Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 30, 2007

Another Great Idea from Thomas Friedman

"My Head Is Flat" author, billonaire spouse and NYT writer Thomas Friedman has another great idea:

I will not vote for any candidate who is not committed to dismantling Guantánamo Bay and replacing it with a free field hospital for poor Cubans.


The National Health System comprises a network of institutions that are easily accessible and provide coverage to 100% of the population.
Cuba’s health system is financed out of the state budget. The population receives free preventive, curative, and rehabilitation services, which range from primary care, routine medical attention, and dentistry to hospital care requiring the use of highly sophisticated medical technologies.
Health in the Americas - Cuba

How to call this? Elite illusions?

Posted by b on September 30, 2007 at 9:14 UTC | Permalink


Actually, his column is only peripherally about Guantanamo or health care. His theme is "we oughta get over 9/11 n' shizzle, yo."

Well, there's a shocker . . .

Deep in the bowels and basements of granite-faced research universities around the world, there are clean and sterile rooms where graduate students peek in on Petri dishes to see how little colonies of molds or bacterium are doing that day. When the growth in the dish shows recognizable changes in its size, color, pace or its Rorschach pattern rings some subliminal bell in the voyeur's mind, it is noted carefully in a journal, and that journal becomes a bit of bedrock in a budding academic career.

That's what Friedman's done here, and it is common to pundits and Petri peekers alike. Watching the ebb and flow of current events, people and opinions, Thomas writes an essay -- a page in his journal -- when we, the Unwashed Multitude, show a recognizable change in size, color, pace or Rohrschach pattern.

It's a lofty life, and a pains taking process. Pundits and politicians need to be seen out in front of new directions, else the bedrock of their career can appear shaky beneath them. Thomas can now point back to this column, in years ahead, and say, "Look I documented this trend back in '07, nyah!"

Peeping Thomas, the antiseptic voyeur gazing down upon us, has discerned 9/11 fatigue in our culture.

Posted by: Antifa | Sep 30 2007 10:40 utc | 1

You should be ashamed of yourself Bernhard!!
How dare you throw light on the fact that the US is not the best, or even remotely best, country to live in for health care? Next thing you will say is that the Canadian health care system is a communist wedge into America and that the Australian Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme is a form of welfare that prevents survival of the richest fittest!!
I suppose that the next thing you try to tell us will be that the lives of poor people are worth as much as the wealthy?
Bloody Pinko Commie!!

Posted by: Bagem | Sep 30 2007 10:45 utc | 2

Tommy: "We are about 9/12, we are about the Fourth of July — which is why I hope that anyone who runs on the 9/11 platform gets trounced."

So Tommy HOPES that the American people will save us from (a) US corporations and (b) the DC politico-military-lobbying establishment. Thanks for nothing, TF.

Posted by: infoshaman | Sep 30 2007 14:37 utc | 3

The first small steps in the attempted rehabilitation of the Mustache of Understanding's reputation.

Posted by: Lurch | Sep 30 2007 17:11 utc | 4

Friedman: 9/11 is over....time to fix those bridges and phones! To get our spirit back! To let the tourists and biz ppl in once more! (Stats on this point cherry picked and too low.)

What an idiotic article. A free hospital for poor Cubans? The ones who need free hospitals are US citizens. As for the poor imprisoned in Gitmo, they are bodies paid and bought, or randomly caught, to create a mini concentration camp that the world would shut up about.

They should be paid to appear shackled and crouching...just like extras in B movies, and for living in poor conditions, like on some survivalist TV shows.

Onwards. The US Gvmt. and elites used 9/11 to instill fear and render authoritarianism acceptable. Terrified citizens who pray and bow to arbitrary authority, say. But that goes contrary to the spirit of the US - freespeech, the famed liberty, freecommerce, open borders, empowered citizens and so on, all of which contributes to GDP or ‘growth’ big time. Bunkering in, shutting down, closing borders, those nasty jackboots, endless crappy computer terrarist lists, etc. affects the US economically directly, more seriously, I guess, than one can read in the stats.

A common pov is that the Gvmt/elites are toeing a fine line between keeping its citizenry afraid and thus submissive and supportive of war, deprivation, and keeping the US star bright on the world commercial scene, biz as usual, etc. Remember after 9/11 Bush said people should go shopping? Doomed to fail...

I think that the fear-hype was not, is not, a necessity for US foreign agression. The break up of Yugoslavia, the invasion of Afghanistan, did not require that. Without 9/11 Iraq would have been invaded anyway, it was on the cards, etc. Green-clawed slavering baby-murderer Saddam, or greedy nationalist, socialist, oil-hogger Saddam, would have been sufficient, 9/11 was not needed.

