It is easy (and necessary) to criticize Tom Friedman columns, so I’ll leave that in the capable hands of Doug Mataconis. Instead, it might be helpful to use this latest exercise in idolizing a famous “centrist” as a reminder that many famous “centrists” have a poor record when it comes to foreign policy. Tom Friedman’s egregious errors on this score are already well-documented and properly ridiculed, but Bloomberg’s strong support for the Iraq war often goes unmentioned. A 2007 New York Times article referred to Bloomberg’s early Iraq war support:
In May 2004, a year after the invasion, Mr. Bloomberg served as host to Laura Bush, who had come to New York in an effort to rally support for the war effort. Mrs. Bush visited a memorial for Sept. 11th victims. Standing next to Mrs. Bush, with the Statue of Liberty in the background, Mr. Bloomberg, right, suggested that New Yorkers could find justification for the war at the World Trade Center site [bold mine-DL], even though no Iraqi is known to have had a hand in the Sept. 11 attacks.
“Don’t forget that the war started not very many blocks from here,” [bold mine-DL] he said that day in 2004.
Here you have Bloomberg repeating one of the most outrageous lies uttered by pro-war figures during that decade. As we all know, the idea that the Iraq war was in any way justified by the 9/11 attacks is completely false, and it was part of some of the worst pro-war propaganda of the first few years of the war. Even if he was nominally a Republican at the time, Bloomberg’s support for the Iraq war doesn’t say much for his foreign policy judgment. This episode should be yet another a reminder that “centrists” often endorse the same bad policies favored by other hawkish ideologues.