Tomfoolery (a series)


New York Times foreign affairs columnist Tom Friedman engages in more Tomfoolery at the expense of intellectual insight and plain common sense today. In this column he opines about the changes in the Middle East and the demise of the old—line political parties.

He writes that Hamas and Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood are scared out of their minds about the prospects of gaining power because then they would actually have to rule.

Sure, Tom, that is why they are doing everything in their power to achieve leadership.

He proclaims (because that is what he does in every sentence he writes) that the death of Arafat and Israel's crushing response have broken Fatah and its animating vision of "revolution until victory over the Zionist entity".

Arafat broke Fatah with his corruption and cronyism and his encouragement of the growth of subgroups within Fatah, so his death, if anything, should have liberated Fatah. Instead, Fatah has continued to falter and yet still declares in a myriad of ways that it does indeed intend to destroy the "Zionist entity" so the animating vision of violence has not vanished.
Then he rhetorically asks,

"can there be a Baath Party or a Fatah that has real views on competition, science and the environment."

This is Tomfoolery of the highest order. Gimme a break. Do you actually think that people in the Baath Party or Fatah give a Middle Eastern fig about science (other than explosives) and the environment (other than to create a culture of hatred)?

This is emblematic about the fatal flaw in so many elite media liberals: they are used to dealing with the suave spokesman posing as intelligent peacemakers, and feel that they are truly representative of the will of the people. In truth they are nothing but poseurs set forth to fool a gullible media and diplomatic corps.

Further, this wishful thinking on the part of journalist and academics is ridiculous and dangerous: a reason why we can never trust anyone's fates to the latte—sipping denizens of big—city skyscrapers. After 9/11—they should know better.

Time to get your head out of the clouds, Tom.
The only sensible statement in this column comes from Jordan's deputy minsiter (Jordan: the source of so much wisdom regarding the Middle east dynamics) who states that

"the first country or party that really shows results will have a big effect on the whole region because everyone is looking for a new vision". 

Couldn't Tom have saved a sentence or two from his blarney regarding the Baathist and Fatah to have pointedout the obvious: creating a new paradigm about governing is one of the key rreasons we are in Iraq. I guess the clouds obscured Freidman's view.

Ed Lasky  7 29 05