Why don't people protest the stuff I want them to protest?
In his column today, Thomas Friedman trains his mustache on Pakistan, wondering why ordinary Pakistanis, some of whom were moved to protest the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, aren't protesting the terrorist attack on Mumbai, since it turns out most of the attackers were Pakistanis.
I knew I'd heard this somewhere before. Sure enough, a quick Google search brought me to an analysis of his Nov. 30, 2003, column, "A Chant Not Heard," in which he makes a similar argument for reality to hew more closely to the 'stache, marveling that a protest against the Iraq war in London did not include people speaking out against a terrorist attack in Istanbul on the British consulate and a British-owned bank.
"Yet nowhere," Friedman wrote, "could I find a single sign in London reading, 'Osama, How Many Innocents Did You Kill Today?' or 'Baathists -- Hands Off the U.N. and the Red Cross in Iraq.'"
In the case of Pakistan, who knows why they're not protesting the terrorist attacks? It could be they're sympathetic to the terrorists. Or maybe they've got other things to do, like trying to cobble together a living in Pakistan. Perhaps they're afraid of pissing off Taliban types. In any case, why does Friedman waste his time wishing the real world aligned more perfectly with his fantasy world?
As for the November 2003 column, this is really the epitome of Friedman-brand obtuseness. As the person at the above link correctly noted, the point of protesting is to effect change. What would be the point of London protesters' demanding that Osama bin Laden stop killing people? How's that going to work? If it was that easy, Bob and David would have taken care of it long ago.
Other highlights from that seminal 2003 column included:
-- This paragraph: "(E)ven though the Bush team came to this theme late in the day, this war is the most important liberal, revolutionary U.S. democracy-building project since the Marshall Plan. The primary focus of U.S. forces in Iraq today is erecting a decent, legitimate, tolerant, pluralistic representative government from the ground up. I don't know if we can pull this off. We got off to an unnecessarily bad start. But it is one of the noblest things this country has ever attempted abroad and it is a moral and strategic imperative that we give it our best shot." (Emphasis added.)