Thomas Friedman, then and now

Then (courtesy of Atrios):

We needed to go over there, basically, um, and um, uh, take out a very big state right in the heart of that world and burst that bubble, and there was only one way to do it.

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.
That Charlie was what this war was about. We could’ve hit Saudi Arabia, it was part of that bubble. We coulda hit Pakistan. We hit Iraq because we could.


Scene 3: I’m visiting the new American field hospital in Balad, in central Iraq. The full madness that is Iraq is on display here: U.S. soldiers with blast wounds, insurgents with gunshots to the stomach and a 2-month-old baby with shrapnel wounds from an insurgent-planted I.E.D. scattered over her face. The hospital commander, Brig. Gen. Burt Field, looks at her and says to me: “There isn’t a 2-month-old on the planet who knows how to hate anybody. It’s all taught.”

Visiting Centcom commander, Adm. William Fallon, chats with the hospital staff, who are all here on different rotations — 30 days, 60 days, 180 days. He asks how they coordinate everyone. A voice from the back, an American nurse, says: “We’re all on the same team, sir.” I look around the room. I see African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Asian-Americans — the whole melting pot that is America — working together. Half are women, including mothers who have left their families for long stretches to serve here.

We don’t deserve such good people — neither do Iraqis if they continue to hate each other more than they love their own kids.

But you know, we set this thing in motion “because we could.”

Thanks, Mister Friedman!