Yesterday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad went to Columbia University and asked Israel to bomb his country. At least that’s how it sounded to me. Meanwhile, the President of Columbia hurled personal insults at the leader of a soon-to-be-nuclear power and strengthened their reasons for wanting us dead. I wonder if those guys had tense conversations with their wives later that night.
Wife: “Mahmoud, you flaming elf turd, did you just give our enemies political cover to annihilate our country?”
Amadinejad: “Okay, so sometimes I say the wrong thing at the wrong time. Big deal. How about coming over here and giving me some scarf.”
And who was the smartest person involved in yesterday’s events? George Bush. Criticize him all you want, but sometimes even a blind squirrel finds a nut. He shrugged off the whole controversy about Ahmadinejad’s visit to Columbia and let the Iranian President shoot himself in the foot. Well played.
The most entertaining part of Ahmadinejad’s speech is trying to figure out what the Hell is happening in his tiny bearded skull. The things he says that sound crazy, stupid, or ignorant can also be interpreted as routine political talk. In this country, we expect our politicians to say whatever plays well with voters, no matter how preposterous. You can never be sure what professional liars are thinking. So here are my best guesses about Ahmadinejad.
1. Ahmadinejad said Iran doesn’t have gay people. There is zero chance he believes that. He just wanted to change the subject. I interpret that as acknowledgment that Iran is executing homosexuals. (I don’t approve of that, in case you wondered.)
2. Ahmadinejad acknowledged that the holocaust happened, but thinks it is unfair that the holocaust skeptics in Europe are prosecuted whereas skeptics on other issues are not. I believe that’s his true opinion now, whether or not he was a holocaust denier in the past. If he didn’t believe the holocaust happened, he’d have no reason to stop denying it now while he’s openly skeptical about the cause of 9-11.
3. I think Ahmadinejad is genuinely skeptical that Bin Laden accomplished 9-11 all by himself. I don’t think it’s crazy to ask whether some dark forces in the U.S. and Israel had the means and the warped motive to help with the logistics, even if only in some small support way. Ahmadinejad lives in a country whose government was once overthrown by the U.S., so I can understand him being genuinely skeptical. And it plays well back home.
4. Ahmadinejad didn’t respond directly to questions about wanting Israel wiped off the map. But he said Iran isn’t building nuclear weapons and has no need for them. In other words, he ruled out nuking Israel. I believe the leadership in Iran isn’t collectively crazy enough to nuke Israel. And I don’t think Ahmadinejad knows of any other realistic way to wipe Israel off the map. It sounds like politics and wishful thinking to me.
5. I think Ahmadinejad is lying when he says Iran isn’t building nuclear weapons. They have the means and the motive (defense). It’s in their best interest to have nukes, and they always have the option to give them up, and allow inspectors, if America masses troops on the border.
While I think it’s highly unlikely that Iran would ever nuke Israel, either directly or by proxy, the odds are not zero. In my opinion, Ahmadinejad’s speech at Columbia, plus Iran’s support for Hezbollah give Israel a legitimate reason to attack Iran in self defense. I think Ahmadinejad knows that, and is taking a calculated risk that any attack on Iran would be limited in nature and cause Israel to lose international support.
Likewise, Ahmadinejad didn't deny Iran is helping Iraqi insurgents kill Americans. That's a legitimate reason for the United States to support an attack on Iran. It's a separate question as to whether an attack on Iran is in America's best interest.
I wasn’t planning to blog on this topic, but my hit count went through the roof yesterday thanks to the various groups mustering their forces of darkness to misinterpret what I wrote and screech at me. (Thank you!)