Thomas Friedman's latest Op-Ed column in today's New York Times is about words. Because in the war on terrorism, or in Mr. Friedman's war of ideas, "words matter". Indeed, and as Ari Fleischer once said in reference to Bill Maher's take on the 9/11 hijackers, "....all Americans....need to watch what they say...."Umm, Hooman, you fool - you're exactly who he's talking about! And you revel in it! While London is under seige, you deign to tell me you know why the terrorists 'acted' - a nice little substitute, that word 'acted' - for the act, of course, is cold-blooded murder of innocent men, women, and children.
Tom suggests (as he has in previous columns, and as if he has wondrously come to the conclusion) that "if the primary terrorism problem we face can effectively be addressed only by a war of ideas within Islam" (he always adds the patronizing "one of the world's great religions" when he mentions Islam), then non-Muslims need to do something as well. And that something is to "shine a spotlight" on hate speech. He wants a list, and he wants to name names. Thomas wants the names of Jews who hate Muslims enough to scrawl "Mohammed is a Pig" on a wall, and the names of Muslims who hate everyone else enough to demand their deaths. Fine, Tom, go ahead and name the names of those who incite violence (although I'm not sure calling Mohammed a pig is in the same league as saying "kill the Jews." But I understand you want to appear fair and non-discriminatory).
However the problem is that Tom doesn't think that's quite enough. He also wants the names of the "excuse makers." And who are these excuse makers? In agreeing with James Rubin, the former State Department spokesman, Tom writes that "after every major terrorist incident, the excuse makers come out to tell us why the terrorists acted. And these "excuse makers" are just one notch less despicable than the terrorists." Really? I'm sure on this site alone Jann Wenner, Deepak Chopra, myself, and a host of other writers appreciate knowing how utterly despicable you think they are. As do the British politicians George Galloway and Ken Livingstone, and newspaper editors the world over. So there's your start Tom, but if you need more names, next time you're in Cairo, Damascus, Jeddah or Karachi; bring back the local phone book with you. Since any one person picked out of those White Pages will be happy to explain to you why the terrorists acted (but not ispo facto that terror is acceptable: get it?), there's your partial list of the "excuse makers" in the Muslim world. The others don't have a phone.
And as to your assertion that the entire phone book of all those Middle Eastern cities is full of people like yourself - that's Friedman's point! What he, I, and we are saying is, 'Condemn these acts; don't try to understand them; because your time and our patience is running out.' Read the Hanson piece, Hooman, slowly, and then read it again, because it's not sinking in...and if Chopra, Jann Wenner, George Galloway, Ken Livingstone and the lot of you continue to appease, don't be surprised to find yourself increasingly marginalized.