Afghanistan

If It's Sunday, It's Moronic Statements by Tom Friedman on Meet The Press; Plus, Winning Afghan Hearts & Minds Via Shared Toilets

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From Meet The Press yesterday, during a jabber session featuring Hot, Flat, and Stupid author Thomas Friedman and mindreader cum human tape recorder Bob Woodward:

[David Gregory:] …this week the war on Afghanistan, the war on unemployment came together.  Well, ultimately, what's more consequential for the this presidency?

MR. FRIEDMAN:  Well, I'll tell you how you bring them together into one policy, David.

MR. GREGORY:  Yeah.

MR. FRIEDMAN: It's called a gasoline tax of a dollar a gallon, OK? That you raise the money that we need to pay down the deficit, to pay for health care, and at the same time take away the very funding that's going to these people indirectly to draw a bull's-eye on our back. And the fact that our politics can't allow us to do the very thing we know is critical and important, shame on us.

Shame on us? Not so much. Shame on The New York Times for running Friedman, who recently claimed China is better governed than the U.S., for so long? Sure, I can get behind that. Exactly how taxing gas more in the U.S. is part of a war on unemployment is beyond me. And to be honest, it's not exactly clear that whoever we're fighting in Afghanistan now is getting rich off oil money from the Arab world. Opium poppies, maybe. I doubt that the last stand at Kandahar is going to be brought to you by the good folks at Chevron buying Saudi oil on the world market.

But how to best win the hearts and minds of those Afghans who don't hate us because we're beautiful, rich, decadent, or whatever? Bob Woodward has answers dammit. Unfortunately, most of the revolve around suggesting that Afghans are primitive cavemen who eat and shit in the same pot:

[Bob Woordward:] I think the lives of the average Afghan come into play here. How are they living?  What's going on with them?  And we are sending our military to protect them.  You know what, I mean, that—this isn't an abstraction, it is about our military forces going in, eating goat with them…

MR. GREGORY:  Mm-hmm.

MR. WOODWARD:  …smoking bad cigarettes, using the same toilet.  And for them it's not a toilet, it's, it's a pot.

Mm-hmm, indeed!

Whole transcript, including Secretary of State Clinton and Defense Gates walking back withdrawal dates, here.