Wednesday, May 24, 2006

A Fantasy Letter to Ahmadinejad

Note: as usual, all text in blockquote form is NOT MINE. Give credit where credit is due.

A week or so ago, Pres. Ahmadinejad of Iran sent a letter to President Bush (the gist of it is here. He called on him to stop being such a bad Christian and convert to Islam (Not sure how those are compatible . . . --ed.) or face destruction via The Wrath of Allah®.

My initial reaction was an eyeroll and a muttered "Whatev, dude." Then I found out that such letters (he also sent one to a standard precursor to attack by the armies of the caliphate. Seems they like to give their victims a chance to convert and surrender before they come sweeping down like a wolf on the fold (Name the reference and win a prize!) (There is no prize. --ed.).

America has an established mode for responding to demands of this kind. I, for one, find it elegant in its simplicity. Sometimes, however, a more . . . nuanced reply is called for. Therefore, I present Michael Leeden's presentation of the letter I would most like to see actually get written by an American president. I copying the whole thing here because it's just that good.

Letter to Ahmadinejad [Michael Ledeen]

I just got this from a former Reagan-administration official, and of the genre it's by far the best I've seen. Ah, the good old days, when our leaders had a sense of humor and didn't mind making fun of our enemies...

Dear President Ahmadinejad,

Please forgive this tardy response to your letter of early May. We did not reply at first because we doubted the letter’s authenticity. We suspected that someone was trying to play a trick on you. The discourse, you must admit, is unusual for a communication between heads of state. However, now that you have openly admitted that the letter is yours, I will respond.

Thank you for your invitation to accept Islam. As you know, I am a Christian. Throughout your letter you accuse me of being a bad Christian, which leaves me puzzled as to why you think I might make a good Muslim. However, before you proselytize outside your own country, you might want to address the condition of the Islamic faith in Iran.

I am genuinely sorry to hear that so many Iranians, especially the young, have lost their faith because of their profound disillusionment with theocratic clerical rule. Apparently, there is no way for them to distinguish between their religion and your rule. That is understandable since you claim there is none, that your authority comes directly from God and you are ruling in his name. It is no wonder you disdain “liberalism and Western style democracy.” Under it, you would be answerable not only to God, but to the Iranian people, to whom God gave certain “unalienable Rights” that you and the mullahs have chosen to ignore. How ironic that, in the name of God, you deny your people’s God-given rights.

When young Iranians survey the way in which the clerical regime has enriched itself and impoverished the country, and enforced its rule with such harshness, what are they to think of this “God” who rules over them in this way? As a result, they abandon their religion and, unfortunately, many turn to drugs.

Your answer to the abuses under which the Iranian people live is nuclear “power.” Since your country is so richly endowed in oil and natural gas reserves, this is a strange answer. In fact, you so often denounce “lies” in your letter, I am surprised you would engage in such a whopper yourself. No country has conducted a 20-year clandestine program to develop nuclear power for peaceful domestic uses. The reason is that it is perfectly legal to do so in the open. In fact, we would support your nuclear power program, if that is what it was. However, as everyone outside of Cuba, Syria and Belarus knows, you are developing nuclear weapons.

You know that we know you are doing this. In fact, you deliberately exacerbate the free world’s worries with your continued exhortations about wiping Israel off the map. I understand that your policy of confrontation helps you to consolidate your domestic power and that is why you generate so much tension. The more likely you can make it seem that Iran will be attacked from the West, the more Iranians will rally around you. You provoke us. We respond. You get stronger. Since the Iranian people will soon realize we have no intention of attacking them, they will soon weary of this artificial hysteria and begin to wonder why your government fails to provide even the most basic necessities.

We also understand the real reason you want nuclear weapons. Of course, you have the dream of being the regional hegemon, and the prospect of your having nuclear weapons already terrifies your neighbors. But you also want them for the same reason as North Korea. Once you possess nuclear weapons, you believe you will be immune, as is North Korea, from external pressure for domestic political reform. You can tell the world to take a hike and to leave you in peace to oppress your own people. This is why Iranians who wish to see a return to genuine democratic, constitutional order despair at the thought of your succeeding. They know they will be finished, that no one will then dare speak up on their behalf.

