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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Executive Editor

“Factually Correct, Not
Politically Correct”





(CHICAGO)(July 12, 2007) Thomas L. Friedman is better known than I am. And, I am envious to say, he is better paid. But he is not a better analyst. Unfortunately for Friedman he bears the burden of being an “Israel supporter.” I do not.

Friedman’s dilemma is a tragic example of how a pro-Israel point of view corrupts both the analyst and his analysis.

Friedman’s dilemma also illustrates why diplomacy and law, and intelligence, continue to be valuable careers in the Internet age. Good lawyers, good diplomats and good intelligence analysts have to sometimes tell us what we do not want to hear.

In 2002, pro-Israel organizations did not want to hear that invading Iraq would be a disaster for Israel. Mr. Friedman marched in lockstep with the lobby and supported the invasion. Now he has to eat his words.

Occasionally someone will accuse me of being “anti-Israel.” Not true. I just don’t have a dog in the Middle East mess. I am impartial and I view the region from one perspective and only one perspective: the United States interest. Refreshingly, my impartial views often turn out to be pro-Israel not because I am biased but simply because I am impartial.

I am preparing a series of my pre-war and Baghdad columns for publication in a book. As I revisit 2002-2003 I am struck at how my views on what was “good for the Jews” turned out to be more correct than Mr. Friedman’s, who was analyzing the situation from a “good for the Jews” perspective.

It was clear to me that if the United States deposed Saddam Hussein, Israel would suffer catastrophic long-term losses. I viewed Saddam as an irritant for Israel, not a threat. The U. S. policy of containment was ridiculed and riddled with European evasions, but the policy was working. And cheap. It cost few lives and chump change to patrol the skies over Iraq.

Then we invaded. Let me be clear on one point. I do not blame pro-Israel Americans or Israelis for the Iraq invasion. I blame President Bush. He was, as he claims, the “decider-in-Chief.” And made a bad decision. For the United States. And for Israel.

Long after the Iraq invasion had become a fiasco Mr. Friedman was still writing that there was a ray of hope for success. Perhaps he was afraid to confront the realty of what he had supported: a policy that would cost Israel incalculable damage over the long term.

Four years after the invasion, Hamas and HizbAllah are stronger and better armed, and Iran—well don’t ask. Iran needs a war to draw attention from the failed economy and failed dictatorship. That is why the Persian leadership cackles when Israel threatens to attack. I am sure the ayatollahs silently pray “make my day.”

President Bush, Mr. Friedman and Israel traded an irritant, and an irritant who was focused on restraining Iranian power—for an exponential growth in Iranian power and greater instability in the region. And still the Israelis claim they are better off because of the invasion. Ehud Olmert has repeatedly stated that Israel benefited from the invasion, see

If consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, there is a very small mind inside Mr. Olmert.

And so, gradually, grudgingly, Mr. Friedman has come to the conclusion that to save itself, the United States must announce a date to cut-and-run in Iraq.

And, once again brandishing his support for Israel like a terrible swift sword, Mr. Freidman admonishes—or is it advocates?—that if we cut-ad-run in Iraq “we will be much freer to hit Iran—should we ever need to—once we’re out.”

Mr. Friedman is advocating that we withdraw from Iraq so we can be “freer’ to attack Iran.

Now where is that policy coming from?

In forthcoming columns I will outline my views of the current situation in Iraq. But I can be very clear and very succinct about Friedman’s, and Israel’s, suggestion that we should prepare to attack Iran. Suicidal. For the United States.

I think the American people are fed up with invading countries because newspaper columnists think it will benefit us and benefit Israel.

You can take it or leave it. Mr. Friedman is better paid than I am. And better known. But he does not have a better track record.

And that makes all the difference.

Invading Iran, or even suggesting that an attack is a possibility, is madness and suicidal for the long-term interests of the United States. Such an invasion or attack would probably prove lethal to Israel.

Once again, I hold my views because I am an independent analyst, not because I am a supporter of Israel. But I am certain to a moral fault that my views are more in keeping with Israel’s long term interests than Mr. Friedman’s are. And, if you don’t believe me, just go back and read his columns from 20002-2003.

And compare them to mine.

Now about that paycheck.
Chicago-based Internet journalist, broadcaster and media critic Andy Martin is the Executive Editor and publisher of © Copyright by Andy Martin 2007. Martin covers regional, national and world politics with forty years of personal experience. He is America's most respected independent foreign policy analyst. Andy has been traveling to the Middle East since 1970; he became involved with the study of revolutionary warfare under Professor Bernard Fall during the mid 1960’s, and later became a founder of the Revolutionary War Research Center, a consortium in Washington and New York. He served as a Baghdad Bureau Chief in 2003.

Columns also posted at and Comments? E-mail: Media contact: (866) 706-2639. Web sites:;


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