosGatosCA says:

    Sadly, no one cares.

    So let’s.stop. interrupting their punching of DFH’s.

    Also.too. His brain is flat.

  3. Friedman is a liar, just like the people he defended.

  4. raging red says:

    In addition to the obvious contradiction in those two quotes, I’m struck by his euphemisms for dropping bombs: “collaborate with the people of Iraq,” “help tilt it and the region onto a democratizing track.” Dropping bombs = collaboration. Dropping bombs = just a little nudge toward democracy. Mmkay.

  5. bobbo says:

    “collaborate with the people of Iraq to change the political trajectory” is just punditese for “drop freedom bombs on grateful brown people”

    • LosGatosCA says:

      It takes two to collaborate. They supplied the targets and we supplied the bombs.

      The next six months are critical for you to understand that.

  6. […] Ackroyd read Tom Friedman this morning. He quotes: As I never bought the argument that Saddam had nukes that had to be taken out, the decision to go […]

  7. 11BP says:

    freedman is a just a big fat ugly jew. eff him.

  8. doug says:

    what a psycho

  9. Richard Stevens says:

    Just another attempt to re-write history to a more ‘friendly you’ perspective.

    Who can blame him? He did cry all the way to the bank.

    One more phony…

  10. frank kyte says:

    I’d like to comment on your Dec 22 broadcasts about the “Lie of the Year.” I just listened to this and I disagree with some of your conclusions. You state that the “vouchers” attack on the Ryan Plan are actually a lie because Democrats also want to apply “premium support.”

    I agree that there are many Democrats that would like to take this route, mostly of the Blue Dog and New Dem persuasions. But I’d make a few points.
    1. This is hardly a universal plan. I’m certain that Bernie Sanders would not support this. I doubt that Nancy Pelosi or most members of the House Progressive Caucus would support this.
    2. This has never been voted on by the Democratic caucus so we really don’t know who would consider premium support. I agree that there is a danger of “centrist” dems voting with conservatives to support vouchers but this is not established as a policy of the Democratic Party.
    3. Although I agree that Ezra Kline thinks premium support might be a good way to cover Medicare, I consider it highly likely the Paul Krugman understands that this would be a terrible idea economically. He also attacked Ron Wyden for supporting this idea. Krugman would be very shrill about any politician that tried to voucherize Medicare. Your characterization of his post is really out of line.

    • jayackroyd says:

      No, it’s not a lie because not all members of the Democratic caucus would advocate premium support. Saying vouchers and premium support are the same thing is a lie. and saying that the Republican budget that proposes the use of premium support represents a compromise aimed at the centrist wing of the Democratic party. Rather than advocating Health care IRAs or issuing vouchers, the Republican congressional budget proposes the use of a mechanism, premium support, that was originally proposed by the centrist think tank, the Brookings Institute, and has been advocated by some democrats. To call this a “voucher” plan is simply inaccurate.

      Your item 2 shows the danger of conflating the two policy ideas; you use premium support and voucher interchangeably. They are not the same thing. That’s the problem here.

  11. When guys like Tom Friedman get it so, so, so, so very wrong, they should lose their pundit credentials. In fact, I think there should be a website called “” that charts the idiotic predictions and prognostications of blowhards like Friedman and holds them accountable. One could even build an algorithm that “grades” each pundit based on the significance of news event (monthly jobs report might rank as a 1 while a decade long Mideast war might rank as a 10) as well as the overall accuracy of the prediction. The website might also feature a “virtual dunce cap” that I think it’s safe to say that Tom Friedman would definitely be wearing.

  12. MostlyAPragmatist says:

    This is an instance of bald, unadorned “He said vs. He said” “gotcha” commentary. I hate it when I see it on the right, and I feel compelled to discourage it when I see it on the left.

    This form of commentary always has the following flaws:
    1. It quotes the person out of context. Even if the quotes aren’t misleadingly truncated, one of the quotes almost always lacks historical context.
    2. It doesn’t actually state state an opinion to engage with. Maybe you mean something insulting and disparaging, but I can’t really disagree with you, because you never state your purpose in juxtaposing these quotes.

    In this case, if I were a Tom Friedman supporter (which is hard to imagine, but for the sake of argument), I’d respond: “No fair! There’s no contradiction here. In both quotes he says that the reason for the Iraq War was to put a stop to the growth of terrorism. His earlier quote is entirely consistent with not believing the WMD rationale for the war! Jay Ackroyd is an angry disenfranchised hippy and should be punched!” and I think a neutral observer might take Tom Friedman’s side.

    In fact, I think your point is that Tom Friedman is an arbitrarily vindictive douche bag who likes to pretend he’s a humane intellectual crusader. In fact, I agree with that point and I think the quotes above support that statement pretty well. But I’m not sure that’s your point because YOU DON’T STATE YOUR POINT. So state it.

    Here are two hateful examples of this hateful form by the people who made it (for me) infamous, N. Greg Mankiw and Alex Tabarrok. Read these posts, stew over the obnoxious smugness of the authors and then consider whether you want to play this game:

    I’m not asking for a senior thesis in every post. Heck, I’ve seen your stuff at Atrios: a snide comment, some well placed profanity would do fine. In fact I’d feel flattered to see “arbitrarily vindictive douchebag” used on this site. Just sayin’

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