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Friedman: The Chant Not Heard
The New York Times ^ | 11/30/03 | THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN

Posted on 11/29/2003 2:21:02 PM PST by Pokey78

I stood on the sidewalk in London the other day and watched thousands of antiwar, anti-George Bush, anti-Tony Blair protesters pass by. They chanted every antiwar slogan you could imagine and many you couldn't print. It was entertaining — but also depressing, because it was so disconnected from the day's other news.

Just a few hours earlier, terrorists in Istanbul had blown up a British-owned bank and the British consulate, killing or wounding scores of British and Turkish civilians. Yet nowhere could I find a single sign in London reading, "Osama, How Many Innocents Did You Kill Today?" or "Baathists — Hands Off the U.N. and the Red Cross in Iraq." Hey, I would have settled for "Bush and Blair Equal Bin Laden and Saddam" — something, anything, that acknowledged that the threats to global peace today weren't just coming from the White House and Downing Street.

Sorry, but there is something morally obtuse about holding an antiwar rally on a day when your own people have been murdered — and not even mentioning it or those who perpetrated it. Watching this scene, I couldn't help but wonder whether George Bush had made the liberal left crazy. It can't see anything else in the world today, other than the Bush-Blair original sin of launching the Iraq war, without U.N. approval or proof of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

Believe me, being a liberal on every issue other than this war, I have great sympathy for where the left is coming from. And if I didn't, my wife would remind me. It would be a lot easier for the left to engage in a little postwar reconsideration if it saw even an ounce of reflection, contrition or self-criticism coming from the conservatives, such as Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld, who drove this war, yet so bungled its aftermath and so misjudged the complexity of postwar Iraq. Moreover, the Bush team is such a partisan, ideological, nonhealing administration that many liberals just want to punch its lights out — which is what the Howard Dean phenomenon is all about.

But here's why the left needs to get beyond its opposition to the war and start pitching in with its own ideas and moral support to try to make lemons into lemonade in Baghdad:

First, even though the Bush team came to this theme late in the day, this war is the most important liberal, revolutionary U.S. democracy-building project since the Marshall Plan. The primary focus of U.S. forces in Iraq today is erecting a decent, legitimate, tolerant, pluralistic representative government from the ground up. I don't know if we can pull this off. We got off to an unnecessarily bad start. But it is one of the noblest things this country has ever attempted abroad and it is a moral and strategic imperative that we give it our best shot.

Unless we begin the long process of partnering with the Arab world to dig it out of the developmental hole it's in, this angry, frustrated region is going to spew out threats to world peace forever. The next six months in Iraq — which will determine the prospects for democracy-building there — are the most important six months in U.S. foreign policy in a long, long time. And it is way too important to leave it to the Bush team alone.

On Iraq, there has to be more to the left than anti-Bushism. The senior Democrat who understands that best is the one not running for president — Senator Joe Biden. He understands that the liberal opposition to the Bush team should be from the right — to demand that we send more troops to Iraq, and more committed democracy builders, to do the job better and smarter than the Bush team has.

Second, we are seeing — from Bali to Istanbul — the birth of a virulent, nihilistic form of terrorism that seeks to kill any advocates of modernism and pluralism, be they Muslims, Christians or Jews. This terrorism started even before 9/11, and is growing in the darkest corners of the Muslim world. It is the most serious threat to open societies, because one more 9/11 and we'll really see an erosion of our civil liberties. Ultimately, only Arabs and Muslims can root out this threat, but they will do that only when they have ownership over their own lives and societies. Nurturing that is our real goal in Iraq.

"In general," says Robert Wright, author of "Nonzero," "too few who opposed the war understand the gravity of the terrorism problem, and too few who favored it understand the subtlety of the problem."

For my money, the right liberal approach to Iraq is to say: We can do it better. Which is why the sign I most hungered to see in London was, "Thanks, Mr. Bush. We'll take it from here."


TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS: antiwar; appeasement; kooks; leftists; liberals; prosaddam; thomaslfriedman; ukvisit

1 posted on 11/29/2003 2:21:02 PM PST by Pokey78
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To: Pokey78
First, even though the Bush team came to this theme late in the day, this war is the most important liberal, revolutionary U.S. democracy-building project since the Marshall Plan.

ROTFLMAO!! Yeah, right, Tom. Bush just invaded Iraq at random to blow up things, cause he likes things that go BOOM! It was intelligent liberals like yourself who whispered in his ear, "Hey, now that we're actually there, why don't we build a democracy?" Cause till then, old boy was just going around making buildings go BOOM, right? Clapping his hands together, saying "Oooo, pretty lights!"

