Wednesday, May 26, 2004
America deserves better # 9
I just got my next letter written for me. None of the following "I wants" for Bush et al will happen, so I hope for a new team. You can help. Defeat this administration. America deserves better. Murray
Awaking to a Dream
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
I have a confession to make: I am the foreign affairs columnist for
The New York Times and I didn't listen to one second of the 9/11
hearings and I didn't read one story in the paper about them. Not
one second. Not one story.
Lord knows, it's not out of indifference to 9/11. It's because I
made up my mind about that event a long time ago: It was not a
failure of intelligence, it was a failure of imagination. We could
have had perfect intelligence on all the key pieces of 9/11, but the
fact is we lacked — for the very best of reasons — people with evil
enough imaginations to put those pieces together and realize that 19
young men were going to hijack four airplanes for suicide attacks
against our national symbols and kill as many innocent civilians as
they could, for no stated reason at all.
Imagination is on my mind a lot these days, because it seems to me
that the only people with imagination in the world right now are the
bad guys. As my friend, the Middle East analyst Stephen P. Cohen,
says, "That is the characteristic of our time — all the imagination
is in the hands of the evildoers."
I am so hungry for a positive surprise. I am so hungry to hear a
politician, a statesman, a business leader surprise me in a good
way. It has been so long. It's been over 10 years since Yitzhak
Rabin thrust out his hand to Yasir Arafat on the White House lawn.
Yes, yes, I know, Arafat turned out to be a fraud. But for a brief,
shining moment, an old warrior, Mr. Rabin, stepped out of himself,
his past, and all his scar tissue, and imagined something different.
It's been a long time.
I have this routine. I get up every morning around 6 a.m., fire up
my computer, call up AOL's news page and then hold my breath to see
what outrage has happened in the world overnight. A massive bombing
in Iraq or Madrid? More murderous violence in Israel? A hotel going
up in flames in Bali or a synagogue in Istanbul? More U.S. soldiers
killed in Iraq?
I so hunger to wake up and be surprised with some really good news —
by someone who totally steps out of himself or herself, imagines
something different and thrusts out a hand.
I want to wake up and read that President Bush has decided to offer
a real alternative to the stalled Kyoto Protocol to reduce global
warming. I want to wake up and read that 10,000 Palestinian mothers
marched on Hamas headquarters to demand that their sons and
daughters never again be recruited for suicide bombings. I want to
wake up and read that Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia invited
Ariel Sharon to his home in Riyadh to personally hand him the
Abdullah peace plan and Mr. Sharon responded by freezing Israeli
settlements as a good-will gesture.
I want to wake up and read that General Motors has decided it will
no longer make gas-guzzling Hummers and President Bush has decided
to replace his limousine with an armor-plated Toyota Prius, a hybrid
car that gets over 40 miles to the gallon.
I want to wake up and read that Dick Cheney has apologized to the
U.N. and all our allies for being wrong about W.M.D. in Iraq, but
then appealed to our allies to join with the U.S. in an even more
important project — helping Iraqis build some kind of democratic
framework. I want to wake up and read that Tom DeLay called for a
tax hike on the rich in order to save Social Security and Medicare
for the next generation and to finance all our underfunded education
I want to wake up and read that Justice Antonin Scalia has recused
himself from ruling on the case involving Mr. Cheney's energy task
force when it comes before the Supreme Court — not because Mr.
Scalia did anything illegal in duck hunting with the V.P., but
because our Supreme Court is so sacred, so vital to what makes our
society special — its rule of law — that he wouldn't want to do
anything that might have even a whiff of impropriety.
I want to wake up and read that Mr. Bush has announced a Manhattan
Project to develop renewable energies that will end America's
addiction to crude oil by 2010. I want to wake up and read that Mel
Gibson just announced that his next film will be called "Moses" and
all the profits will be donated to the Holocaust Museum.
Most of all, I want to wake up and read that John Kerry just asked
John McCain to be his vice president, because if Mr. Kerry wins he
intends not to waste his four years avoiding America's hardest
problems — health care, deficits, energy, education — but to tackle
them, and that can only be done with a bipartisan spirit and