3 Quick articles and a few quick hits before ...

Robert S. Thau rst@ai.mit.edu
Thu, 30 Jan 2003 12:40:10 -0500 (EST)

Russell Turpin writes:
 > Friedman first disclaims all of Bush's reasons for
 > pursuing war with Iraq. He then explains that the
 > REAL reason for deposing Saddam is nation building.
 > But that ASSUMES the US is adequately preparing to
 > do that, and that the President is preparing the
 > American people for that task. In fact, the
 > President disclaims nation building. Perhaps
 > Friedman is writing about a world where someone
 > other than Bush won the election?

Oh, it's better than that.  Friedman states flatly in "Thinking about
Iraq I" that no reasonable person believes that Iraq's weapons
programs can be a genuine threat because (he claims), "what really
threatens open, Western, liberal societies today is not Saddam and his
weapons per se," because Saddam Hussein "is deterrable through
conventional means."

But in "Thinking about Iraq II", he goes on to suggest maintaining the
inspections regime to probe this non-threat, in case it turns up
something that would allow us to convince reluctant allies to join in
a coalition for an attack which would meet his real goal (which is,
as you say, the rather difficult project of imposing democracy by

In other words, Friedman believes that Great Thinkers like himself and
his readers are too smart to be suckered into thinking that it's the
weapons that actually matter, but he thinks we might be able to use
them to sucker the French.  Such is the state of American punditry.