Thomas Friedman: Addicted to 9/11
Actually, President Bush's supporters include a wide spectrum of people of all ideological persuasions, precisely because President Bush has correctly understood the war on terrorism and on fascism as the central issue of our time.
Many people on both sides of the environmental, social, and economic issues - including those like myself who strongly disagree with the President about many of these things - realize that these political conversations are secondary to the threats facing both America and the free world. In fact, one of the most positive changes I've experienced in the past three years has been the chance to learn about, and better understand, those whose views are different from my own. It's been my observation that many other Americans have had a similar experience. Sad indeed that it took the tragedy of September 11 to bring us to this place; but the fact that it is happening speaks well of both America and its leadership.
A wedge between America and the rest of the world? No. It is a wedge between those who support and defend the sadistic fascism of the Taliban, Saddam Hussein, the Iranian regime, and their ilk; and freedom-loving nations like America, India, Britain, Australia, Israel, and free Iraq. Drive that wedge deep, and drive it with a sledge hammer.
"Bush only seems able to express our anger, not our hopes," Friedman's source claims. But President Bush expressed my own hopes quite eloquently at the Azores summit when he said:
Action to remove the threat from Iraq would also allow the Iraqi people to build a better future for their society. And Iraq's liberation would be the beginning, not the end, of our commitment to its people. We will supply humanitarian relief, bring economic sanctions to a swift close, and work for the long-term recovery of Iraq's economy. We'll make sure that Iraq's natural resources are used for the benefit of their owners, the Iraqi people.
Iraq has the potential to be a great nation. Iraq's people are skilled and educated. We'll push as quickly as possible for an Iraqi interim authority to draw upon the talents of Iraq's people to rebuild their nation. We're committed to the goal of a unified Iraq, with democratic institutions of which members of all ethnic and religious groups are treated with dignity and respect.
Friedman carefully sidesteps the success of the Iraq campaign, complaining that there "weren't enough troops on the ground" - as if, had the operation been conducted with adequate troops, complaints about American "heavy-handedness" wouldn't have been even louder. In fact, he would prefer that you didn't know about organizations like the Iraq-America Freedom Alliance and people like Alaa of The Mesopotamian and the Fadhil Brothers of the Iraq the Model.
Like many well-informed liberals of good conscience, Friedman is uneasy with Kerry. And with good reason: Iranian freedom activists are uneasy with him too. What Friedman doesn't explain is how America, under any Presidential administration, will "put terrorism back into perspective" without making some difficult, demanding, and sometimes unpopular decisions.
President Bush understands this, and that's why he sees terrorism as more than a "nuisance". And most Americans understand this, too, and that is exactly why - as Mr. Friedman rightly suggests - many of us have indeed adopted a "7/4 mentality" the year round. We are not addicted to September 11. We are addicted to freedom.
See also this analysis from Big Pharaoh:
Big Pharaoh on Thomas Friedman