Do As We Say, Not As We Do

Dear Honest Reporting Member,

Thomas Friedman occasionally writes “simulated memos” on behalf of world leaders. This week in The New York Times, Friedman published a made-up missive from President Bush, entitled “Dear Ariel and Yasir.”

Here is an excerpt of Friedman’s “message” to Ariel Sharon on Oct. 23:

“I have no problem with Israel retaliating against Palestinians who murder Israeli civilians. No one can object to that. When your snipers assassinated the Palestinian terrorist who organized the suicide bombing of the Tel Aviv disco, my spokesmen made clear we had no problem with that. But there’s a red line for us. And the red line is if you try to use this situation, as some in your cabinet are urging, to destroy the Palestinian Authority and end Arafat’s control in the West Bank and Gaza.”

Contrary to Friedman’s admonition, Israel’s military action in Palestinian areas are not directed a destroying the Palestinian Authority. Israel’s actions are directed at capturing the terrorists who assassinated cabinet minister Rechavam Ze’evi. Indeed, upon capturing two of Ze’evi’s killers from the West Bank town of Beit Rima, Israeli troops promptly withdrew on Thursday morning.

Friedman should consider Israel’s actions in light of the Oct. 24 briefing by U.S. Department of Defense spokesman, Rear Adm. John D. Stufflebeem, on the conduct of the Afghanistan war:

“We are taking the fight to the terrorists rather than waiting for them to bring it to us. We don’t have a luxury of not going after terrorists. We have to do this. This is in our right of defending ourselves to go after them… [W]e’ll use every available instrument of power known on this Earth to be able to find a way to root them out. We’ll not disregard any way or any possibility of how we could do that.”

Friedman may also want to bear in mind the words of Congressman Gary Ackerman (D-NY), who described State Department policy as “very inconsistent,” saying: “We’re telling the Israelis to do as we say and not do as we do. The difference between the Israeli policy and our policy as I see it, at least at this point, is that they are targeting Israeli targets and they’ve been successful in hitting their targets, and we’ve been less successful in reducing collateral damage.”

Read Thomas Friedman’s article at:
http://www.nytimes.com/2001/10/23/opinion/23FRIE.html

To respond, e-mail:
letters@nytimes.com

The most effective method is to write a letter in your own words. Otherwise, use the sample letter below.

For a contrasting view, read William Saffire’s column in The New York Times:
http://www.nytimes.com/2001/10/25/opinion/25SAFI.html

Also, check out Times magazine’s “Arafat is Losing”:
http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,180405,00.html

Thank you for your ongoing involvement in the battle against media bias.

HonestReporting.com

========== SAMPLE LETTER OF COMPLAINT ============

To the Editor of The New York Times:

In “Dear Ariel and Yasir,” Thomas Friedman charges that Israeli actions against terrorists was damaging to the U.S. coalition against Osama Bin Laden. In truth, Friedman’s call on Israel to stop the actions actually emboldens terrorists to strike against Israel and the West.

- Contrary to Friedman’s admonition, Israel’s military action in Palestinian areas are not directed a destroying the Palestinian Authority. Israel’s actions are directed at capturing the terrorists who assassinated cabinet minister Rechavam Ze’evi. Indeed, upon capturing two of Ze’evi’s killers from the West Bank town of Beit Rima, Israeli troops promptly withdrew on Thursday morning.

- Israel’s actions are strategically important for the restoration of Israel’s power of deterrence. Not to respond to such an attack, or to withdraw under pressure would only encourage more and greater aggression — as evidenced by the unprovoked Hizbullah attack this week against Israelis on Mount Dov.

- It was reported that at least one of Ze’evi’s assassins succeeded in fleeing to Ramallah with the help of the Palestinian Authority. In the absence of Arafat arresting terrorists and assassins in his midst, Israel’s actions are in compliance with the Oslo Accords which require that “Both sides shall take all measures necessary in order to prevent acts of terrorism.” Further, Article XIII states that “Israel shall have the overriding responsibility for security for the purpose of protecting Israelis and confronting the threat of terrorism.”

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