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Thursday, February 05, 2004

Thos Friedman could use "A Rude Awakening"

today's New York Times
This is so full of it, that it's hard to imagine what it would take to set this man straight. Some examples:
". . . given the Bush team's failure so far to create a political process that can forge, empower and legitimize a moderate center in Iraq or in Palestine . . . "
Let's not hold the Iraqis or Palestinians responsible for failing to be moderate. Whatever they are or do is always someone else's fault.
". . . Mr. Sharon has the Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat under house arrest in his office in Ramallah, and he's had George Bush under house arrest in the Oval Office."
Excuse me?
" . . . in the past two years, Mr. Sharon has crushed Mr. Arafat's corrupt Palestinian Authority, but failed to lift a finger to empower more responsible Palestinians like Mahmoud Abbas and Muhammad Dahlan."
Sharon has crushed the Palestinian Authority? I only wish.

Dahlan, whom Friedman calls "moderate," has been credited with inventing the tactic of using cell phones to detonate bombs and suicide killers to trip bombs and activate explosive belts in multi-casualty strikes at Israeli crowd centers. He brought Islamic Hamas and Jihad Islami into Arafat's fold, played host to Lebanese Hizballah experts imported by Arafat, and set up the Karin-A terror ship, loaded with 50 tons of weapons for Arafat's arsenal.

Friedman believes Sharon should have "empowered" this man? I shudder to think what he could do if "empowered."
"And last week, Mr. Sharon turned over 400 Palestinian prisoners to the Islamist Lebanese militia Hezbollah in a prisoner swap, something he was never ready to do with moderate Palestinian leaders."
HonestReporting notes that this is patently false: "On two occasions - June and August 2003 - Sharon ordered the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners as "'goodwill gestures' to support Abbas and the road map process. Friedman's own NYTimes reported after the August release that it was 'the largest of several Israeli prisoner releases in the past few months, and brought the number of those freed to almost 600."
You get the gist of it. Everything is Sharon's fault, except what is Bush's fault. And Arab terrorists can do no wrong.

Friedman himself could use a rude awakening. Write to letters@nytimes.com with copy to the Times' Public Editor, Daniel Okrent, at public@nytimes.com