Friedman, it's your move

MEMO TO: Thomas Friedman
FROM: President Bush

Dear Tom:

As you know, I don't read the papers all that much. Hell, I never bother with what I call "the filter" - especially your paper, the New York Times. It's just too liberal for me, always going into "gutter politics" and practicing "revisionist history". But your recent column, "Arabs, It's Your Move", the one where you do your old little shtick and pretend to be me writing a letter to someone, came to my attention. Condi showed it to me. Loved it. I know that there are some people who think that it's old and tired and just not funny or witty and that the Times should get rid of it along with the person who serves it up every once in a while when he can't think of anything else to write - but not me. I just wanted to send you this letter to let you know I'd seen it and remark on a few points.

I thought you did an excellent job obscuring Sharon's underlying goal in his decision to not support Mahmoud Abbas. You made it seem as if he was just being a bad politician, or mean-spirited, when we both know good and well that Sharon didn't do anything to help Abbas because he simply refuses to do anything in support of any Palestinian - except maybe support their expulsion out of Palestine. It was clear to me, and I trust to you too, that Sharon actually wanted to undermine Abbas as quickly as possible, so as to have Arafat as the only Palestinian leader there which, of course, gave him an excuse to keep refusing to negotiate, to keep taking land, and to keep building settlements. The way that you then shifted the blame away from Sharon and onto Arafat for "destroying" Abbas was well done. We both know that Sharon is the same old Sharon - he plans on keeping the West Bank permanently under Israeli control, and this new Gaza stunt, even if he actually goes through with it, is simply a tactical move to further tighten the grip on the real prize.

I loved the way handled the failure of the Arab League peace proposal of 2002, Tom. I was wondering how you would treat this delicate topic, which I knew you couldn't ignore, because you were the person who broke the story. But then you made it seem as if it wasn't a real offer after all, that because the "Arab leaders" didn't present it "directly" to the Israeli prime minister or, I don't know, crawl to Tel Aviv on all fours and tearfully beg Sharon to accept it, it was their fault it failed. You didn't have to talk at all about how Sharon refused to seize this historic opportunity to end the "Arab-Israeli conflict" and, really, used the plan as toilet paper, not to mention the vicious campaign against it in the US by many of Israel's friends.

Your plan to have the "Arab leaders" invite me and Sharon to the upcoming Arab summit, so that they can present the plan again, so that Sharon can ignore it again, so that we can go through this process again and again in the future, instead of doing the logical thing and demanding that Sharon do something for once - you ever read Ralph Ellison's "Invisible Man", Tom? I'm sure you have - it's a classic and you're a brainy, literary kind of guy, even if you do have a problem sometimes keeping all of those metaphors straight. Well, your idea reminded me of the part where the "invisible man" finally finds out what those sealed letters he's been giving to his contacts in New York actually say. Do you remember what those letters said, Tom? "Keep that n----- boy running". I do think this is a good idea, Tom. We will keep those "boys", especially Arafat, running and running and running, and when they're not running, we'll get them dancing.

And the way you ended your column by calling the leaders of the Arab states "boys", that was wonderful - you really have been reading Ellison, haven't you? I'm going to have to try that the next time I talk to King Abdullah or Mubarak, or when that Chalabi fella comes in to the White House, asking for more help in Iraq. How's this: "Boy, you said we'd be welcomed with flowers and rose water, and now you want how many more billions of dollars?" Did that sound okay?

Anyway, Tom, I'd love to chat some more, but I have business to attend to. This whole AWOL thing, business contracts to sort out in Iraq, all of these commissions to deal with, 9-11, Plame, Iraq WMD - and you know how cranky I can get if I'm not in bed by 10. The trials of leadership. It's like driving a car. You start out, and you don't know where you're going, or exactly what's going on, and it gets to a point where you just have to say, "goddamn this steering wheel", and then you rip it off the column and you throw it out of the window, while you're still driving. And then, somehow, you get to where you're going, unless you don't. I believe you wrote a column on this once, which I also really liked.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?