Tom Friedman’s Elastic Deadlines
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.”
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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.
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