After all of the saber-rattling toward Iran, and their designation of Iran as our public enemy number-one, I suppose the Bush administration should be given credit for allowing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to even travel to America, much less give a public address. In an atmosphere where songman, Cat Stevens can't travel freely into the country, it was surprising to see the leader of the regime which the Bush administration has characterized as "the leading sponsor of world terrorism, sponsor of attacks on our troops in Iraq, and a potential nuclear threat," allowed any movement at all among our precious citizens.
Of course, there was that ban on Ahmadinejad making his planned pilgrimage to Ground Zero to lay a wreath in remembrance of those killed on 9-11. Such a sentimental display from the point man on Bush's 'axis of evil' would undoubtedly clash with the deliberate, calculated campaign by the White House to paint the Iranian president as a monstrous figure whose evil deeds are somehow obscured by his everyman facade.
One look at the sleight foreigner mingling among the hordes of visitors to the site of New York's tragedy; paying respects to those innocents who found themselves in the way of the madness of Bush's other nemesis, bin-Laden (the one who actually threatened America directly and followed through with devastating effectiveness . . . the one Bush became bored with after he let him escape 6 years ago) and Americans might mistake the Iranian president as someone who actually gives a damn.
Vice President Cheney's daughter Elizabeth, from her $20 million State Dept. office -- the self-described 'democracy czar' charged with regime change for Iran -- got her father to release Sec. of State Rice from her noticeable exile from the recent Iraq debate to serve-up her administration master's special dish on Iran's Ahmadinejad. Rice went on CNBC Monday to declare that the Iranian president's planned visit to Ground Zero would be a "travesty."
"I think this is somebody who is the president of a country that is probably the greatest state sponsor of terrorism, someone who is a Holocaust denier, someone who has talked about wiping other countries off the map," Rice said.
The principle orchestrator and cheerleader of the violent (and enabling) overthrow of Iran's enemy, Saddam -- still insisting that the Bush administration intends to use diplomatic pressure to confront the Iranian regime about a nuclear weapons program which only exists in some torn page Cheney covets from one of his wife's spy novels -- Rice revealed the administration's new strategy to target Iran's military in a bold attempt to deny the Quds force of Iran's Revolutionary Guard the ability to proliferate the fictional nukes.
"Remember that the problem with the Quds force is that it has a network of activities in support of terrorism but it also, we believe, has a network of activities in support of proliferation," said Rice, as she wove the administration's Iran-in-Iraq narrative together with her new proliferation fantasy.
As in Iraq -- where the U.S. forces are the most pernicious and dangerous influence among all of the resistant ones which receive the bulk of the administration flack for standing in the way of Bush's swaggering advance into their territory -- the U.S. military forces' opportunistic advance into the Mideast under Bush has become the most pernicious and dangerous world and regional threat. The deliberate proliferation of weapons by the U.S. military in a deliberate, cynical arming of both sides of Iraq's civil war makes any discovery of weapons from Iraq's next-door neighbor (and now security partner) seem superfluous to Bush's occupation's own role in fostering and fueling the resistant violence.
It is the Bush administration which has pushed to develop more nuclear weapons, with more justifications for their use; for the first time in our nation's history advocating the use of 'smaller more usable' mini-nukes against nations which possess no nuclear weapon capacity at all. Moreover, Bush's unilateral abrogation of the non-proliferation treaty makes all of this action against Iran, demanded by the U.S., bizarre and self-serving.
Jimmy Carter, no fan of Iran, called attention to the Bush regime's nuclear ambitions in a comprehensive article. "The United States is the major culprit in this erosion of the NPT." he wrote. "While claiming to be protecting the world from proliferation threats in Iraq, Libya, Iran and North Korea, American leaders not only have abandoned existing treaty restraints but also have asserted plans to test and develop new weapons, including antiballistic missiles, the earth-penetrating "bunker buster" and perhaps some new "small" bombs. They also have abandoned past pledges and now threaten first use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states," Carter said.
Perhaps it is that very lack of any credible base for this administration's (so far) rhetorical war against Iran which prevents any of the mobilization and defenses one would expect to be staged against the New York invasion of the most 'evil' man in Bush's evil axis. From our television screens, we could see nothing of the Iranian president which would cause us to experience any of the administration's fear of Ahmadinejad we've been urged to share.
Looking surprisingly comfortable in a country (and a city) in which our citizens encourage and celebrate their mostly-unbridled outspokenness and frankness, the Iranian president was allowed to wage his "ideological battle" with words; a contrast, in the place where another dedicated ideologue saw fit to wage his own battle with violence instead; and another in response, standing on a pile of rubble and humanity as he shouted to the world through his bullhorn.
How positively engulfed the Iranian president was by our democracy as he addressed the Columbia University crowd who had gathered to hear him speak and answer their questions. How completely dwarfed Ahmadinejad's strident rhetoric became as he stood his declarations and denials up for scrutiny against a new generation of students -- more aware, perhaps, of the world's history and his country's relevance than he. How completely irrelevant Ahmadinejad seemed as he parried his ideology with the myriad of free-thinkers who came to confront him; and in some cases, cheer him on.
There was nothing, so enamoring of the Iranian president that anyone can credibly assume that his appearance generated any widened appeal for his objected views on Jews, gays, or God. Although I couldn't help thinking back to the days before Clinton blundered his way into sanctioning discrimination of gays in the military, how so many quarters of that institution had been flatly denying that gays existed among their ranks. Republicans and conservatives, too, had their own penchant for denying the presence of gays in their own flock.
And Ahmadinejad and the spiritual leadership in Iran aren't alone in using religion as justification for their aggression, posturing, and oppression. Bush, himself has said repeatedly that he believes he was ordained by God to carry out his militarism. "I trust God speaks through me," Bush explained in 2004. "Without that, I couldn't do my job," he said.
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