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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Thomas Friedman, "Ready, Aim, Fire. Not Fire, Ready, Aim.": In Defense of Impotence

After Obama declared "we don’t have a strategy yet" for handling ISIS, even a liberal Dana Milbank of The Washington Post writes in an opinion piece entitled "President Obama’s unnerving happy talk":

"Americans would worry less if Obama worried more."

While an uber-liberal Ruth Marcus avers in a WaPo opinion piece entitled "Obama’s herky-jerky leadership":

"The zig-zagginess of the message becomes even more jarring when the world is so explosively dangerous."

But despite the onslaught of criticism from both the left and the right being directed against America's president, Thomas Friedman is always prepared to come to Obama's defense. In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Ready, Aim, Fire. Not Fire, Ready, Aim.," Friedman begins by observing:

"President Obama has been excoriated for declaring that 'we don’t have a strategy yet' for effectively confronting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. In criticizing Obama for taking too much time, Representative Mike Rogers, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told 'Fox News Sunday' that 'this ‘don’t-do-stupid-stuff’ policy isn’t working.' That sounded odd to my ear — like we should just bomb somebody, even if it is stupid. If Obama did that, what would he be ignoring?"

Or in other words, there is no middle ground between "we don't have a strategy yet," i.e. doing nothing, and "we should just bomb somebody," i.e. doing something for the sake of doing something. My thought on the matter: Following the ghastly murder of two American by ISIS, I wouldn't be bombing "somebody." Instead, I would be smashing ISIS's armed columns throughout Iraq.

Friedman explains that the situation is "complicated." Complicated? I don't give a damn if the situation is complicated. Moreover, I don't give a damn about disaffected Sunnis in Syria and Iraq. When a terrorist organization sets out to decapitate Americans, you don't head for the golf course. Rather, you send waves of F-16s against these monsters until the message finally registers in their aberrant minds: Don't tread on me!

Friedman goes on to claim:

"ISIS is awful, but it is not a threat to America’s homeland."

Thanks for the expert advice, Tom. However, as observed in a Washington Post editorial entitled "United States can meet global challenges":

"[Obama's] senior advisers uniformly have warned of the unprecedented threat to America and Americans represented by Islamic extremists in Syria and Iraq."

But of course Tom knows best.

Friedman's conclusion:

"I’m all-in on destroying ISIS. It is a sick, destabilizing movement. I support using U.S. air power and special forces to root it out, but only as part of a coalition, where everybody who has a stake in stability there pays their share and where mainstream Sunnis and Shiites take the lead by demonstrating that they hate ISIS more than they hate each other. Otherwise, we’ll end up in the middle of a God-awful mess of duplicitous allies and sectarian passions, and nothing good we do will last."

Ah, yes, America can't act without forming a coalition, or exactly what John Kerry told us in a recent New York Times opinion piece entitled "To Defeat Terror, We Need the World’s Help." Put together a coalition, including Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, which have been funding ISIS on the sly? I don't think so. Consider also how difficult it was to form a coaltion after Assad (Kerry's "dear friend") used chemical weapons against Syrian civilians living in rebel-held enclaves, and the chaos that resulted from the five-nation coalition organized by Obama to bring down Qaddafi in Libya in 2011.

In fact, the matter is not as "complicated" as Friedman makes it out to be. When Americans are being brutally murdered abroad by a terror organization that is threatening to strike the homeland, it's not the time for dawdling. It's also not the time to examine the authenticity of the video of the latest decapitation - believe me, it's real. It is, however, the time to act before experiencing a second 9/11.

It's that simple.

1 comment:

  1. Inside the cavernous echo chamber that is Friedman's brain, you can hear "Uh, there's no coalition so I guess we'll wait around some more.....duh." No coalition? All bets are off? We're stuck in this canoe without a paddle? And what do arab countries earnestly know about alliances and allegiances except maybe where destroying Israel is concerned? No culture of democracy, no culture of coalition-building. But let's not aggrieve Friedman with any truths.