We hate to possibly ruin your Friday with a Thomas "suck on this" Friedman post, but it appears he's the only one still left defending Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman even as David Ignatius attempts to momentarily change his tune as it's looking all too clear that MbS personally ordered the murder and dismemberment of journalist Jamal Ghashoggi at the Istanbul consulate over two weeks ago.
Friedman actually went on CNN to attempt to explain himself on Thursday after being pretty much universally despised over just about anything he writes these days. CNN host Christian Amanpour questioned if he was too quick to call MbS a reformer or if he has regrets over his year long quest to present the embattled Saudi de fact ruler as a "modernizer" and benevolent autocrat ushering in the Saudi "Arab Spring" from the top down.
Friedman is absolutely outraged that anyone might question the prior accounts of his late night MbS love fests which he in so vulnerable and sensitive a fashion recounted in great detail in his NYT columns:
Wearing a we don't know what the hell what — a down comforter or something — Friedman is still excusing his prior fawning "love letters" to MbS which included descriptions of late night dinner sessions in which he glowingly related that the kingdom's new direction under the enlightened prince "blew my mind".
A year ago the NYT columnist related how he got "worn out" by the "fire hose of new ideas" from late night sessions with the charming young dictator:
After nearly four hours together, I surrendered at 1:15 a.m. to MBS’ youth, pointing out that I was exactly twice his age. It’s been a long, long time, though, since any Arab leader wore me out with a fire hose of new ideas about transforming his country.
Friedman defiantly states in the CNN interview while looking heated and emotional: "I saw him giving the women the right to drive... I saw him actually taking on the hardline clerics in the war of ideas... Most importantly what I saw were young Saudis coming back to Saudi Arabia cause they thought a real change was happening."
Crucially, Friedman notes that he was warned by friends that he was merely being duped by the prince's propaganda, but he stuck by MbS regardless: "Some people said 'you know what Tom - it's all a fake because look what he's doing in Yemen, look what he's - people that he's arresting here... I thought it was worth investing a little hope in the upside..."
Just after the interview Glenn Greenwald aptly pointed out that the man that the establishment long ago anointed as America's most influential foreign policy commentator is:
- a gullible, easily duped idiot;
- a fanatical supporter of bloodshed and wars;
- and the author of one of the most repulsive 3 minutes ever broadcast on TV
What does it say about the US that the most influential Foreign Policy commentator is (a) a gullible, easily duped idiot; (b) a fanatical supporter of bloodshed and wars; and (c) the author of one of the most repulsive 3 minutes ever broadcast on TV? https://t.co/0KYYmBsT98 https://t.co/wrrht2NU17— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) October 18, 2018
And here's a flashback of the previously unhinged Friedman in 2017 defending his high praise of MbS.
When asked at a panel discussion whether he was uncritically playing the role of MbS propaganda tool to the American public, Friedman unleashed: "I got news for you"..."Fuck that"...
Tom Friedman on criticism of his Mohamed bin Salman article: "fuck that" (the whole clip is really something) pic.twitter.com/vv3psVHzay— Tom Gara (@tomgara) December 3, 2017
And yet as cringe worthy as the above two clips are, Greenwald still says not even this is the worst of Tom Friedman.
He's "the author of one of the most repulsive 3 minutes ever broadcast on TV"...which is what?
Greenwald reminds us of his 2003 "suck on this" interview wherein he defended his enthusiastic support for the US invasion of Iraq...
I think it [the invasion of Iraq] was unquestionably worth doing, Charlie.
We needed to go over there, basically, um, and um, uh, take out a very big stick right in the heart of that world and burst that bubble, and there was only one way to do it.
What they needed to see was American boys and girls going house to house, from Basra to Baghdad, um and basically saying, "Which part of this sentence don't you understand?"
You don't think, you know, we care about our open society, you think this bubble fantasy, we're just gonna to let it grow?
Well, Suck. On. This.
That, Charlie, was what this war was about. We could've hit Saudi Arabia, it was part of that bubble. We coulda hit Pakistan. We hit Iraq because we could.
Behold, America's premier foreign policy columnist and last defender of MbS!