Listening to the New York Times’ Tom Friedman on Tim Russert’s program tonight on CNBC, Russert quoted Friedman’s column from earlier this month:
Watching this Iraq story unfold, all I can say is this: If this were not about my own country, my own kids and my own planet, I’d pop some popcorn, pull up a chair and pay good money just to see how this drama unfolds.
Because what you are about to see is the greatest shake of the dice that any president has voluntarily engaged in since Harry Truman dropped the bomb on Japan. Vietnam was a huge risk, but it evolved incrementally.
And threatening a nuclear war with the Soviets over the Cuban missile crisis was a huge shake of the dice by John F. Kennedy, but it was a gamble that was imposed on him, not one that he initiated.
A U.S. invasion to disarm Iraq, oust Saddam Hussein and rebuild a decent Iraqi state would be the mother of all presidential gambles. Anyone who thinks President Bush is doing this for political reasons is nuts. You could do this only if you really believed in it, because Bush is betting his whole presidency on this war of choice.
Friedman went on to say that what we’re really dealing with here is the trauma of 9/11. We can’t just go on with business as usual. We’re in a different world.
But, can you do it alone? You still need Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood of friends to help. Don’t you?