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
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
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
How “can one justify these undeniable contradictions”,
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
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
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
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
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
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
“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
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
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