One of the world's worst newspaper columnists, Thomas Friedman of the New York Times, is urging the Bush administration to take a bold new step in its Middle Eastern foreign policy. He is recommending that the United States invade Iraq, conquer its peoples, and install a democratic government in Baghdad. This will touch off a wave of democratic reform across the Middle East and...wait a second, what year is this? Oh, forgive me, I thought we were talking about the first invasion of Iraq (or was it the second?) which Friedman also championed. What he is now proposing is a re-invasion, the purpose of which would be to kill all of the people who managed to survive the first invasion. I'm barely kidding, but Friedman is completely serious. Let's think for two seconds about the concept of the U.S. re-invading Iraq. The idea would be to fight all of the Iraqi sectarian and ethnic groups together this time. Really, this is just what Iraq needs. Something to bring all Iraqis together again, to remind them of why they are Iraqis. Sunni, Shiite, Kurd, it wouldn't matter. Just Iraqis joining hands across the desert in the common cause of killing Americans. How do you say Kumbayah in Arabic? Secondly, we would be attacking the government we are now trying to install. Presumably, all of the government ministers, soldiers, and civil servants we are currently training would become our new enemies, and we would try to kill them. Fortunately, they wouldn't put up much of a fight because we have done such a lousy job of training them so far. Really, would anybody miss the current Iraqi government after we had destroyed it? Would anyone wax nostalgic for the good old days of Ibrahim Jaafari, Abid Mutlak Al-Jubouri, and Saadoun al-Dulaimi? I didn't think so. Let's bomb these guys. Thirdly, one should at least ask the question of how many U.S. invasions the average Iraqi should be expected to endure in the course of their lifetime. Here come the Americans again? Really? Will Geraldo be involved? On the other hand, the average Iraqi lifespan is so short that there are probably precious few who remember the '03 attack, let alone the first U.S. invasion back in 1991. (Let's face it, who among us still has their original Desert Storm t-shirt? Even though those things are collectors items now?) Finally, if we do decide to grant the Bush administration the right to "do-over" the 2003 war, who else do we have to extend this right to? Here's a list of the nightmarish possibilities we may be facing:
1) Britney Spears gets to do over her first marriage to Jason Alexander in January of 2004
2) Janet Jackson gets to re-do her breast-exposure incident of that same month
3) John Kerry gets to re-do his famous windsurfing expedition of the spring of '04
You get the idea. I don't think this is a road we want to go down. We must regrettably say no to Thomas Friedman's otherwise brilliant idea of re-invading Iraq. And if we're feeling nostalgic for 2003, well we'll just have to break out our OutKast CD's and live the moment in our hearts all over again.