I have to say, when I first read this atrocious Tom Friedman piece in The New York Times, I was struck by the exact same thought expressed by Glenn Greenwald here: Friedman appears to be expressly condoning (celebrating even) the use of what (based upon Friedman’s assumptions as to Israel’s motivations) can only be called terrorism by Israel.
Here’s a small part of what Friedman has to say, as quoted by Greenwald, in discussing the motivation behind Israel’s unsuccessful 2006 war against Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Friedman’s hope that similar motivations are at play today in Gaza:
Israel’s counterstrategy was to use its Air Force to pummel Hezbollah and, while not directly targeting the Lebanese civilians with whom Hezbollah was intertwined, to inflict substantial property damage and collateral casualties on Lebanon at large. It was not pretty, but it was logical. Israel basically said that when dealing with a nonstate actor, Hezbollah, nested among civilians, the only long-term source of deterrence was to exact enough pain on the civilians — the families and employers of the militants — to restrain Hezbollah in the future.
Israel’s military was not focused on the morning after the war in Lebanon — when Hezbollah declared victory and the Israeli press declared defeat. It was focused on the morning after the morning after, when all the real business happens in the Middle East. That’s when Lebanese civilians, in anguish, said to Hezbollah: “What were you thinking? Look what destruction you have visited on your own community! For what? For whom?”
You get the drift? Contrary to conventional wisdom, according to Friedman, Israel actually won its war with Hezbollah, because in the process of fighting it they harmed Lebanese civilians badly enough to make their point.
And he’s hoping for more of the same in Gaza:
In Gaza, I still can’t tell if Israel is trying to eradicate Hamas or trying to “educate” Hamas, by inflicting a heavy death toll on Hamas militants and heavy pain on the Gaza population. If it is out to destroy Hamas, casualties will be horrific and the aftermath could be Somalia-like chaos. If it is out to educate Hamas, Israel may have achieved its aims.
So there you have it. A columnist for none other than The New York Times, unapologetically making the case for deliberately harming civilians in the pursuit of political ends: in other words, engaging in terrorism.
It says something about just how pathetic our national dialogue has become on the issue of Israel and the Palestinians that something like this is not only tolerated — in the Gray Lady no less — but also widely celebrated as gifted punditry.