Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Two Minutes of Hate

As the debate about the war in Iraq limps along and as the mission seems even less accomplisheder than it did three years ago, all eyes of have turned to Columbia University, where fanatic, jew-hater, and terrorist extraordinaire, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gave a speech at the request of the University as part of their "World Leaders" forum. In his opening remarks, University President Lee Bollinger, ultimately responsible for inviting Ahmadinejad, took the tough-minded position of opposing cruel dictators (Ahmadinejad was elected, but that is beside the point) and made it clear that he didn't care for Ahmadinejad--not one bit (you are off the hook, Lee!).

So what is Ahmadinejad's crime? Well he's from Iran which is an Arab country (oops no it isn't, they are Persian)--well, he was good friends with Saddam Hussein (oops, Iran was one of Hussein's victims and its most bitter enemy), well at least all the hijackers of Sept. 11 were Shia Muslims (oops, they were Sunnis and hate Shias almost as much as the American infidels). But hey, he has nuclear weapons, right? (not according to IAEA inspectors, but what do they know about weapons of mass destruction anyway?) Well at least it's true that the US has officially hated Iran since the 1979 hostage crisis (except for the whole Iran-Contra thing, but we'll just pretend like that didn't happen.)

This is not to say that there aren't many legitimate reasons to dislike Ahmadinejad--there are. He definitely panders to the right wing extremists of his own country and the Arab world, his theocratic government is repressive to women and homosexuals, and Iran is hardly a bastion of free thought. Of course the US may have had something to do with this (remember the cruel dictator known as the Shah? Where were all the University Presidents then?), but again that is water under the bridge. Making things worse, he is prone to making bombastic statements on controversial subjects, which make him regular cannon fodder for the American news media. Everyone already knows that they are supposed to hate him, so it is a lot easier to hate him on cue. So why is it necessary to hate him for reasons that don't make sense when their are so many reasons that do?

It gets to the complexities of American political culture and the need to populate the world with "mad men" who "must be stopped." The American intellegentia's united crescendo of moral outrage and denunciations of Ahmadinejad could not have been scripted better by a Russian Comissar during Stalin's heydey. Lee Bollinger, NY State assemblymen, NYC city council members, all taking "courageous" moral stands against Ahmadinejad because he said that he wanted to "wipe Israel off the map" (he didn't) and because his visit is an affront to the victims of 9/11 (huh?) makes one wonder about America's intellectual culture. It is the exact same mentality that got us into war in Iraq--the 9/11 hijackers are from the Middle East, Iraq is a country in the Middle East.....enough said.

Which, of course, is the point--the US has been grasping for reasons to attack Iran for over a year now. And as the situation in Iraq continues to raise questions among the American public, as US depends more on more on mercenery and unaccountable contractors, as the Taliban continues to regenerate in Afghanistan, and Pakistan becomes further destabilized by the war next door, there has to be a solution--find a new enemy, a new "Hitler," a new country to bomb, and just in time for the elections.

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