So this is not really about nuclear weapons; it is about the rights of the Iranian people – your desire to take them away, and our desire to see them respected. We don’t worry about Great Britain, or France, or now India, having nuclear weapons, because they are democracies; they are founded on the “unalienable Rights” of their peoples. People who are free to exercise those rights seldom seek to take them from others. We, and the rest of the world, are worried because of the nature of your regime, because you deny you own people its rights. Therefore, we take you seriously when you say you will take rights from others – most especially their unalienable right to life – by “wiping them off the map,” and we see you seeking to obtain the means to do this.

We do not think the Iranian people are going to let you get away with this. They see their religion prostituted to power and their great culture traduced by fanatic ideologues. We are on their side.

Thanks for writing.


George W. Bush

P.S. I attach a copy of the Declaration of Independence.

"The bolt of Tash falls from above!"

"Does it get caught on a hook halfway down?"

Friday, May 05, 2006

Fun with headlines

Unintentionally humorous headline of the day: "Mining remains a dangerous job." No, really? I never would've guessed. There's just something about digging hundreds and thousands of feet into solid rock to plant explosives that screams "OSHA-friendly job, right here!"

Oh, and the other thing about that headline? Someone got paid to come up with that. Vive le obvious!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


I had intended to use this week to make up for all the blogging I missed while I was busy with finishing up my classes. Unfortunately, an elephant has decided to sit on my chest for the next 7 to 10 days, and I am unable to do much of anything except sit on the couch with the remote and hack up bits of my lungs and other internal organs. The health center gave me an antibiotic and I picked up some canned soup at Wal-Mart, but I probably won't be up and doing much until the weekend. That's my story, and I'm *cough* *hack* *sniffle* *cough* sticking to it.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Savages. Bloody savages.

I've blogged before about the Muslim culture's tendency to take everything personally. If you reduce the world down to office politics, Dar al-Islam is the woman who borrows your stapler without asking, chips her nail on it, and slashes your tires because you ruined her manicure. She's also the one who hates men and constantly rides her male coworkers with threats of sexual harrassment charges, even if all they said was "That's a nice perfume" or "My girlfriend was all crazy last weekend." And God Forbid you accidentally "disrespect" her things, because she'll ambush you after hours and try to shove you down an elevator shaft. In short, she's convinced that the universe revolves around her and that everyone else is out to get her, and she's prone to gross overreaction and personal retaliation.

Why do I bring this up? This story. If you can't follow the link or don't have time to read it, it goes something like this: at a school in Morocco, a six-year-old girl accidentally stepped on the imam/teacher's prayer rug. So he struck her in the face, bruising her eyes and possibly breaking her nose. She's six years old!

A rational, caring person would have taken the little girl aside, gently pointed out her error and showed her how to avoid it. You don't beat a child who isn't even old enough to realize her mistake without help. And for the record, I'm not one of those touchy-feely types that doesn't believe in corporal punishment. I just believe that it should be saved for really dire circumstances, like if the child takes a life-threatening risk or dents the car or something like that. And children should never, ever, ever be struck in anger. Not ever.

Via Isaac Schrodinger, who has many other harrowing tales of his own experiences growing up in Pakistan. He's currently applying for asylum in Canada, so you might want to send him an email or leave a supportive comment. Someone in his position needs all the positive help he can get.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Lookee what I did!

Today marks the start of my first real (I mean serious, as in other than the fantasy trilogy I've been working on since high school) writing project: The Scenic Route. Basically, I'm going to write one 500-word column a week for the next year, and use those columns to catalogue my last (read: 5th) year of college. It's going to be a bit more formal that this blog (which I'll still post at, never fear), and if nothing else I should get some good writing samples out of it. I've never been able to use this blog because of its political content, so hopefully the other blog can give me some usable clips.

Anyhow, go and read it at your leisure. It'll be about a week before there's another update. Have fun!