Sunday, September 30, 2007

Are you a 9/12 voter?

Thomas Friedman has a superb piece in the Sunday New York Times. Using a recent article from the Onion as a springboard, Friedman sharply criticizes Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani for his heavy use of 9/11 campaign imagery.

He argues that the next election is not about 9/11, but rather 9/12. In other words, the next election should be about the future, not the past.

Here are the proverbial money quotes:

"...9/11 has made us stupid. I honor, and weep for, all those murdered on that day. But our reaction to 9/11 — mine included — has knocked America completely out of balance, and it is time to get things right again."

"Before 9/11, the world thought America’s slogan was: “Where anything is possible for anybody.” But that is not our global brand anymore. Our government has been exporting fear, not hope: “Give me your tired, your poor and your fingerprints.”"

"I just attended the China clean car conference, where Chinese automakers were boasting that their 2008 cars will meet “Euro 4” — European Union — emissions standards. We used to be the gold standard. We aren’t anymore."

"We can’t afford to keep being this stupid! We have got to get our groove back. We need a president who will unite us around a common purpose, not a common enemy. Al Qaeda is about 9/11. We are about 9/12, we are about the Fourth of July — which is why I hope that anyone who runs on the 9/11 platform gets trounced."


BruinKid said...

Good to see that even Friedman recognizes this absurdity. Many of us still distrust him because of the Friedman Unit in his cheerleading for the Iraq war.

Curtis said...

Dude, Thomas Friedman is a solid intellectual.

How can you distrust Friedman solely on the basis off his initial support of the Iraq war? By that standard, isn't it a bit hypocritical to be such a huge fan of John Edwards?

BruinKid said...

Not just initial, Friedman was saying that well into 2006. It was so bad, even Stephen Colbert brought up the "next 6 months" phrase last week when Friedman was on his show. Sorry I didn't make it clear, but the Friedman Unit was just one thing. The Media Bloodhound goes into much more detail on his disingenuousness.

That he believes, or is simply promoting, this idea – the emptiness of Arab dictatorships is one of the “most troubling lessons of the Iraq invasion” - is not only chilling in both its inhumanity and disregard for the rule of domestic and international law (does he forget we illegally invaded a sovereign nation under false pretenses?), but also, contextually, all the more stunning in its willful obliviousness to what is undeniably one of the worst - if not the worst - American foreign policy decisions in our nation’s history.

Yet this characteristically disingenuous Friedman narrative serves as the perfect moral blank check for the Bush administration, a timely tonic that encourages us to continue to shove “democracy” down the Iraqis’ throats at the barrel of a gun while it simultaneously provides a rhetorical exit strategy if that just refuses to take: if only those Iraqis really wanted democracy, our illegal, unprovoked invasion of their country – which now accounts for nearly 4,000 deaths of American servicemen and women and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis – would be a success.

It’s their fault. Not ours.

Curtis said...

I think "distrust" is a rather strong word to use against Friedman. Yes, he was--and indeed may still be-- behind the times on the Iraq War. However, he is also one of the most strident voices out there on environmental issues. He has an incredible knack for pinpointing America's position in geopolitics and history. Distrusting him on the basis of one issue is quite narrow-minded.