"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)

Friday, September 30, 2005

You Bought It, You Break It 

Colin Powell most often gets the credit for enunciating the "Pottery Barn rule of foreign policy" - if you break it, you bought it - and it was Powell who ended up looking silly when it turned out that Pottery Barn, in fact, has no such rule. Tom Friedman, however, insists that he is the one responsible for coining the aforesaid bon mot:
In his column of February 12, 2003, New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman used the phrase "the pottery store rule" to make the point that invading Iraq carried the responsibility of rebuilding the nation. However, Friedman claims responsibility for the phrase; he is quoted as saying, "But in my speeches I referred to the Pottery Barn."

For one who so pathetically insists upon proper attribution for the idea, however, Friedman displays a shocking lack of enthusiasm for it:
Maybe the cynical Europeans were right. Maybe this neighborhood is just beyond transformation. That will become clear in the next few months as we see just what kind of minority the Sunnis in Iraq intend to be. If they come around, a decent outcome in Iraq is still possible, and we should stay to help build it. If they won't, then we are wasting our time. We should arm the Shiites and Kurds and leave the Sunnis of Iraq to reap the wind.

Try that at Pottery Barn, and see what their policy is!

By the way, the above link to an un-embargoed version of Friedman's column (from a media site in Kurdistan, no less!) came to me by way of The Poor Man, who editorializes thusly:
Thomas, my pet, my love, light of my life: do you suppose there might be some negative consequences to setting up an ethnic cleansing of 30% of Iraq’s population? Do you think that maybe the 90% of the world’s Muslims who are also Sunnis might - just might - be blinded to the genius of such a move? Really, Tommy: do you think it might be time to shut the fuck up now? How about … now?

Yeah - what he said.




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