Ahmadinejad: Is he John Locke or John Brown?

“Liberalism and Western style democracy have not been able to help realize the ideals of humanity. Today these two concepts have failed.” Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

By Mike Whitney

05/11/06 "
ICH" -- -- President Ahmadinejad’s 18 page letter won’t soften attitudes in Washington or deter the western press from slandering him as the “new Hitler”, but it may dispel the illusion that he is a fanatical jihadi who is endangering the free world.

The letter shows that Iran would like to open a dialogue with the United States so the current standoff can be resolved peacefully. The Bush administration, however, has brushed aside Iran’s gesture leaving many to believe that another war is imminent.

Ahmadinejad’s letter is statesmanlike, but heartfelt; more John Locke than John Brown. It articulates Iran’s long list of grievances with the United States, but it also offers a constructive vision for working towards a common goal.

Ahmadinejad pointedly asks how Bush can square his professed belief in Christ with the deliberate killing of “one hundred thousand people”, the polluting of Iraq’s water sources, and the utter destruction of its agriculture and industry.

He challenges Bush’s treatment of the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay who have been deprived of their rights “and kept in a strange land outside their country”. He also disparages the CIA’s use of secret gulags where kidnapped victims are taken to be tortured.

How “can one justify these undeniable contradictions”, Ahmadinejad wonders?

How can these actions be “reconciled with the traditions of Jesus Christ, the messenger of peace and forgiveness”?

Ahmadinejad’s letter is not argumentative or demagogic, but well-reasoned and insightful. Many others have questioned the inconsistencies of Bush’s profession of faith, and for good reason.

Never the less, the media has dismissed the letter as “rambling and scolding”; an obvious attempt to discredit its author.

The letter contains none of the fiery rhetoric that is normally attributed Ahmadinejad to make him look like a menace. Could it be that everything we’ve heard about him in the press is just baseless libel to make him look like a threat or a racist?


Americans are not supposed to like Ahmadinejad. The media describes him as a Muslim fanatic who “allegedly” wants Israel “wiped off the map”. There’s a great deal of dispute over this matter since Ahmadinejad’s comments do not translate into what his critics say. But, let’s assume that the media is correct that he is a religious zealot. What then?

Should we kill him? Should we bomb his country back to the Stone Age; poison the water, destroy the civilian-infrastructure, spread depleted uranium throughout the countryside and kill and torture his people?

If foreign nations have the right to kill religious fanatics, then we’d better start digging bunkers for Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson right now.

Ahmadinejad’s only crime is that he sits on an ocean of oil just like his friend Hugo Chavez. He’s no threat to anyone except, perhaps, the American media which is paid to make up stories demonizing Washington’s future targets. The real war criminals are in the White House cooking up their next genocidal intervention.

Ahmadinejad has been widely criticized for his comments about Israel. In his letter, however, he presents his position clearly and persuasively. He states:

“A regime (Israel) has been established which does not show mercy even to kids, it destroys houses while the occupants are still in them, announces beforehand its intention to assassinate Palestinian leaders and keeps thousands of Palestinians in prison….Why is this regime being supported?” Should we allow outsiders “whether they are Christian, Muslim or Jew, to determine the fate (of the Palestinians)?”

Isn’t this a fair question for someone, who has seen first-hand the appalling effects of Israeli occupation on innocent civilians, to ask? Or is this merely an example of the virulent anti-Semitism of which Ahmadinejad has been accused?

Ahmadinejad asks, “Why are all the United Nations Security Council resolutions against Israel vetoed by the United States”?

Why, indeed? Saddam was bombed and deposed without UN authorization while Israel gets a $3 billion bonus each year for thumbing its nose at the Security Council.

Where’s the justice?

Addressing the nuclear issue Ahmadinejad says,

“Why is it that any technological and scientific achievement reached in the Middle East regions is translated into and portrayed as a threat to Israel? Is not scientific research and development one of the basic rights of nations”?

Ahmadinejad is right; if Iran is willing to play by the rules and follow the guidelines of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) who can forbid them to develop nuclear power to fuel their turbines and heat their houses?

Ahmadinejad builds his case by asking why America supports “coup leaders in Latin America” and the ongoing “looting of Africa”. He asks why the CIA toppled the democratically-elected government of Iran in 1953 replacing it with the brutal Shah who ruled with an iron-fist for 25 years.

These are the queries of a reflective man; not the ravings of a radical Islamo-sociopath.

His questions create the basis for understanding the context of the current nuclear standoff. That’s why the media has scrupulously omitted the more important passages from their coverage.

I have no illusions about Iran or Ahmadinejad. Any society that represses its people, treats its women like second-class citizens, and applies the death sentence to homosexuals deserves to be condemned by the international community. But, does that give the United States the right to flatten its towns and cities, killing hundreds and thousands of people in order to topple the regime and spread its free-market ideology from the barrel of a gun?

Does it allow Congress to allocate millions of dollars to incite violence and foment revolution in the hopes of tightening America’s imperial grip on the region?

No; these solutions are more odious than the crimes of the regime. Nothing is worse than colonial exploitation. Any doubt of that has been removed by the bloody occupation of Iraq.

Ahmadinejad on the Media .

Ahmadinejad’s analysis of the media could have been written by Noam Chomsky; both are equally perceptive in their grasp of the power of propaganda on the public mind:

“American citizens live in constant fear”… They feel insecure in the streets, in their place of work and at home. ..The media, instead of conveying a feeling of providing peace of mind, feeds the feelings of insecurity. Some believe that the hype paved the way for the attack on Iraq. ….The main pretext for an attack on Iraq was the existence of WMDs. This was repeated incessantly to set the ground for the attack.

Will the truth not be lost in a contrived and deceptive climate?”

Who would argue with this analysis of the media’s part in paving the way for war? Even now, nearly 85% of soldiers deployed to Iraq believe that Saddam was directly involved in the attacks of 9-11, an astonishing admission of the corrupt and adversarial role of the corporate media in the US.

Has there ever been a more effective propaganda-system?

Ahmadinejad closes his letter with an appeal to Bush to take advantage of his position and use the opportunity to relieve suffering and poverty and practice the teachings of Jesus Christ.

He asks:

“Did we defend the rights of the underprivileged or ignore them? Did we manage to bring peace, security and prosperity for the people or insecurity andunemployment? Did we intend to establish justice, or just supported special interest groups, and by forcing people to live in poverty and hardship? Did we bring the world peace and security or raise the specter of intimidation and threats?”

Americans will find Ahmadinejad’s questions easy to answer, although unsettling. The US is in the vice-like grip of zealots and war-mongers. It has alienated its friends, relinquished its moral authority, and is careening towards catastrophe. The administration is no more interested in alleviating “poverty and hardship” than it is in the “peace and security” of its people. It is ghoulishly fixated on expanding its global resource war and plunging the region into chaos.

Bush is quick-stepping to war with Iran and the cautionary wisdom of the Iranian president is unlikely to slow him down.

Iran is America’s Rubicon; cross that river and there’s no turning back. As Ahmadinejad warned, “The Lord is the companion of the oppressed and the enemy of the oppressors.”

Bush should take note.

(Comment: I have found nothing that convinces me that Ahmadinejad is an anti-Semite, although I could be wrong. He does, however, object strongly to the ongoing occupation and expansion of settlements in the West Bank.

It is quite clear that the media has decided to demonize him by portraying him as an anti-Semite and a threat to Israel. Readers will have to judge for themselves whether the accusations are accurate or part of a larger campaign to draw the country into another war

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