Saturday, January 22, 2005

John Quiggin discovers that Thomas Friedman is an idiot.
Iranians are stocking up on candy and flowers with which to bestrew invading US troops, according to Thomas Friedman who says "many young people apparently hunger for Mr. Bush to remove their despotic leaders, the way he did in Iraq.". His evidence for this proposition is the following

An Oxford student who had just returned from research in Iran told me that young Iranians were �loving anything their government hates,� such as Mr. Bush, �and hating anything their government loves.� Tehran is festooned in �Down With America� graffiti, the student said, but when he tried to take pictures of it, the Iranian students he was with urged him not to. They said it was just put there by their government and was not how most Iranians felt. Iran, he said, is the ultimate �red state.�
It's too bad John stopped at that. He could have included the even more ridiculous paragraph which preceded the one above:
Funnily enough, the one country on this side of the ocean that would have elected Mr. Bush is not in Europe, but the Middle East: it's Iran, where many young people apparently hunger for Mr. Bush to remove their despotic leaders, the way he did in Iraq.
How does Tom Friedman know anything about anywhere? Well, he hung out for a day or two with some upper-middle class liberal Westernized locals that he found on the internet and asked them what they thought about their leaders, their countries, the world, and Tom Friedman, of course! Except in this instance, he asked somebody else who hung out with the types of people Friedman is sure will, with the aid of Almighty America, soon be running the Middle East (and will be in love with Israel to boot!).

If you, too, want to be as facile a columnist as our august Mr. Friedman, just try Michael Ward's "Create your own Thomas Friedman op-ed column" and start bombarding the New York Times with your submissions. The operative formula for the matter at hand goes like this:
When I was in [country in question] last [week/month/August], I was amazed by the [people's basic desire for a stable life/level of Westernization for such a closed society/variety of the local cuisine], and that tells me two things. It tells me that the citizens of [country in question] have no shortage of [courage/potential entrepreneurs/root vegetables], and that is a good beginning to grow from. Second, it tells me that people in [country in question] are just like people anywhere else on this great globe of ours.
Can't wait until Friedman-the-Neocon-Fellow-Traveler starts recycling his 2002 columns urging on the Iraq War. It will give him so much more time to finally work out that "Post-Hapsburg Lichtenstein-Morocco Theory of Conflict Prevention" he stopped pursuing after 9/11 changed everything.

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