April 21, 2007

friedman-wolf.jpg Maybe Rove will submit his name. I say he'd make a great choice...Thomas was on with Blitzer to opine for us, a SOTU on Iraq. TF thought the war was a just one and defended it for a long time and got his very own Wikipedia entry called the: "F.U." aka "The Friedman"---aka "Friedman Unit"--"One Friedman equals six months." He paints us an excellent picture of Harry Reid's complaints on Bush's war and of course, "the surge." You can't beat this one....

Friedman: You know, when I first heard the surge idea, Wolf, my reaction was -- you know what it reminds me of? It reminds me of a couple. They get married. The marriage doesn't quite take and they say "You know what? Let's have a baby." You know, somehow that if you put more pressure on this, somehow that will come together.

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He looks to be dumping the F.U. (Oh, no!) to describe how much longer the Iraq war should be waged---in favor of: " very, very, very, very last, legs."

That is our beltway---media elite in a nutshell...(transcipt below the fold)

BLITZER: Let me get your quick reaction to Harry Reid. He said this on Thursday, the Senate majority leader: "The war in Iraq is

lost and the surge is not accomplishing anything as indicated by the extreme violence in Iraq yesterday." Do you agree with him?

FRIEDMAN: Well, to me, Wolf, there's one metric to measure the surge by, and that is whether it's producing a political solution that will allow us to remove our troops.


FRIEDMAN: Right now, I don't see that negotiation happening, let

alone a conclusion that you say "Wow, the parties are really coming

together. They are taking advantage of this, you know, little

breathing spell to come together for a solution." And that's really

what I'm waiting for.

To me, the metric of the surge is not whether the violence is

down 10 percent, 20 percent, 30 percent. It is, are the parties

coming together?

BLITZER: Because there is no military solution -- is this what

you are saying?

FRIEDMAN: Exactly.

BLITZER: But there has to be a political solution. For there to

be a political solution, what needs to be done?

FRIEDMAN: Well, clearly, you need to see whether the parties,

first of all, have the will.

BLITZER: When you say the parties, you mean Iraqi Shiites, the

Sunnis, the Kurds?

FRIEDMAN: I mean you've got Shiites, Sunnis, the Kurds, whether

they have the will to really come together. You know, when I first

heard the surge idea, Wolf, my reaction was -- you know what it

reminds me of? It reminds me of a couple. They get married. The

marriage doesn't quite take and they say "You know what? Let's have a

baby." You know, somehow that if you put more pressure on this,

somehow that will come together.

And I feel that about the surge, that unless the underlying thing

is there, the willingness of the three parties to cut a deal to share

power, revenue and space together, there is no possible solution.


BLITZER: So when Harry Reid says the war is lost, you are not

there yet. You haven't come to that conclusion yet.

FRIEDMAN: I mean, I certainly think that we're on our very,

very, very, very last legs. You know, we certainly haven't won,

that's for sure. And I see no sign right now that we're winning

because the question I'm looking for is, is that political deal coming

together? And I don't see it.

BLITZER: What is the Bush administration, in its final two years

in office, what do they need to do immediately to try to bring that

political settlement around?

FRIEDMAN: Well, the thing that's always baffled me, Wolf, really

for a long time now is the fact that there has been no high level

effort urgent to bring the parties together as we did in Dayton around


BLITZER: Zalmay Khalilzad tried when he was the U.S. ambassador.

FRIEDMAN: He did try.

FRIEDMAN: Now, one of the -- in fairness to the administration,

one of the problems is that the parties aren't so clearly defined.

You know, there are clear leaders in the Sunnis and clear leaders

among the Shia. That's certainly one of the problems.

The other thing that's really disturbing me right now, Wolf, and

it certainly explains why people like Harry Reid would say the war is

lost, is this. We have 140-some thousand some troops in Iraq.

BLITZER: It's about to go up to 160,000.

FRIEDMAN: Right. Every day though, Wolf, another bombing,

another three bombings, another four bombings. You know what it seems

to me? We have no intelligence. I mean, this has been going on now

for years, yet we don't seem to be able to get to the root of it at

all. What does that say? It says no one, or not enough people are

really cooperating with us.

BLITZER: What would it take for me to wake up one morning and

see a headline in a Thomas Friedman column on the op-ed page of The

New York Times, and the headline is, "The War is Lost"?

FRIEDMAN: Well, you know, I think that we're going to come to a

conclusion very soon. General Petraeus has told us by the end of the

summer that he's promised, we're going to see whether the surge is

working or not. And certainly, I'm ready to wait for him.

I personally think we should be setting a deadline right now, so

I'm not -- I was never a big supporter of the surge to begin with.

So, I think that one of the problems we have now, Wolf, is that the

parties themselves, nobody -- we are everyone's protector and

everyone's target. We're the Shiites' protector, and we're their

target. We're the Sunnis' protector, and we're their target. That's

an untenable situation to be in.

The reason I favor a deadline is that everyone has choices except

us. And we've got to create a situation where basically if they want

to continue with this violence or continue being pig-headed around

their negotiations, they're going to have to pay retail for their

positions, not wholesale. While we're there holding up the floor,

basically keeping a lid on things, everyone pays wholesale.

BLITZER: Here's what President Bush said Thursday, speaking

about the hypothetical consequences of failure for the U.S. in Iraq.

Listen to this.


PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: If the United States were to leave a

chaotic Iraq, not only would the vacuum of our failure there to help

this young government enable extremists to move more freely and

embolden them, but I also believe it could cause the Middle East to

enter into a nuclear arms race.


BLITZER: Not only that dire scenario, but others have suggested,

including John McCain, that it could cause genocide. As bad as the

situation in Iraq is right now, it could get a whole lot worse.

FRIEDMAN: Well, my two reactions to that, Wolf. First of all,

if it was that important, and I agree it was important, then why did

you send just enough troops to lose? If it was that important?

You know, the president summons us to D-Day and originally, you

know, sends just enough troops to lose. So let's ask first of all why

we're in this situation.

But now let's put that aside. OK, what happens if we do leave?

No one really knows, Wolf. One can make an argument that all, you

know, heck is going to break loose in that part of the world. That's

certainly one scenario.

Another scenario says there will be a period of fighting. The

parties will eventually reach an equilibrium, and we may even have a

better chance for a deal. I'm not here to tell you I know which it

will be. All I'm telling you is, the president doesn't know either.

BLITZER: You're not very optimistic right now.

FRIEDMAN: No, I'm not.

Can you help us out?

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