Tragedy in New York: French Fried Friedman

It's tragic but true. All New York mourns the last remaining neurons of Thomas Friedman's shrinking brain, apparently lost in a bubbling hot tub of deep self-inflicted fatuity today.

The evidence is in Friedman's loony-tunes comment, "Our War with France," in this morning's Paper of Record. You can only conclude the man's mind has been flambéd or deeply French Fried.

What got Friedman's brain a-boilin' is the impertinent suggestion by French diplomats that, if the US invaded Iraq to bring democracy, then why not allow Iraqis to vote. Vote! Can you imagine! It's all that silly 'libertay, equalitay' stuff that unsophisticated Americans believed before the Patriot Act.

Friedman calls voting a, "loopy symbolic transfer of Iraqi sovereignty. "Friedman, Rumsfeld and Saddam Hussein all have the same line: Iraqis aren't ready for democracy. Well, I suppose Tom Paine would have disagreed -- but, hell, he moved to France.

(Maybe Friedman and his White House well-wishers are offended by the idea that Iraq would count ballots before Florida.)

France's election suggestion was prompted by our Secretary of State, the pitiable Colin Powell who, on his boss Rumsfeld's orders, demanded the European Union pony up $5 billion cash to rebuild the parts of Iraq we bombed. (Dollars only, euros not accepted.) And, says the Rummy to Elderly Europe, "Send us 25,000 troops and put 'em under US command." After all, didn't we graciously replace France in Vietnam after Dien Bien Phu? Apparently, Rumsfeld thought France would jump at the chance for another game of Colonial Quagmire.

This is no longer a fight about whether the invasion was right or wrong. The question now is occupation or, bluntly, re-colonization. Saddam's gone. Therefore, our kids are dying over there for a single purpose: to prevent an election. Remember when General Jay Garner called for a vote in 90 days?

Here's why we can't have an election (and why the General got the boot): Bush's oil patch buddies can't complete the sell-off of Iraq's oil fields under an elected Iraqi government -- no elected Iraqi government would let it happen. Rather than take on the issue of oil and blood, Friedman fries the French.

Get off it, Tommy -- this is not about France. This is about a bunch of half-baked cowboys in the White House who made a mess in Mesopotamia and now want Europe to pay the bill before an enraged, bankrupt American electorate throws the Bushitas out on their big fat deficit.

And how dare Friedman say that France doesn't care about the War on Terror? France declared war on Osama and his madmen years before September 11 got Bush to change from the view of his advisor, Robert Oakley, that we shouldn't have a "fixation" on getting rid of bin Laden. French intelligence warned Bush to stop playing footsie with the Taliban, to stop coddling the Saudi Islamic dictatorship, to stop running interference for the bin Laden family. But would Little George listen?Noooo.

Friedman's line -- like Rumsfeld's -- is arrogant, self-delusional and dangerous. Tres French.

Greg Palast is author of the New York Times bestseller, "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy."

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