Friedman rules


Today's New York Times column  by Tom Friedman is on the Syrian assassination of Lebanese leader Rafiq Hariri, who was attempting to put together an alliance to challenge Syria's occupation of Lebanon. Friedman outlines Syria's maniacal history of assassination of opponents, repression,and the destruction of the Syrian town of Hama, which had become an outpost of fundamentalist opponents of the Syrian ruling clique around Hafez Assad, the father of the current dictator.
Friedman counsels the Lebanese to emulate the Iraqis in the use of people power, as demonstrated by the triumph of democracy. He calls for them to exercise the same people power against their Syrian overlords. The fact that they were able to do so only under the aegis of the US military and Iraqis trained by Americans seems to have escaped his notice. Of course, Friedman can not bring himself to acknowledge that the Iraqis did not throw off the yoke of their dictator: George Bush and the US military did so by overcoming the opposition of the UN, the Democrats, the New York Times, and Tom Friedman!
Bush believes that to traffic with dictators, to appease them, is to empower them and to give them a carte blanche to engage in oppression, terror and genocide. His rules state that you do not appease, you do not ignore reality, you do not give money or diplomatic cover to tyrants, you do not equip maniacal theocrats with nuclear technology. His rules are you deal forcefully and realistically with threats, you do not honor or apologize for terror and you encourage democracy and free speech. These are Bush Rules and they are the only rules standing in the way of Hama Rules. We know the UN won't stand up. They don't have any worthwhile rules.
Ed Lasky   2 17 05