Thomas Friedman Calls the Troops 'Dumb'

Thomas Friedman is proud of our fighting boys. The fact that our all-volunteer military is involved in two open-ended occupations is bad, but the bright side is, we have finally found a class of kids dumb enough to fight forever.

Here are two paragraphs from today's column:

I've long argued that there should be a test for any officer who wants to serve in Iraq or Afghanistan - just one question: "Do you think the shortest distance between two points is a straight line?" If you answer "yes," you can go to Germany, South Korea or Japan, but not to Iraq or Afghanistan. Well, this war has produced a class of officers who are very out-of-the-box thinkers. They learned everything the hard way - not in classes at Annapolis or West Point, but on the streets of Fallujah and Kandahar.

I call them: "The Class Too Dumb to Quit." I say that with affection and respect. When all seemed lost in Iraq, they were just too stubborn to quit and figured out a new anti-insurgency strategy. It has not produced irreversible success yet - and may never. But it has kept the hope of a decent outcome alive. The same people are now trying to do the same thing in Afghanistan. Their biggest strategic insight? "We don't count enemy killed in action anymore," one of their officers told me.

Ugh. Would anyone actually get in trouble for editing him? Could someone at the Times just try it, as a favor to us? "Well, this war has produced a class of officers who are very out-of-the-box thinkers." That is just an impressively terrible sentence.

This is what Thomas Friedman is saying, this week: the officers serving their fourth, fifth, or even sixth terms in Afghanistan and Iraq are dumb, but being dumb is good, but it still might not work. Or: "So, here's hoping that The Class Too Dumb to Quit can take all that it learned in Iraq and help rebuild The Country That's Been Too Broken to Work." The capitalization means Thomas Friedman has coined two exciting new and original phrases.

Here is another sentence: "America has just adopted Afghanistan as our new baby."