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Friedman, ex-Iraq hawk, now sees perils

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman.
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman.MSNBC TV

Thomas Friedman, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and columnist for The New York Times, came down firmly on the side of war in Iraq in 2003. Of late, he says he has been keeping a lower profile, taking time to "sit back and listen" as what many thought would be a quick strike has turned into a grinding guerrilla war. Friedman joined Don Imus on Friday:

"I have had a chance to sit back and listen and not talk for these last three months and what I find is that people are torn between two emotions. One is that I think people really feel that we have real enemies out there. You don't have to tune in to too many videos of people sawing peoples heads off or see what is going on in Indonesia or Madrid to know that we have real enemies out there who we have to engage. I think people really feel that.

"I think the other thing people really feel is that we are really on the wrong track and that we do not have a policy that somehow is really confronting this thing without making it worse and doing it in a way that really has allies around the world. It is very hard to fight that kind of an enemy alone.

"I think the election is really going to hinge on which two of those issues dominate. I think the Republicans are trying to keep the focus entirely on how much we have enemies and how frightened we should be about them in order to deflect attention away from the issue of 'we really are not on the right track.'"