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Critical Response to Ahmadinejad's Letter

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From a post-modern apologist

Upon a thorough examination of the Iranian leader's epistle to the Americans, I am disappointed by the racially divisive language, contradictory tone and content of the letter. Indeed, even the timing of its release is suspect, as though Ahmadinejad were seeing the U.S. mid-term election results as a sign of weakness in American foreign policy in the Middle East in general and with Iran in particular. I want to take this opportunity to expose some of the more blantant contradictions that leave the reader seriously doubting the letter's sincerity.

The introductory sentence, a hefty 147 words consisting of ethnocentric, geopolitical rhetoric, sets the tone as heavily critical of the current United States' administration. Obviously this letter is not meant for supporters of the Bush administration's policies but rather for his detractors, whom the Iranian president deems worthy of manipulating for purposes not overtly stated but inherently understood. If not for the letter's use of linguistic overstatement and lack of subtlety, its insidious intent may have been less obvious to the less critical reader, for even the average American is able to decipher the feebly hidden intent of Ahmadinejad's words.

Following this, the letter goes on to proclaim the "dignity and exalted worth of all human beings," yet apparently this magnanimity of spirit is not extended to the "Zionists" of Israel, whom Ahmadinejad calls "occupiers" and "infamous aggressors" in the Palestinian region. And while the Iranian leader purports that Jews have "driven millions of the inhabitants of Palestine out of their homes," many of whom "have died in the Diaspora and in refugee camps," he never once embarks upon a reasoned explanation for Israeli retaliatory actions by indicting Hezoballah, a known terrorist group to whom the Iranians, ironically, lend monetary and military support. In fact, his disdain for the Israelis permeates the letter, undermining any words which may have otherwise been perceived as conciliatory and bridge-building.

Additionally, although Ahmadinejad's letter on the surface says that Iran supports "human ideals such as compassion" and "empathy" as well as "defending the innocent and the weak against oppressors and bullies," where were these values during the Iran hostage crisis and the eight year Iran-Iraq war? During the former, we were historically supporters of Iran until the events which led up to this incident, while during the latter Iran committed aggregious acts of aggression against their neighbor. Apparently not "all nations will live a true life in a climate replete with love, compassion and fraternity" as exhibited in both their past and present words and deeds.

And what of the "deceit, lies and distortion" which Ahmadinejad rails against in his letter? Does Iran's denial that it is creating fissionable nuclear material for the purpose of creating weapons of mass destruction fall under some other category? Admittedly, while the Bush administration was calculating its war effort against an otherwise emasculated and ineffectual Iraqi dictator, nations such as North Korea and Iran were allowed to actively pursue their nuclear weapons program unabated and unobstructed, due in part to faulty intelligence and the administration's obsessive-compulsive focus on Iraq. Nonetheless, Ahmadinejas's continued denial of his country's nuclear weapon ambitions is, at the very least, hypocrisy, while at the worst, it is reminiscient of 1938 Nazi Germany before they propelled the entire world in to armed conflict.

I am interested, too, in understanding exactly when Hurricane Katrina and the American economy became the concern of our Islamic counterparts in Iran? The very fact that these two issues are raised - albeit marginally - near the letter's conclusion compels me to suspect them as arbitrarily nonsensical and specious. They appear, to me, to be included for the sole purpose of publicly embarassing the Bush administration and drawing attention away from the real issue at heart, namely the Iranian nuclear ambitions.

Finally, if Ahmadinejad's quote from the qur'an is true, then there remains an enigmatic paradox at the letter's close, for how can the "US governing establishment . . . choose irreversible paths" if indeed "Your Lord, alone, creates and chooses as He will, and others have no part in His choice?" According to his logic, isn't the United States, in effect, actually doing god's will since allah does all of the choosing? If not, then I challenge the Iranian president to explain just exactly how our administration may "choose" a path of alleged wrongdoing if we have "no part" in god's "choice?" The fact that we are even acting in the Middle East is self-contradictory evidence if one presupposes that god chooses, not us. Such linguistic aporia is the result of a break down in logic, as when one attempts to mesh the transcendent concept of divine predeterminism with what we recognize as tangible, quantifiable, material reality.

In effect, the Iranian leader has produced a letter filled with divisive language, contradictory tone and content, a document more apt to attract skepticism from the world community and eventually find itself relegated to obsolecence by future historians. I challenge Ahmadinejad, too, that if he wants to communicate a real and lasting message of "Justice and Truth," then perhaps he should exemplify such behavior in his own nation's actions rather than in words alone. The terrible "truth" is, I fear, not one which we in the West are prepared to face anytime soon.

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