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“We Ought to Bomb Your Nuclear Facilities to Dust”

Dear President Ahmadinejad, Your recently arrived letter to “the American People” will get sympathy juices going among some of our journalists and politicians. You invoke honored buzzwords such as “human dignity” and “compassion,” and you talk about “respect for the … Read More

By / January 24, 2007
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Dear President Ahmadinejad,

Your recently arrived letter to “the American People” will get sympathy juices going among some of our journalists and politicians. You invoke honored buzzwords such as “human dignity” and “compassion,” and you talk about “respect for the rights of the human being.” In so doing you link yourself to nice people everywhere.

You are distinguished from nice people, however, by your apparent intent to develop atomic weapons for offensive use. You also lavish support on Islamic terrorists, deny the Nazi murder of European Jewry, and commit yourself to the destruction of “the Zionist entity.” Still, you are skillful with the noble buzzwords. Many will be persuaded.

Personally, I doubt we have anything to gain from a dialogue with you. Better that we bomb your nuclear facilities to dust, provided this is not part of a war to force American civics lessons upon your society.

I’m skeptical about our correspondence in part because you revive a suspicious precedent—going back to Stalin, Castro, and other unpleasant tyrants—of appealing to “people” while pointedly ignoring their elected government. Yet in view of the manipulated election that you won last year, it is doubtful that you speak for a majority of your nation. Your claim to be heading up a people-to-people movement may still be taken seriously at Elizabethtown College, where I am a professor and which features a “Global Citizenship Center.” But it will be mocked wherever serious people congregate.

Your predictable linking of our poor relations with you and other Muslim states to
the lingering Palestinian problem is further evidence of your bad faith. You expect us to believe that if the Israelis can be made to give the Palestinians whatever their leaders want, all obstacles to international peace will be removed. But of course most of the tumultuous strife in Muslim countries has nothing to do with Israel, no matter how compulsively Zionist aggression is invoked in order to justify taking sides in local bloodbaths.

Struggles in the Middle East between secular nationalists and Islamicists, Shiites and Sunnis, and Turks and Kurds would still be raging even if the “Zionist entity” had never existed. Nor will the strife-ridden Middle Eastern landscape be softened if Hamas and Hezbollah are successful in eliminating Israel.

The Israelis will never sign a “peace agreement” that will not be observed and that may endanger their existence. Peace requires a Palestinian state strong enough to enforce treaties. This does not mean a democratic Palestine, infused with Wilsonian values—the non-solution pushed by neoconservatives in the national press—but rather a Palestinian government with a monopoly on violence in its own territory.

You have done nothing to promote this. Instead, you have blathered about the eradication of Israel, thereby delegitimating any possible settlement between the Israelis and Palestinians. “Mutual understanding” must be less dear to you than you claim.

Finally, it seems pointless to correspond with you given that you belong in a loony bin. Of course, you are hardly the only national leader of whom this is true. When I hear European heads of state argue that the flood of Islamic militants into their countries poses less of a danger than white Christian intolerance, I am reminded that you do not stand out as a uniquely delusional world figure. But you are mad all the same.

So I believe that the “noble American people” should proceed as though you had never written your bizarre letter to us. I recall receiving, when I was a kid, similar appeals from the geriatric despots running the Soviet Union. Except for the useful idiots who never found anything to criticize about Communist tyranny, no one paid much attention. Our mass indifference was appropriate, and I hope your own letter meets the same reaction. You are not the first unhinged foreign dignitary to disturb the American people with his prattlings, nor will you be the last.

Yours, Paul Gottfried

Next: "Your Hate for Everything I am Brings Darkness to My World"

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