All Bets Are ON
Sat, 9 Mar 2002 14:33:49 -0500
On Saturday, March 9, 2002, at 08:15 AM, Grlygrl201@aol.com wrote:
> Of course, my first reaction was "How the hell did this get leaked?"
> My second: "Is this responsible reporting?"
Because the administration wanted it leaked, of course. Why else would a
report on a topic this sensitive have large unclassified portions. It
fits perfectly into the "crazier than thou" theory of US foreign policy
February 13, 2002
Crazier Than Thou
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
LONDON - Reading Europe's press, it is really reassuring to see how
Europeans have embraced President Bush's formulation that an "axis of
threatens world peace. There's only one small problem. President Bush
the axis of evil is Iran, Iraq and North Korea, and the Europeans think
Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and Condi Rice.
I'm not kidding. Chris Patten, the European Union's foreign policy czar,
The Guardian that the Bush axis-of-evil idea was dangerously "absolutist
simplistic," not "thought through" and "unhelpful," and that the
needed to stop Washington before it went into "unilateralist overdrive."
So what do I think? I think these critics are right that the countries
Bush identified as an axis of evil are not really an "axis," and we
drive them together. And the critics are right that each of these
poses a different kind of threat and requires a different, nuanced
And the critics are right that America can't fight everywhere alone. And
critics are right that America needs to launch a serious effort to end
Israeli-Palestinian violence, because it's undermining any hope of
The critics are right on all these counts - but I'm still glad President
said what he said.
Because the critics are missing the larger point, which is this: Sept. 11
happened because America had lost its deterrent capability. We lost it
for 20 years we never retaliated against, or brought to justice, those
murdered Americans. From the first suicide bombing of the U.S. Embassy in
Beirut in April 1983, to the bombing of the Marine barracks at the Beirut
airport a few months later, to the T.W.A. hijacking, to the attack on
troops at Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, to the suicide bombings of two
embassies in East Africa, to the attack on the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen,
Americans were killed and we did nothing.
So our enemies took us less and less seriously and became more and more
emboldened. Indeed, they became so emboldened that a group of
think about that for a second: not a state but a group of individuals -
attacked America in its own backyard. Why not? The terrorists and the
that harbor them thought we were soft, and they were right. They thought
they could always "out-crazy" us, and they were right. They thought we
always listen to the Europeans and opt for "constructive engagement" with
rogues, not a fist in the face, and they were right.
America's enemies smelled weakness all over us, and we paid a huge price
that. There is an old bedouin legend that goes like this: An elderly
leader thought that by eating turkey he could restore his virility. So he
bought a turkey, kept it by his tent and stuffed it with food every day.
day someone stole his turkey. The Bedouin elder called his sons together
told them: "Boys, we are in great danger. Someone has stolen my turkey."
"Father," the sons answered, "what do you need a turkey for?"
"Never mind," he answered, "just get me back my turkey." But the sons
him and a month later someone stole the old man's camel. "What should we
the sons asked. "Find my turkey," said the father. But the sons did
and a few weeks later the man's daughter was raped. The father said to
sons: "It is all because of the turkey. When they saw that they could
turkey, we lost everything."
America is that Bedouin elder, and for 20 years people have been taking
turkey. The Europeans don't favor any military action against Iraq, Iran
North Korea. Neither do I. But what is their alternative? To wait until
Hussein's son, Uday, who's even a bigger psychopath than his father, has
bio-weapons and missiles that can hit Paris?
No, the axis-of-evil idea isn't thought through - but that's what I like
it. It says to these countries and their terrorist pals: "We know what
cooking in your bathtubs. We don't know exactly what we're going to do
it, but if you think we are going to just sit back and take another dose
you, you're wrong. Meet Don Rumsfeld - he's even crazier than you are."
There is a lot about the Bush team's foreign policy I don't like, but
willingness to restore our deterrence, and to be as crazy as some of our
enemies, is one thing they have right. It is the only way we're going to
our turkey back.