September 21, 2007
Don’t Let Ahmadinejad Speak! He’ll Break the Spell

In a recent post, Josh Marshall mentions discussions with his readers about reactions to the President of Iran’s request to visit Ground Zero.

Apparently most readers felt that we shouldn’t allow him the propaganda victory. Josh asks if he’s alone in supporting the idea that we should ignore him, that we’re bigger than that. “Why should we care what he says?” is Josh’s view, and I think there’s a lot to that.

In fact, I’d go beyond that to say that we should escort him there, and give him access to the press. Make sure he gets a good view of our gaping national wound.

If we were strong and proud and sure of ourselves, that’s what we’d do. In fact, we’re a nation scared stiff, not unlike our Congressional representatives, strutting and puffing ourselves up but secretly afraid that we’re about to lose it all. We’ve got an incurious faith-based windshield cowboy at our head, our general’s an ass-kissing little chickenshit, and most of the rest of us watch the soap opera on TV, seemingly unaffected except that our economy is ruined as our liberties disappear and our representatives cower.

Ironically, here’s where the argument against letting Ahmadinejad make a propaganda point holds up best. If we allow him to see our national wound, for which some of us seem to bear him ill will, what’s to keep him from pointing to one of Iran’s most grievous wounds, the destruction of the elected government of Mossadeq and its replacement with the brutal Shah and his secret police? And where did Savak learn its “interrogation” techniques?

A case can be made that the United States has wounded Iran more than Iran has wounded us. And we don’t want to think about that. That’s the propaganda victory that would hurt, because it would break the spell of American exceptionalism, which we’ve tried so hard to re-weave after the revelations of Abu Ghraib.

We used to be brave because we were sure we were good. Lots of times we weren’t, but we were sure we were anyway. Now we know we’re not, and we’re frightened.


Posted by Chuck Dupree at September 21, 2007 07:29 PM
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"Now we know we're not, and we're frightened." I like it, I like it.

Posted by: Aitch Jay on September 21, 2007 7:49 PM

I hope that we know we're not. Do we? If only ..IF ONLY!,this swaggering lying bullshit would come to an end so that a little truth could shine through. If only there had been truthful reporting all along. Do all countries lie about their past(s)? I think that the world has all along viewed us with so much hope -- that this country would be different. My husband (English) says that everyone in the world used to want to come here. A mythical place. Our undoing has been our own hubris and lies.

You express this dichotemy well.

Posted by: dreaminginthedeepsouth on September 22, 2007 5:36 PM

I am not surprised when we don't know our own history. Though A. is a madman and, I think, dangerous, he didn't come out of nowhere. We created the Shah and the political situation which gave rise to Islamic extremeists. Let's just get real about that, and still denounce this idiot.

Posted by: tara dharma on September 26, 2007 7:49 PM
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