Please read his description of U.S. conduct in the Muslim world:
Yes, after two decades in which U.S. foreign policy has been largely dedicated to rescuing Muslims or trying to help free them from tyranny — in Bosnia, Darfur, Kuwait, Somalia, Lebanon, Kurdistan, post-earthquake Pakistan, post-tsunami Indonesia, Iraq and Afghanistan — a narrative that says America is dedicated to keeping Muslims down is thriving.
Although most of the Muslims being killed today are being killed by jihadist suicide bombers in Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan and Indonesia, you’d never know it from listening to their world. The dominant narrative there is that 9/11 was a kind of fraud: America’s unprovoked onslaught on Islam is the real story, and the Muslims are the real victims — of U.S. perfidy.
Have no doubt: we punched a fist into the Arab/Muslim world after 9/11, partly to send a message of deterrence, but primarily to destroy two tyrannical regimes — the Taliban and the Baathists — and to work with Afghans and Iraqis to build a different kind of politics. In the process, we did some stupid and bad things. But for every Abu Ghraib, our soldiers and diplomats perpetrated a million acts of kindness aimed at giving Arabs and Muslims a better chance to succeed with modernity and to elect their own leaders.
The Narrative was concocted by jihadists to obscure that.
Actually, beneath the self-serving bullshit that regularly accompanies Friedman's columns, there is a grain of truth there: governments and populations in Muslim and Arab states do not like taking responsibility for their failings, and seek to deflect blame to other people and states. This state of affairs is deplorable, and from a personal perspective, I try to do everything I can to shine a light on the incredible stupidity that results when this modus operandi is employed with the regularity that it is (think Zaid Hamid blaming Pakistan's problems on a Hindu-Zionist-American-Mickey Mouse-Donald Duck conspiracy).
The only problem is that this grain of truth is buried under opinions so stupid that it boggles the mind. In Friedman's view, when people are invaded and bombed, they should be happy about it, because the U.S. really wants to "rescue Muslims" or "free them from tyranny". Torture and indiscriminate bombing should be excused because American soldiers and diplomats "perpetrated a million acts of kindness" (evidently this was not one of the million).
I believe a state as powerful as the U.S. will end up conducting itself in fairly aggressive ways -- that's just the U of C training in me. I also believe a state will try to justify its aggression and dress it up in benevolent language to make it look like they're doing something other than pursuing their national interests (think the White Man's Burden). Up to this point, I can follow the train logically and understand it (even if I don't necessarily like it).
But where I get completely lost is the third step: when the people in charge start believing what they say. Do neocons (the Krauthammer/Kristol crowd) and liberal imperialists (the Friedman crowd) genuinely believe that the world should be grateful when the U.S. bestows upon it the privilege of being invaded? All the evidence suggests: yes, they do. And the truly scary thing about this view is how widespread it is. In the academic world, I either come across directly, or speak to fellow academics who engage with, the Washingon crowd (think tankers, inside-the-Beltway journalists etc). It's actually quite amazing the extent to which these people believe their own bullshit. They really do think the world sees them as they see themselves, and are truly flummoxed when you try to tell them that it doesn't.