Sunday, March 20, 2005

Hey, How About a Nobel for Khomeini, Too?

Thomas Friedman goes waayyy over the deep end today by recommending Iraqi Shiite religious leader Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani for a Nobel Prize. He paints Sistani as a kind of George Washington figure, standing tall and proud and leading his people into the promised land:

It was Mr. Sistani who insisted that there had to be a direct national election in Iraq, rejecting the original goofy U.S. proposal for regional caucuses. It was Mr. Sistani who insisted that the elections not be postponed in the face of the Baathist-fascist insurgency. And it was Mr. Sistani who ordered Shiites not to retaliate for the Sunni Baathist and jihadist attempts to drag them into a civil war by attacking Shiite mosques and massacring Shiite civilians.

Uh, sure. All Sistani is interested in is bringing Iraq under religious Shiite rule, and that was his main reason for rejecting the original proposal for regional caucuses. Sistani knew that regional caucuses would have resulted in a representative makeup of the new Iraqi government, with Shiites in the majority, but important roles for Sunnis and Kurds. That really would cut into his plans for a Shiite religious dictatorship, and that was his only reason for insisting on early national elections. And need we mention that yes, Sunni mosques and other sites have indeed been attacked by the disinterested Shiite heroes. Friedman gets dumber:

In many ways, Mr. Sistani has played the role for President George W. Bush that Nelson Mandela and Mikhail Gorbachev played for his father, President George H. W. Bush. It was Mr. Mandela's instincts and leadership - in keeping the transition to black rule in South Africa nonviolent - that helped the Bush I administration and its allies bring that process in for a soft landing.

Needless to say, Bush I and Reagan before him did their best to keep the corrupt Afrikaner government in power and Nelson Mandela in jail. I suppose Friedman relies on the stupidity of most Americans, which is indeed extreme, to get this garbage by them.

In a year, maybe less, this column is going to be laughable, in a sad and miserable way. Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani is another Khomieni. His plan is to turn a secular, relatively tolerant Iraq into another Islamic dictatorship. Could the New York Times find some new, intelligent columnists and send Friedman and Bobo back to kindergarten where they belong?

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