I used to read Tom Friedman all of the time, and I even gave a copy of the book to my Dad and assigned almost the whole thing in one of my classes, but I've gotten away from reading him because it just gets me irritated that he's been saying the same things for years and no progress has been made on solving any of the big problems our country faces. His opinion article in today's New York Times pretty much sum up my feelings.
After 9/11 I remember hoping that the energy and unity that resulted from the attacks would be used to break the deadlock and go about solving the big problems facing our country and not spent engaging in knee jerk reactions to the attacks. At the time, I was just worried that we would get bogged down in Afghanistan. I couldn't have fathomed that we'd be sinking a trillion dollars, all of our international goodwill (not to mention the tremendous human cost) into Iraq. Instead of uniting the country behind energy and international policies that could have dramatically improved the future of the US in world politics and the world economy, we've used up the Army and Marine Corps, spent the surplus and then some, and turned our backs on the values that make the US a place that the whole world (still) admires.
Instead, we have a political climate defined entirely by that horrible sickness in our stomachs that we all felt when we saw those towers fall. I don't only blame the Neanderthal Republicans, because there has been no real alternative from the Democrats. No one of any standing has stood up like Huckabee did to Romney at the debate and said "We are better than this." There are real enemies out there (like Saddam and certain members of the Iranian government); but our best weapons are not bullets and bombs. The best we can do is to actually behave better than they do.... to lead the world by our own example instead of wasting our waning power to use force to get what we want.