Since 2003, Tom Friedman has repeatedly predicted that “the next six months are crucial” in Iraq. (FAIR documents it here.) This weekend on CNN, Friedman defended his remarks, saying “the story’s evolving.” He also attacked those on the left and right who criticize him, saying they “want to be proven right.” Watch it:
At no point did Friedman admit — or even suggest — he was ever wrong.
KURTZ: Now, I want to understand how a columnist’s mind works when you take positions, because you were chided recently for writing several times in different occasions “the next six months are crucial in Iraq,” the next six months. And now you’ve written a column saying that Americans are simply not going to tolerate this kind of anarchy for another two years and deadlines have to be set. Were you conscious that you were now shifting your position on this?
FRIEDMAN: Not really. You know, the problem with analyzing the story, Howie, is that it doesn’t — everyone, first of all, this is the most polarized story I’ve certainly written about, so everyone wants, basically, to be proven right, OK?
So the left — people who hated the war, they want you to declare the war is over, finish, we give up. The right, just the opposite. But I’ve been trying to just simply track the situation on the ground. And the fact is that the outcome there is unclear, and I reflected that in my column. And I will continue to reflect.
KURTZ: Unclear, but you’re running out of patience?
FRIEDMAN: Well, it’s not that I’m running out of patience. The story’s evolving. And what strikes me as I see it evolve, when it drags on, six months after an election we still don’t have a government. Then, as a columnist who’s offering opinions on what I think the right policy is, it seems to me we have to be telling Iraqis we are not going to be here forever, providing a kind of floor under the chaos, while you dicker over the most minute things when American lives are at stake. So I think it’s a constantly evolving thing.