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Morally Bankrupt Pundits, Part 2 of ???

March 31, 2010

Via TNC, I just watched this incredible clip of Thomas Friedman justifying the war in Iraq:

Friedman begins by saying that in retrospect, he (finally!) understands why he advocated the invasion of Iraq. No, it wasn’t because Iraq was a safe haven for terrorists or  a destabilizing influence on the region or any other concrete reason. He doesn’t attempt to say, “Look Charlie, at the time I thought they had WMDs. Based on that erroneous belief, I was right to advocate invasion.”

Friedman doesn’t try any of that because he is too subtle a thinker. You see, there were three bubbles in the 2000s. Two economic bubbles, and one moral bubble. That moral bubble was growing in the minds of Arab sheikhs, and it reached its peak on September 11th.

The invasion of Iraq was not a preemptive strike against a clear-and-present danger. It was a preemptive strike against an abstract-and-symbolic danger.

We invaded Iraq to pop a moral bubble. The war in Iraq is a means to a metaphorical end.

Friedman: “We could have hit Saudi Arabia, we could have hit Pakistan. We hit Iraq because we could.” After all, when you are engaging in preemptive symbolic warfare, your choice of target is beside the point.
People like Brooks and Friedman discuss Iraq as if it were a morality play or the inevitable unfolding of the Hegelian dialectic, rather than an actual event in which $700 billion dollars were diverted from social spending toward hastening the deaths of 100,000+ Iraqis and Americans.
I never thought I would say this, but Mr. Brooks and Friedman, would the two of you stick to narrowly economistic cost-and-benefit utilitarian analyses of social phenomena from now on? Please?

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One Comment
  1. holly permalink

    COMPLETELY UNRELATED: i met your doppleganger last night at Queenshead. He’s a law student. I had no reason to talk to him except he looked like you and I thought that was funny.

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