Tom Friedman’s Elastic Deadlines
Posted on May 18, 2006
The N.Y. Times’ foreign affairs columnist has been saying that “the next six months” in Iraq will be the “decisive” ones—for the last two and a half years. FAIR documents a “long series of similar do-or-die dates that never seem to get any closer.”
New York Times foreign affairs columnist Tom Friedman is considered by many of his media colleagues to be one of the wisest observers of international affairs. “You have a global brain, my friend,” MSNBC host Chris Matthews once told Friedman (4/21/05). “You’re amazing. You amaze me every time you write a book.”
Such praise is not uncommon. Friedman’s appeal seems to rest on his ability to discuss complex issues in the simplest possible terms. On a recent episode of MSNBC’s “Hardball” (5/11/06), for example, Friedman boiled down the intricacies of the Iraq situation into a make-or-break deadline: “Well, I think that we’re going to find out, Chris, in the next year to six months?probably sooner?whether a decent outcome is possible there, and I think we’re going to have to just let this play out.”
That confident prediction would seem a lot more insightful, however, if Friedman hadn’t been making essentially the same forecast almost since the beginning of the Iraq war. A review of Friedman’s punditry reveals a long series of similar do-or-die dates that never seem to get any closer.
New York Times columnist Tom Friedman has been saying that Iraq’s do-or-die moment is “six months” away ever since the start of the war.