After perusing the incoherent, rambling and repetitive dispatch from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent last week to President Bush, one thing is painfully clear: we are dealing with a fruitcake. A certifiable lunatic who may soon have a stockpile of nuclear weapons.
This has been America’s greatest fear for decades. That some nutjob would end up with the bomb. Someone crazier than Stalin and more emotionally unstable than the French. Stanley Kubrick and Terry Southern, in Dr. Strangelove, created just such a scenario way back in 1964, only then it was a U.S. general that was diabolically insane. Apparently, that is much easier to believe.
There are any number of world leaders who are both criminals and madmen (the leaders of Belarus, North Korea, Syria, and Zimbabwe come immediately to mind), but by and large they are only dangerous to their own people, and perhaps the people of neighboring countries. The real danger lies in religious fanaticism. Only religious fanatics fly 747s into skyscrapers or the Pentagon. Only religious fanatics, like the Mujahideen, would believe they could take on the Red Army and win. Which they did, thanks to a strange fondness for martyrdom, infidel weapons and intelligence support, and the fact that the Soviet Union was on its last legs.
After reading the letter, U.S. officials were left scratching their heads in astonishment. Iranian officials had promised “new solutions for getting out of international problems and the current fragile situation of the world.” Instead they got page after page of Muslim mumbo-jumbo, Quranic quackery, and fundamentalist flummery. The U.S. had hoped for a diplomatic breakthrough. Instead it got an Islamic breakdown. The first high-level communication between the U.S. and Iran since the 1979 revolution was an 18-page chastisement, a demand that the U.S. turn away from secular democracy and turn toward Mecca.
“Liberalism and Western style democracy have not been able to help realize the ideals of humanity,” Mahmoud the Madman wrote. “Today these two concepts have failed. Those with insight can already hear the sounds of the shattering and fall of the ideology and thoughts of the liberal democratic systems.” Sorry, but the shattering you hear are the windows of Baghdad storefronts blown out by suicide bombers in the name of Allah.
Then again it is difficult to know who is more out of touch with reality, the Iranian leader or the BBC. On May 8, the Beeb reported that Ahmadinejad’s letter reinforces “the point that he is willing to negotiate with anyone, including the U.S. president, to avoid conflict over the nuclear issue.” Similarly the blog Vital Perspective insisted that, “By the extraordinary gesture of sending a letter directly to Bush, Ahmadinejad appears to be reinforcing Iran’s determination to at least appear open to direct communication with Washington.” Did we read the same letter, I wonder? Contrary to reports, Mahmoud’s memo was no more (and no less) than a demand for the West to surrender to Islam.
The White House response has been that the correspondence was “unhelpful,” but it did provide a glimpse into the Iranian leader’s mindset and mentality. That mentality is one of a religious extremist, a 9/11 conspiracy freak who dreams of “wiping Israel off the map,” and of the day when Israel is “eliminated by one storm.” Hmmmm. Whatever could he mean by that? Ahmadinejad comes across as one who is able to quote Quran verses ad nauseam, but is unable to string together two logical sentences; he is capable of delivering a rambling, amateurish lecture on the hadith, but knows nothing of the U.S. save what he sees on CNN and (apparently) reads in Michael Moore books. (Ahmadinejad is apparently under the impression that President Bush’s “slogan” is “Make ‘War and Peace'” and that the U.S. is working “towards the establishment of a unified international community…which Christ and the virtuous of the Earth will one day govern.” Jeez, I and every other Western journalist must have stepped out for coffee during that White House address.)
To the Iranian leader all of the world’s problems are the result of “disobedience to the Almighty and the teachings of the prophets,” therefore the only solution is to accept his “invitation” to return to the teachings of the prophets and Islamic law. Therefore the U.S. should follow Iran’s shining and holy example by supporting terror, treating women and non-Muslims as second-class citizens, and working toward a world without Israel. What’s more, the West should abandon liberal democracy, toss Western civilization and its cultural legacy on history’s ash heap and convert to Islam forthwith. Ahmadinejad doesn’t want the U.S. to surrender to Iran, just to Islam. More disturbing is the fact that crazies like Ahmadinejad believe terrorism is the most effective way to bring about the West’s surrender. And what more effective way to strike terror into the hearts of Americans than a nutjob with nuclear weapons?
Meanwhile France, Germany, and Britain are trying to restart talks with Tehran over its nuclear program. Read the Iranian president’s letter. Then you can tell me if you think we can reason with this guy.
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