I think these folks actually believe this. Astounding.

2 posted on 11/29/2003 2:29:28 PM PST by wizardoz ("They're not Americans; they're Democrats." -NetValue)
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To: Pokey78
"In general," says Robert Wright, author of "Nonzero," "too few who opposed the war understand the gravity of the terrorism problem, and too few who favored it understand the subtlety of the problem."

How true. And Leftists think Bush is stupid. But then, Friedman is chief among leftist idiots if he thinks his crying in the wilderness will create "something more to the left than anti-Bushism." The left is blinded by their rage, repeating their own lies, incapable of generating a new thought, and has no desire to constructively help their nation anyway. They can't "take it from here" because they don't even know where HERE, THERE, or SOMEWHERE is these days.

3 posted on 11/29/2003 2:30:11 PM PST by anniegetyourgun
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To: Pokey78
"Believe me, being a liberal on every issue other than this war, I have great sympathy for where the left is coming from. And if I didn't, my wife would remind me.

"The World's Stupidest Bottom Burp...Thomas L. Friedman...New York Times!"

4 posted on 11/29/2003 2:34:48 PM PST by Itzlzha (The avalanche has already started...it is too late for the pebbles to vote!)
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To: Pokey78
These idiots would blame Bush if an airliner hijacked by Islamic terrorists crashed into Big Ben.
5 posted on 11/29/2003 2:37:07 PM PST by The Great RJ
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To: Itzlzha
Once in every lifetime,
Comes a love like this,
Oh I need you, you need me,
Oh my darling can’t you see. Young Ones.
Darling we’re the Young Ones. Young Ones.
Shouldn’t be afraid. To live, love, there’s a song to be sung.
Cause we may not be the Young Ones very long.
6 posted on 11/29/2003 2:40:24 PM PST by Pokey78 ("I thought this country was founded on a principle of progressive taxation." Wesley Clark to Russert)
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To: Itzlzha
He's fallen off the thinking wagon. His wife must tell him if his SHOES fit.
7 posted on 11/29/2003 2:40:36 PM PST by Ann Archy
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To: Itzlzha
I don't share Tommy's understanding of the left. But if he keeps this up he will be fired.
8 posted on 11/29/2003 2:44:27 PM PST by Ukiapah Heep (Shoes for Industry!)
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To: Pokey78
I posted a topic thread on FR awhile back here is an excerpt:

Within a few days of Sept 11th, after the shock settled in, all the socialist accomplishments of the last 35 years took a direct hit.

Close the borders! Protect our sovereignty! Racial profile those terrorists! Arm the pilots! Who the hell are we letting into this country? Deport Illegal aliens! I’m going out and exercise my second amendment right and buy a gun!

People started putting up American flags, and singing patriotic songs. Political correctness went out the window. Traitors are called just that, not dissidents or just Americans exercising their first amendment rights to help us all commit national suicide.

Sure the Tony Blairs, Daschles, Kennedys, Leaheys and similar ilk are onboard to kill the terrorists, and the sooner the better. That way they can get back to undermining this country through socialism, and repair the damage done to their agenda by this intrusion of Muslim terrorists. When the terrorist threat abates the American flags will come down, and they can get back to their cancerous work on our constitution, and country. "

Tom here:
What I didn't anticipate then is how these socialists got so blinded by their hatred of Bush and this country they couln't even fake loyalty to this country. They just teed off on the President, and went into their blame America first mode.

A leftist like Friedman sees the long term picture of advancing socialism through an appearance of cooperation. - Tom

9 posted on 11/29/2003 2:45:29 PM PST by Capt. Tom (Anything done in moderation shows a lack of interest. - Capt. Tom)
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To: Pokey78
Behind every (straight) liberal man is an overbearing, selfrightous, aggressive liberal woman.

And if I didn't, my wife would remind me.

10 posted on 11/29/2003 2:49:24 PM PST by DManA
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To: Pokey78
Oh cripes where to start?

"I couldn't help but wonder whether George Bush had made the liberal left crazy."

So the lunacy of the lunatic left and the lunatics who support them is Bush's fault too?

"Moreover, the Bush team is such a ...nonhealing administration..."

Nonhealing? What kind of a word is that? Shouldn't it be unhealing? What, exactly, is supposed to healed here? Only in the NY Times, which used to be at least well written, can you find cr*p like this nowaday. I read an sentance on the first page, above the fold the other day that made me want to find the writer and throw a heavy object at him.

"Unless we begin the long process of partnering with the Arab world to dig it out of the developmental hole it's in, this angry, frustrated region is going to spew out threats to world peace forever."

