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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Thomas Friedman, "Arm and Shame": And Let's Also Provide the Kurds with Their Own State

Will wonders never cease? For the first time in I don't know how long, I find myself agreeing with Thomas Friedman, but with a few important caveats. In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Arm and Shame" (, Friedman states:

"Count me with the activists on the question of whether the United States should respond to the Syrian regime’s murder of some 1,400 civilians, more than 400 of them children, with poison gas.

. . . .

Thus, the most likely option for Syria is some kind of de facto partition, with the pro-Assad, predominantly Alawite Syrians controlling one region and the Sunni and Kurdish Syrians controlling the rest.

. . . .

That’s why I think the best response to the use of poison gas by President Bashar al-Assad is not a cruise missile attack on Assad’s forces, but an increase in the training and arming of the Free Syrian Army — including the antitank and antiaircraft weapons its long sought.

. . . .

By contrast, just limited bombing of Syria from the air makes us look weak at best, even if we hit targets."

Agreed, but ultimately the Middle East's 30 million Kurds, who have been oppressed by Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq and who have time and again demonstrated their friendship to the United States, deserve their own state.

Friedman's conclusion:

"'Arm and shame' is how we best help the decent forces in Syria, deter further use of poison gas, isolate Assad and put real pressure on him or others around him to cut a deal. Is it perfect? No, but perfect is not on the menu in Syria."

"Help the decent forces in Syria"? Sorry, but there is no decency in the Syrian civil war, not among Assad's forces and not among the rebels.

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