On March 9, 2003, Friedman continued to express qualms about how well the Bush team would execute their plans after they went to war but continued to insist: "Regime change in Iraq is the right choice for Iraq, for the Middle East and for the world. Mr. Bush is right about that." He repeated that Iraq was a war of choice, not necessity, but added that it was "a legitimate choice to preserve the credibility of the U.N., which Saddam has defied for 12 years, and to destroy his tyranny and replace it with a decent regime that could drive reform in the Arab/Muslim world. That's the real case." So: Suck on that!
Equally revealing, a week earlier, he had written as openers of his column: "Watching this Iraq story unfold, all I can say is this: If this were not about my own country, my own kids and my own planet, I'd pop some popcorn, pull up a chair and pay good money just to see how this drama unfolds." Fun! He then disclosed that he had a "mixed marriage" when it came to the conflict:
My wife opposes this war, but something in Mr. Bush's audacious shake of the dice appeals to me. He summed it up well in his speech last week: ''A liberated Iraq can show the power of freedom to transform that vital region by bringing hope and progress into the lives of millions. America's interest in security and America's belief in liberty both lead in the same direction -- to a free and peaceful Iraq.''But Friedman at least was half-right for a change: "And so I am terribly worried that Mr. Bush has told us the right thing to do, but won't be able to do it right."
Greg Mitchell is author of more than a dozen books, including one on the media and Iraq, titled, "So Wrong for So Long."