Here's the old "root causes" BS. Forget it. Those Iraquis ain't so poor, neither are the Saudis. Mohammed Atta studied Engineering in Germany! You want to find poor people, go to the South Bronx, not too many heading off for Heidelberg from that neck of the woods.

"Second, we are seeing — from Bali to Istanbul — the birth of a virulent, nihilistic form of terrorism that seeks to kill any advocates of modernism and pluralism, be they Muslims, Christians or Jews. This terrorism started even before 9/11...Ultimately, only Arabs and Muslims can root out this threat, but they will do that only when they have ownership over their own lives and societies."

More bad writing, leading to, or stemming from, more bad thought. I'm very glad he realizes this started before 9/11, unfortunately he seems to think Islamic terrorism is still aborning, which would be a pretty long labor, one must note. However, the fact of the matter is the it is FULLY GROWN, male and approximately 19-35 years in age. The Islamics HAVE ownership of their societies, (although I admit that some of those societies are sufficiently repressive that individuals may not have control over their own lives) the problem is they want to have ownership of OUR societies.
11 posted on 11/29/2003 2:55:38 PM PST by jocon307 (The Dems don't get it, the American people do.)
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To: Pokey78
"Well, you're not the one they're going to be calling "Bogey Bum" at the next "Friends of Stalin Show your Bottom" contest!"

Young Ones Bump!!!!

Have you bought the DVD set yet? I highly advise you do!

12 posted on 11/29/2003 2:57:54 PM PST by Itzlzha (The avalanche has already started...it is too late for the pebbles to vote!)
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To: wizardoz
I'm still waiting for the "Stop Jihad Now!" signs in front of US sited Mosques and lawns in liberal neighborhoods.
13 posted on 11/29/2003 3:09:41 PM PST by Paladin2
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To: Pokey78
And it is way too important to leave it to the Bush team alone.

Whatever you say, Tom. But, last I looked, there was no help forthcoming from either the Democrat left or its multinational creature-of-choice, the UN. They've had their opportunity to contribute. But, so far, they've proven capable of only carping and obstructionism...or worse.

So, since we have to, Tom, we'll do what needs to be done and go it alone. Meanwhile, you guys can sit and fester.

14 posted on 11/29/2003 3:11:46 PM PST by okie01 (www.ArmorforCongress.com...because Congress isn't for the morally halt and the mentally lame.)
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To: okie01
Who does Tom want to "take it from there"? All the Democrat nominees want to declare defeat and pull out of Iraq asap! The liberals are in such a knee-jerk reaction mode that if George Bush said good is good and evil is bad, they'd take the position that good is evil and evil is good...wait, they already think that!
15 posted on 11/29/2003 3:28:52 PM PST by winner3000
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To: Pokey78
He married SERIOUS money. HE doesn't worry about taxes, because his wife can clip coupons.
16 posted on 11/29/2003 3:37:00 PM PST by NativeNewYorker (Freepin' Jew Boy)
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To: jocon307
You know, the so-called "Black September" movement committed one of the most horrible atrocities for prime time during the Munich Olympics in 1972, 30 years ago. Robert Kennedy was assassinated by a disgruntled Palestinian in 1968, 4 years before that. I was in the Middle East as a US sailor in 1975 and 1976, and we were told not to wear our uniforms on the beach (in Bahrain, the 'liberal' Gulf State) because we didn't want to 'offend' the locals. Let's face it; they've never had any love for us, they don't appreciate our 'decadent' ways, they don't like the role women play in Western society, and as for the Saudis, they consider us their freaking mercenaries on call to do their dirty work. Folks, it really is us against them; they're the ones who've set the standard. Don't ever forget, anybody, that an aroused, vengeful America is their worst fear. Because of the Internet, we've gone past the pro-liberal press. We've all connected and we're firm. What does anybody really think is going to happen if somebody else does something stupid like attack us again? Does anybody really, truly think that the majority of Americans will want to pull up stakes and bail? After Vietnam, after Mogadishu? By the way, where's the learned and saintly Nick DeGenova been hiding these days? In the words of 'Clubber Lang', 'I pity the fool who tries taking what's mine!'
17 posted on 11/29/2003 3:39:03 PM PST by hleewilder
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To: Pokey78
I liked this column. It's predicated on the idea that the mission in Iraq is important and justified. Friedman's position though is that a conservative government is too stupid and heavy handed to understand the sublties of the operation.

Friedman may or may not be right on that point, but the point that he completely overlooks, or fails to adress , is the tendency of liberals to turn tail and run when the fighting starts.

