An Open Letter to NYT and Thomas Friedman

In Thomas Friedman’s most recent opinion piece in the New York Times (Taking Ownership of Iraq?) he uses the 1973 Yom Kippur War to show how Iraq needs to take ownership of our illegal war, our aggression in Iraq.

He sanitizes our crimes and tries to present an argument for passing off the costs of our aggression to the government-under-occupation by using the 1973 war as an analogy. An analogy based on a clear distortion of history, a distortion that turns reality topsy-turvy. An analogy so inaccurate that I cannot believe he doesn’t know it.

He said:

There is no way that Egypt’s President Anwar Sadat could have ever made peace with Israel had he not first launched his lightning strike across the Suez Canal on Yom Kippur, 1973. ‘The crossing,’ as that surprise attack became known in Egyptian lore, was as psychologically important as it was militarily important. It wiped away Egypt’s humiliating loss in the 1967 war and gave Egyptians the dignity and self-confidence to make peace with Israel as military equals. While the military reality was more complex, Egyptians nevertheless felt they had liberated the Sinai themselves.

We are led to believe that because of Egypt’s defeat in the 1967 war that it was not until Egypt could reclaim its dignity by showing military force as it did in 1973 that the 1978 Camp David Accords were impossible to achieve.

This is claiming that the obstacle to the peace that was achieved in 1978 was Egypt, not Israel.

The truth of the matter is that Sadat offered Israel peace in 1971, a fact conveniently left out by Friedman. It was not until Egypt showed its military strength that Israel was willing to make peace.

A correct passage would have said, "There is no way that Israel’s President Menachem Begin could have ever made peace with Egypt had the latter not first launched a lightning strike across the Suez Canal on Yom Kippur, 1973."

While more comment could be made about the rest of the piece, it would be nice if the New York Times would have Friedman correct this obvious error.

suggested action:

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