Friedman’s Civil War

I think I lack the words to adequately express how morally outrageous Tom Friedman’s call for a Muslim civil war is. But we can at least focus a bit on how factually inaccurate it is.

A couple of days ago, a suicide bombing in Pakistan killed 27. In July, militants hit a Pakistani hotel killing eleven. On December 8 12 were killed in Multan. That same day 100 Iraqis were killed in car bombs. Back in 2006 and 2007 there was regular fighting between Hamas and Fatah in which hundred were killed. And of course there’s ongoing violence in Iraq, in Yemen, in Sudan, and in many other Muslim countries.


Any normal person would conclude the obvious — Muslim-majority countries are suffering from an excess of civil wars most of which have some element of religious overtones. There’s quite a lot of violence and fighting. And it’s bad. People get maimed and killed. Children are turned into orphans. Hospitals and schools and productive infrastructure are destroyed. And while moral culpability for bad acts always adheres primarily to the bad actor, the fact of the matter is that the dominant theme of US foreign policy since 9/11 has been to intensify and exacerbate these conflicts, leading to vast quantities of death, destruction, and displacement.