Thomas “Today I saw something at the Dubai airport, therefore huge generalization about the future” Friedman has gotten himself into some trouble recently:
Earlier this week, he argued that Israel could win its assault on Gaza (is it possible to win a bombing?) because punishing civilians would eventually result in their rejection of Hamas. There are two main problems with this rationale, the least important of which is the point I made in my previous post. There is no proof that civilians will turn on their government after a certain amount of bombing by the IDF. No amount of bombs persuaded the Vietmanese to change their minds, the escalating punishment of Algerians only solidified support for the resistance movement, Hezbollah is arguably stronger today than it was in 2006, and by the way after 9/11 Americans didn’t turn on President Bush and our government’s insane foreign policy, they only backed the insanity even more vigorously. Friedman’s entire defense of the Israeli government’s bombing of civilians rests on the idea that we’ll bomb the shit out of them and, presto-chango, they’ll make Hamas stop launching rockets. How exactly? In the next elections? In the next opinion poll? And why? Because they don’t want someone to defend them against white phosphorous and D.I.M.E. ammunition? Because their patriotism goes down when their people are being bombed indiscriminately? Friedman’s entire argument makes no sense. He doesn’t show any concrete way in which the citizens who suffered the most changed their minds about their local resitance movement, or if they did how that made a difference in the actions of that resistance movement. Friedman imagines a correlation where none is proven, then applies causation in an even bolder display of arrogance. He displays classic colonial mentality by de-humanizing civilians and assuming that, since they are not human, they will turn on their fellows after enough stress has been applied.
This mentality segues into the most important problem with Friedman’s article. As Glenn Greenwald pointed out earlier this week, Friedman is endorsing terrorism (I specifically avoid saying state-sponsored, because that implies there’s a difference). If you went through his article and switched all the names, everyone would realize that he is backing something totally immoral, and the article would never be printed. Why doesn’t Friedman carelessly wipe away Hamas’ faults by claiming that their rocket attacks are designed to punish Israeli citizens into changing their government’s policies? Maybe because that would get him labelled an anti-semite, but probably because it never crossed his mind to apply his logic to the other side. And that’s exactly why he should be ignored.