Thomas Friedman On Afghanistan in 2001: ‘Give War A Chance’

National File

As the nation of Afghanistan crumbles and falls to the Taliban regime, cementing U.S. military defeat after 20 years of occupation, it is instructive to revisit the words of some of the American political class’ most famous pundits when George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were mapping out the invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001. New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman urged readers to “Give war a chance” and trumpeted that “I have no doubt, for now, that the Bush team has a military strategy for winning a long war.” With journalists like Friedman cheerleading along, the United States government plunged itself into a 2-decade occupation of Afghanistan that now results in defeat for the globalist uniparty political class in Washington, D.C.

Thomas Friedman wrote for The New York Times on November 2, 2001 in a piece entitled “Foreign Affairs; One War, Two Fronts”: “A month into the war in Afghanistan, the hand-wringing has already begun over how long this might last. Let’s all take a deep breath and repeat after me: Give war a chance. This is Afghanistan we’re talking about. Check the map. It’s far away. I have no doubt, for now, that the Bush team has a military strategy for winning a long war. I do worry, though, whether it has a public relations strategy for sustaining a long war. Over time, Arab and Muslim public opinion will matter. The silent majority in Pakistan, which for now is supporting President Pervez Musharraf’s new-found alliance with the U.S. — something that is strategically critical for us — will be influenced by the broad trends in Arab-Muslim public opinion. So too will the next generation in the region. It is critical that generation see bin Laden as a rogue, not a role model. So how do we fight this P.R. war? The most important way we win the public relations war is by first winning the real war — by uprooting the Taliban regime and the bin Laden network, and sending the message that this is the fate of anyone who kills 5,000 innocent Americans.”

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