Once it happened, it was exploited in that way, almost as a lame excuse, a need to make hay, hyped up for the sheeples, but downplayed also - see the contradiction between fear and confident commerce, creative technology, fabulous movies, etc. Guilt turned the victims, the dead, into negligible ghosts; commemorations cut short, forbidden or jeered at, and the living victims, 9/11 responders, actually not only them, ignored and short-shifted (as are US vets.)

Move on, nothing to see here. (see Friedman)

The exploitation of 9/11 served to cover up its real origins, and aims, it was turned into a world stain, lead to the adoption of a victimized position that nobody could question, oppose, turning the US into a hysterical (legitimate!) sufferer - borrowing from the Israeli script - permitting it to defend itself at all costs. Therefore, to aggress others with impunity. When the powerful take on the victim position, it is, in French :

Game Oh-vver!

Posted by: Tangerine | Sep 30 2007 18:49 utc | 5

Thomas Friedman is so clueless he has no idea how clueless he is.


In the 19th century writers were paid by the word.

In the 21st century writers are paid by the lie.

Posted by: Gaianne | Sep 30 2007 23:09 utc | 6

Thomas Friedman is so clueless he has no idea how clueless he is.


In the 19th century writers were paid by the word.

In the 21st century writers are paid by the lie.

Posted by: Gaianne | Sep 30 2007 23:09 utc | 7

when it comes to speaking on "stupid", friedman knows from experience. these two paragraphs in particular have "stupid" written all over them:

The travel industry’s recent Discover America Partnership study concluded that “the U.S. entry process has created a climate of fear and frustration that is turning away foreign business and leisure travelers and hurting America’s image abroad.” Those who don’t visit us, don’t know us.

I’d love to see us salvage something decent in Iraq that might help tilt the Middle East onto a more progressive pathway. That was and is necessary to improve our security. But sometimes the necessary is impossible — and we just can’t keep chasing that rainbow this way.

Posted by: b real | Oct 1 2007 2:18 utc | 8

My favorite is his summation that:

" we just can’t keep chasing that rainbow this way."

So thats whats been going down now for 6 years, drenched in the blood of a million dead..."chasing rainbows".

Posted by: anna missed | Oct 1 2007 5:13 utc | 9

Mr Friedman seems to have an interesting approach to accountability.

As he gazes down upon the disasters he so fanatically & unrelentlesly promoted against the better judgement of many others, now he tells us -- lets get over it, lets move on.

Hmmn. And whose accountable ? Not Mr Friedman. Not his soul-mates. The politicians are spared much if any acountability. They shut Gitmo down and they're done. We the common people do'nt do too badly either. We follow Mr Friedmans voting guide, and all thats left to do is get over it, move on and we are done too.

the crazy Arabs & Muslims are'nt so lucky though. Its their rap-sheet and Mr Friedman intends as always that they pay their debt to society in full -- blood & oil will be fine.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Oct 1 2007 15:14 utc | 10

Good analysis of Friedman's piece by Juan Cole

In other words, the Iraq War was a business investment, which was a bit of a risk but entirely justifiable at the time (you can hear the nervous CEO explaining to the Board of Directors). But the investment has gone south, isn't working out, and no successful businessman throws good money after bad.
It is time, Friedman argues in contrast, to cut our losses and sell off this white elephant of an acquisition (the whole 'War on Terror' including Iraq), which is bleeding money, hurting the firm's image, scaring off investors, and forestalling needed new investments in key growth sectors.

USA, Inc. is moving on.

But what Cole doesn't say and I tried to express above - Friedman has learned nothing. Now he is phantazising about Cuban healthcare.
The next business oportunity he knwos obeviously nothing about.

Posted by: b | Oct 1 2007 15:50 utc | 11

we can laugh at friedman's ignorance on the reality of cuban healthcare, but what about when it's the secdef showing how ill-informed he supposedly is?

Q: (Through interpreter.) (Off mike) -- Latin America would like to know -- (off mike) -- Hugo Chavez is a threat for the United States. What do you say about this? SEC. GATES: I'm sorry, would you repeat the question? Q: If a government like the government of Hugo Chavez is a threat -- (off mike) -- in Latin America? SEC. GATES: I think that the principal threat represented by Hugo Chavez is to the freedom and economic prosperity of the people of Venezuela. I think that he has been very generous in offering their resources to people around the world, when perhaps those resources could be better used to alleviate some of the economic problems facing the people of Venezuela. I think that's the principal concern.

is this for real? how could the man be so wrong on this count? the transcript doesn't indicate uproarious laughter following his 'concern'.

Posted by: b real | Oct 4 2007 3:26 utc | 12

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