All the sublties dissapear after you surrender.

18 posted on 11/29/2003 3:44:02 PM PST by tjg
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To: Pokey78
I have great sympathy for where the left is coming from. And if I didn't, my wife would remind me.

Makes me wonder if Tom has been getting any since he started supporting the war.
19 posted on 11/29/2003 3:47:11 PM PST by hemogoblin (The few, the proud, the 537.)
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To: Pokey78
Friedman is a highbrow with the imagination of a cricket in heat!
20 posted on 11/29/2003 3:49:08 PM PST by CROSSHIGHWAYMAN (so it is written, so it is done)
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This jerk thinks he is a visionary Dim for not walking off the cliff with communists in England. He feigns moderation every 10th article, and even impresses some RINOs.


"I have great sympathy for where the left is coming from. And if I didn't, my wife would remind me."

Effeminate little bitch. Telling the world what to think daily... yet submissive to his wife to the point of letting her believe and advocate falsehoods and lies. The gratuitous "She's the boss" BS.

21 posted on 11/29/2003 3:56:55 PM PST by At _War_With_Liberals
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To: Capt. Tom
Well said. Bravo.
22 posted on 11/29/2003 3:58:43 PM PST by At _War_With_Liberals
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"I liked this column."

Stockholm syndrome.
23 posted on 11/29/2003 4:01:15 PM PST by At _War_With_Liberals
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To: Pokey78
Liberals are ranting and raving crazies, and they will succeed in the battle for the WH as well as a ranting and raving crazy would succeed in a regular battle-- which is to say, not very well. It's part of Rove's strategy to keep the left from thinking rationally.
24 posted on 11/29/2003 4:14:40 PM PST by GraniteStateConservative ("He's got to win in '04. No one else can prosecute this war like he can."- Cpt. J. Morrison, Baghdad)
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To: Pokey78
I thought that the one chant that was missing at London's anti-Bush demonstrations was "We're s**te and we know we are...we're s**te and we know we are..."
25 posted on 11/29/2003 4:18:07 PM PST by RichInOC (...they're s**te and they know they are...)
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To: At _War_With_Liberals
Hey, you guys, he has to write something whether he has anything to say or not. And he works for the NYT, so he has to toe the party line. And he has a wife to support. What do you expect?
26 posted on 11/29/2003 4:25:03 PM PST by tommix2
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To: Ukiapah Heep
I don't share Tommy's understanding of the left.

I believe that I saw Friedman on C-SPAN admitting, when asked about his "politics", that he best fit the Democratic Socialists of the European mold.

27 posted on 11/29/2003 4:25:55 PM PST by jackbill
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To: Pokey78
Which is why the sign I most hungered to see in London was, "Thanks, Mr. Bush. We'll take it from here."

Oh yeah. They've done such a good job in the world so far. /sarcasm

28 posted on 11/29/2003 4:26:15 PM PST by SuziQ
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To: tommix2
Show no mercy to leftists, EVER.
29 posted on 11/29/2003 4:27:44 PM PST by At _War_With_Liberals
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To: Pokey78
Here's a typical Friedman column since the war started. He knows that our course of action is just, but he can't get past the fact that it's Republicans doing it. So he has to rain on the parade at every opportunity even though he supports it. My own opinion is that the Dems couldn't organize a good vomit contest after eating maggots (sorry for that image). Which is what their party is full of.
30 posted on 11/29/2003 4:28:08 PM PST by driftless ( For life-long happiness, learn how to play the accordion.)
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To: Pokey78
What Friedman doesn't understand is that liberals hate Democracy and love totalitarianism. That is the single defining element of all the anti-war protests of the last 50 years. The protestors love socialist dictatorships and hate capitalism and freedom.
31 posted on 11/29/2003 4:32:32 PM PST by InterceptPoint
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To: Pokey78
And I guess he'd be considered one of the more moderate liberals, since he didn't like some of their signs?

This comment really made me gag:

Moreover, the Bush team is such a partisan, ideological, nonhealing administration...

Excuuuse me - non-HEALING???

Is that supposed to be a function of government? I thought doctors, nurses and acupuncturists were into healing!

32 posted on 11/29/2003 5:01:50 PM PST by little jeremiah
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To: driftless
My own opinion is that the Dems couldn't organize a good vomit contest after eating maggots (sorry for that image). Which is what their party is full of.

ROTFLOL!!!! Love it!!

