Monday, August 14, 2006

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Birds of a Feather

You're not going to like me for this, Bush, but I was watching the Mike Wallace interview with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sixty Minutes last night and I couldn't help but be struck by the qualities you share in common. Struck and, frankly, deeply disturbed.

You don't believe me? Well, here's what I saw: I saw a man of cocky self-assurance, willing to shoot off his mouth at the slightest provocation, alternately bellicose and charming in an awkward, slightly sinister way, unable to listen, and sensitive to the slightest suggestion of criticism. Okay? And then there was the same glib dismissal of the possibility of any point of view other than his own, the same prejudicial partisanship, the same nationalistic arrogance, same readiness to exculpate his friends and castigate his enemies, and the same propensity to ward off serious questions with a jibe and the same sly mockery of the questioner. Same grin, hiding the same anger--in my judgment--and the same discomfort with himself as a public figure. Oh, and he had to close the interview because it was time to get off to his prayers.

Don't get me wrong, Bush. I don't like this guy. I wouldn't trust him, as they say, any further than I could throw him. I find his intolerance of Israel and his constant reference to all Jews as "Zionists" to be repugnant. He's clearly a rabble-rousing menace of the first order. I was that much more distressed, then, to realize that there was much in what he had to say that I could not disagree with, particularly in his remarks about the role that America seems recently to have adopted in the world, its arrogant use--some would say abuse--of power, its assumption of rightness, its tendancy to look for military solutions to every problem, its relentless pursuit of its own interests and its apparent lack of true concern for the suffering of others.

While I hated to hear these things coming from the mouth of a man whom I consider to be a dangerous hate-monger and bigot, I hated still more to find myself in agreement with many of his points. And one thing he had over you, Bush: at least this man knew how to talk. (I have to assume that his simultaneous interpreter knew what he was doing in the interview.) Even his wildest pronouncements come out in well-modulated language, with every appearance of rational, sequential thought behind them.

Clearly, this man does not wield the kind of military power that you have at your fingertips, Bush. And yet--isn't this a curious and uncomfortable irony?--it's undeniable that he has you by the balls and is enjoying every minute of it. He delights in every opportunity to thumb his nose at you in full view of the world. Your invasion of Iraq, along with your neglect of other problems in the Middle East and your stubborn refusal to sit down and talk to those who have earned your lofty disapproval, has left you weakened and bereft of the kind of moral authority and flexibility you'd need to negotiate solutions in that sorely troubled part of the world. You have left yourself open to the open distrust and mockery of men like Ahmadinejad. What a tragedy for you. What a tragedy for all of us.


GringoWithoutBorders said...

Iran's Pres. also has a blog he just started. just click on the English flag in upper left corner.

From what I saw, The Iranian Pres. was clear to say that he does not hate Jews as he has jewish citizens in his country but rather the Zionist ideology. Just as people should not hate Germans but rather the Nazi ideology. Zionism and Nazism both have racist goals for their followers, FACT. A pure race state for their followers.

Made it pretty clear to me, despite the drastic editing by Mike Wallace to shorten this mans thoughts in order to fit in the sound bite culture of USA. Speaking with translators even complicates the interview further.

Still not sure who Iran or this man has ever attacked, oppressed or invaded, especially compared to Israel and USA actions in Middle East. Did not USA place in charge a brutal Dictator called the Shah of Iran? USA supported and armed the invasion of Iran by Iraq? Is it any wonder Iranians do not like USA foreign policy? What dictator has any Middle Eastern country forced you live under? When has any Middle Eastern country invaded and occupied your home?

Still not sure why USA supports the Zionist oppressor instead of the oppressed Palestinians. So much for American values. Who gave Zionists the right to take land from other humans? Oh yes, bombs, guns and the racist justification of Zionism.

Currently, I see USA supporting 2 occupations in the Middle East, supporting dictatorships in Middle East, distributing billions of dollars of weapons in Middle East, through bigotry and racism supporting 1 group of humans over another, threatening military action on several countries in Middle East if they do not do what we say, ect......What have any of these countries ever done to USA? Oh yes, they kill our soldiers who invade their homes.

GringoWithoutBorders said...

Funny how one can see the similarities of Bush & Ahmadinejad but not Olmert & Bush.

Funny how one can be against the occupation of Iraq but not against the occupation of Palestine.

Funny how one can be against Nazism or the desires of the Ku Klux Klan but not against Zionism.

Funny how one can criticize their own country's horrible actions but not the horrible actions of Israel.

Funny how one can criticise ANYTHING including ones own God or other peoples religions but NEVER Israel.

Funny how one can criticise Iran's desire for Nuclear energy and one might ASSUME future nuclear weapons deterence but not Israel who has nuclear weapons and refuses to sign the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty as Iran has.

Funny how one can wear blinders when dealing with bigotry and intolerance.

David said...

Well that confirms what I thought, Peter. Ahmadinejad is a Republican. Interesting that he comes across as articulate through an interpreter. Just to be fair, W might sound a lot smarter if he had a good interpreter too. Our Republicans seem to use the opposite tactic though. The smart people talk into little microphones, and the interpreter takes what they say and dumbs it down. Hey who can argue? It worked for two elections in a row.

Regarding g w/o b's comments, I've read interviews w/ Jews living in Iran who say that they feel no additional oppression by the government (by additional I mean no more than the Muslims experience), and no animosity from their Muslim neighbors. If anything, they seem to have more freedoms than the Muslims, because they are not expected by the government to live by the same religious restrictions.

The issue really does seem to be more about Israel than about Jews. (Well, for everyone but Mel Gibson, anyway.) Just like much of the world's anger about America is about our federal government, not about us left-leaning Californians. Israel has a Republican party too, and they ran things there for a pretty long time, long enough to really screw things up. With our help of course. The last time Israel had a truly liberal leader, the Republicans killed him. Their Republicans, not ours.

David said...

The issue really does seem to be more about Israel than about Jews.

PS Just to be clear, I don't mean to suggest that there isn't anti-Jewish bigotry in the world. There's plenty of it, or course. But the Zionism thing is a political issue. It all gets confused by the fact that each side in the conflict claims to have God on their side.

GringoWithoutBorders said...

I also agree that there is anti-jewish bigotry. But those who agree with that, I should hope, must also agree that there is anti-palestinian bigotry, anti-muslim bigotry, anti-persian bigotry ect....Just living in America one constantly hears towel-head, terrorist, turn the Middle East into Glass with nuclear weapons, dumb arabs, kill em all ect....

I should hope that we are all against ANY ideology/movement that has race as one of its foundations. And for those who want an exception for their racist ideology, too bad, that person is just a racist bigot and should come to terms with it.