Tom Friedman’s Gimmick Column

Friedman does this from time to time, writing a hypothetical speech for a leader that is far more blunt and ham-handed than would ever happen in reality. Today’s topic is the conference on Iraq that Condi Rice will be attending in Egypt.

President Bush should go instead and give this speech:

I want to take this opportunity to speak to the Arab and Muslim nations gathered here today and to the world at large. I begin with a simple message: I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I rushed into the invasion of Iraq. I honestly believed that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. I was wrong, and I now realize that in unilaterally launching the war the way I did, you all feel that I breached a bond of trust between America and the world. Not only did that alienate you from us, it made us less effective in Iraq. We had too few allies and too little legitimacy. I apologize — sincerely.

Right. And maybe then Bush will announce that he’s repealing his tax cuts and beginning a major new initiative on global warming. Really, what is the point of writing such an outlandish column?


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