33 posted on 11/29/2003 5:08:00 PM PST by little jeremiah
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To: Pokey78
Some of the left is starting to see their impossible position. I disagree with Friedman about those that favorted the war not understanding the subltety of the terrorism problem. I would counter that those on the left don't understand the simplicity of the problem -- a world-wide fascist movement has been using a religion that already preaches intolerance to accomplish their political goals. Don't they remember genocide? Don't they remember torture, terrorism? One doesn't wait until the Huns are at the door, one hunts them. I respectfully would thank Thomas Friedman of the NY Times for his honesty about the left and the importance of Iraq. I would also respectfully remind Mr. Friedman that until the left understands some of the simplicity of opposing terrrorism, they are not ready to "... take it from here."
34 posted on 11/30/2003 4:47:56 AM PST by rhombus
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To: Pokey78
On Iraq, there has to be more to the left than anti-Bushism. The senior Democrat who understands that best is the one not running for president — Senator Joe Biden. He understands that the liberal opposition to the Bush team should be from the right — to demand that we send more troops to Iraq, and more committed democracy builders, to do the job better and smarter than the Bush team has.

Joe Biden?

THE Joe Biden who referred to the US as bullies, for utilizing our no-nonsense approach in Afghanistan?

He sure must be a quick study.

35 posted on 11/30/2003 6:38:44 AM PST by Lisa Lupner
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To: rhombus
Good post.
36 posted on 11/30/2003 6:40:07 AM PST by Lisa Lupner
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To: Pokey78
Moreover, the Bush team is such a partisan, ideological, nonhealing administration that many liberals just want to punch its lights out — which is what the Howard Dean phenomenon is all about.

BRING IT ON!

37 posted on 11/30/2003 7:03:45 AM PST by Hostage
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To: Pokey78
I get it, Mr. Friedman. You have to stay in good with your liberal buddies, so you make up a bogus reason to attack Bush et al. Bush waited an unnecessary 6 to 8 months for Blair and Powell's attempt to try the diplomatic multilateral approach. Did you forget that?

Also, Bush let the State Department run the immediate post war with the kabosh of the external Iraqis and the imposition of a buch of lefties such as that Boudin woman and Jay Garner, who is just this past week revealing his true colors. Do you forget these things? No, you just want contrition from Bush and Rumsfeld. You are worhtless. Your personal failings--maybe it is your wife's influence, after all-- determine this whole idiotic snit about how Bush is right, but he wasn't really. All to preserve your standing with the NYT and others.

38 posted on 11/30/2003 7:08:33 AM PST by ontos-on
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To: DManA
" Behind every (straight) liberal man is an overbearing, selfrightous, aggressive liberal woman.

And if I didn't, my wife would remind me.

Precisely.

As Nietzsche said, if you fail to get the relation to woman issue right, all else will be rotten.

39 posted on 11/30/2003 7:13:29 AM PST by ontos-on
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To: tjg
Liberals just don't turn tail and run when the fighting starts. They wail and moan, prevaricate, temporize and delay your going out to meet the enemy as mush as humanly possible; and then wail and moan at every step once the fighting does start.
40 posted on 11/30/2003 7:16:03 AM PST by ontos-on
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To: driftless
My own opinion is that the Dems couldn't organize a good vomit contest after eating maggots (sorry for that image). Which is what their party is full of.

I am so glad you apologized.

41 posted on 11/30/2003 7:20:17 AM PST by ontos-on
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To: rhombus
I would counter that those on the left don't understand the simplicity of the problem --

Bingo. They claim their ideology has too much "nuance" or "subtlety" for a dumb right winger to understand, which is a tacit admission that their ideas and beliefs cannot be substantiated by a-priori logic. Their stance on issues must be cloaked in semantic gymnastics, gobbledygook reasoning, and outright lies.

42 posted on 11/30/2003 7:47:45 AM PST by wayoverontheright
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To: wizardoz
First, even though the Bush team came to this theme late in the day, this war is the most important liberal, revolutionary U.S. democracy-building project since the Marshall Plan.

And this man expects his readers to acknowledge his expertise in political commentary! For a whole year, the Bush administration was saying that a Democratic Iraq was the key to a stable Middle East. They were also saying that a thug with WMD capability had to be stopped - the UN agreed with that.

I guess Friedman, like so many other libs, has such a high opinion of his own thoughts that he doesn't have to waste time actually listening to the speeches of the President.

43 posted on 11/30/2003 7:55:39 AM PST by maica (Leadership matters)
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To: Pokey78
Friedman is an over-rated windbag.

A Walter Lippman wannabe who couldn't change Lippman's typewriter ribbon.

The Times' Op-Ed lineup is a national disgrace.
44 posted on 11/30/2003 7:58:27 AM PST by aculeus (I cut and paste. You decide.)
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