Apologizing for Ahmadinejad
“Assume that the Iranians are within measurable distance of nuclear status. Appearances sometimes to the contrary, they are not mad—or not clinically insane in the way that Saddam Hussein was and Kim Jong-il is. The recent fuss about the obliteration of Israel is largely bullshit: Ayatollah Khomeini’s call for this has been intoned pedantically and routinely ever since he first uttered it, and it only got attention this year because of the new phenomenon of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the scrofulous engineer who acts the part of civilian president for his clerical bosses. These people (who once bought weapons from Israel via Oliver North in order to fight Saddam Hussein) are cynical and corrupt. They know as well as you do what would happen if they tried to nuke Israel or the United States. They want the bomb as insurance against invasion and as a weapon of strategic ambiguity to shore up their position in the region.”
Send Weldon Berger money, and read him on Cole/Hitchens. Nails it.
‘ Cole, on the other hand, has written that “I personally despise everything Ahmadinejad stands for” (April 23, 2006, published May 2); that Ahmadinejad “has been particularly stupid in his pronouncements on Israel” (December 30, 2005); that Ahmadinejad “stole the Iranian election” (October 27, 2005); that Ahmadinejad’s remarks on the Holocaust reflect a “wilfull ignorance on a Himalayan scale” (January 4, 2006); that “Ahmadinejad is a very bad character, with a long history of essentially fascist activity in suppressing points of view other than those of the hardline Khomeinists” (June 18, 2005).
So let’s review our apologist scorecard. Hitchens on Ahmadinejad: “scrofulous.” Cole on Ahmadinejad: “despicable, ignorant, thieving, stupid, fascist.” The one point on which they agree, or did as recently as March of this year when Hitchens indicted Ahmadinejad for lymphatic excess, is that Ahmadinejad and Iran pose no serious threat to Israel or the US, and that a US attack on Iran would be at least stupid and probably disastrous. ‘