Since he presumably understands that the “Swift-boating” of various Democratic candidates was the product of rank dishonesty and distortion, Tom Friedman seems to be upset that the administration does not make lying about Bin Laden’s connections to the war in Iraq a more prominent, central feature of its propaganda effort. Friedman should gve the administration some credit. They are going to war with the dishonest spin they have. They have been trying to deceive the public about the effectiveness of the “surge” (which does not seem to be working, if death tolls from sectarian killings and bombing fatalities are any measure). They have been regularly deceiving the public about recent successes by attributing the “Awakening” to the “surge,” when it was a reaction against the excesses and brutality of the “Islamic State” types and the new tribal “allies” in Anbar were not that long ago supposed to be targets of the “surge.” They invoke Al Qaeda with amazing regularity. It is amazing, as anything remotely related to Al Qaeda is an extremely small part of the mess in Iraq and has little to do with what would happen in the event of a U.S. withdrawal. Friedman wants them to do more of this spinning. He wants the administration to be engage in even more dishonest spin, if such a thing can be imagined.
Friedman tries to get in on the act:
Bin Laden has created a situation in which the U.S. occupation in Iraq is viewed as entirely “illegitimate” and therefore any violence there by Sunni jihadists against Americans or Iraqi civilians is considered entirely legitimate “resistance.”
Actually, Bin Laden has done very little to make the occupation seem illegitimate. The insurgents who are not with the “Islamic State of Iraq,” which would be most of them, view the occupation as inherently illegitimate and have done for years, because they have somehow concluded that our government invaded their country. They didn’t need Bin Laden or anyone else to tell them this. The main trouble with winning a “P.R. war against Bin Laden” (as Friedman calls it) is that the tactics of the “Islamic State of Iraq” have already been alienating the people who have suffered from them–we don’t need to persuade Iraqis to view the perpetrators of those attacks negatively. However, as much as they might loathe those perpetrators, they aren’t going to fall in love with the occupation, and they aren’t going to blame their plight on Bin Laden.