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September 25th, 2007, 20:43
Originally Posted by Squeek View Post
That's my point exactly.
Sorry, you've completely lost me here. Which facts am I (or Ahmadinejad, for that matter) challenging? Certainly not the Holocaust (OK, I can't speak for Ahmadinejad *for certain* — but I'm certainly not.)
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September 25th, 2007, 20:48
OK. Let's leave it at that.
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September 25th, 2007, 21:23
Whatever.

You've certainly chosen your avatar well, though — going "squeak" and then running back into the shadows.
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September 25th, 2007, 23:55
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
You most certainly were, with your Pearl Harbor/Nazi/Japanese official analogy — it's only an analogy if Ahmadinejad represents the people responsible for 9/11 the same way that a Nazi or Japanese official would have represented the people responsible for Pearl Harbor.
It is an analogy pure and simple:a 'similarity between like features of two things, on which a comparison may be based.'

You just didn't grasp what I was trying to compare in your rush to judgment. It's not "only an analogy" if I'm putting the pawns into specific places—it is equally an analogy if I'm comparing the feelings and reactions to the WTC bombing to the REACTION to Pearl Harbor.

I deliberately said I was NOT comparing it mote by mote with WWII. I was trying to think of a way to express the mood and feelings of things-being female —and didn't even consider the Iran=Japan written in stone aspect.

But I will meet you half way and agree that there is a merging of the bad guys and a simplification of who is at fault. It's very hard to pick out who is and who isn't al Qaida. Are you saying that Ahmadinejad was sincere? That no one who isn't a brainwashed American could doubt that he is genuinely sorry for what happened? That he loves our country and wants to be pals? If so, you are being perverse and contradictory. He is identified with the amorphous 'enemy' not only because he is a brown guy with a Koran but because he is a mouthy brown guy and that is where his statements would seem to put him. And no, I can't read his statements in Farsi either—but I think you catch my drift.

No, I won't cut you some slack…. I'm not going to stop pointing out your unconscious assumptions when I see them because of that. You're tough; you can take it.
Yes I can. And so can you. I hope you caught your own unconscious assumption in the example above.

You want to hold America accountable for the ills of the world and that's fine, but there are many players in the game of war, profiteering and world oppression. The country is composed of individuals, it's huge, it has no cohesive single ethnic base anymore, and the reins of power are not that easy to grab. I understand that you want to goad people into examining their responsibility to themselves and the rest of the world, but you seem to think we have super powers denied other humans. That we have to be smarter, cleaner and better because we're the flavor-of-the-month civilization wise. I think history shows the opposite is true.

… However, I do believe that individuals are capable of behaving rationally, and that people in positions of power have the moral obligation to do so, to the best of their ability and within the bounds of possibility.
Individuals are indeed capable of behaving rationally, but how seldom they do! I don't think this is confined to America.

I wish we had a less materialistic culture going on, I wish my generation hadn't been stripped of the best leaders we had and left with puppets, I wish that we could be as clear sighted and unified as we need to be, but I accept that this country is no less vulnerable to the venal faults of humanity than any other. In fact, the affluence draws out the scavengers and predators.

What's more, the sentiment you're describing didn't appear from thin air: it's been very consciously built up through manipulation by *your* political machine.
Just like Pearl Harbor? No argument, that's how propaganda machines are fueled. Does your country not have one? If so, you're very fortunate.

They could have taken an entirely different approach, but they didn't — and ol' Mahmoud is playing you guys like a violin.
You know, the whole visit puzzles me. I don't like to think in terms of conspiracies, Bohemian Groves and New World Orders, but I really don't see how anything positive for anybody on "our side" was served by this.

'Kay bye—my head hurts.

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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September 26th, 2007, 00:44
Originally Posted by magerette View Post
It is an analogy pure and simple:a 'similarity between like features of two things, on which a comparison may be based.'
But there *is* no similarity here — or, rather, the similarity is a false one. Forbidding Ahmadinejad from Ground Zero is like forbidding Stalin from Pearl Harbor — it only makes sense if you believe that Tojo and Stalin / Ahmadinejad and bin Laden are one and the same!

You just didn't grasp what I was trying to compare in your rush to judgment. It's not "only an analogy" if I'm putting the pawns into specific places—it is equally an analogy if I'm comparing the feelings and reactions to the WTC bombing to the REACTION to Pearl Harbor.
Ah, I see. So you were actually commenting on the way the American public has been manipulated into conflating A and b-L, and therefore experience the same emotional reaction from either of them visiting Ground Zero?

But I will meet you half way and agree that there is a merging of the bad guys and a simplification of who is at fault. It's very hard to pick out who is and who isn't al Qaida.
But it wouldn't be, if you'd just bother getting a tiny bit educated on the people you're actually up against. *That's* my problem with you here.

Are you saying that Ahmadinejad was sincere? That no one who isn't a brainwashed American could doubt that he is genuinely sorry for what happened? That he loves our country and wants to be pals? If so, you are being perverse and contradictory. He is identified with the amorphous 'enemy' not only because he is a brown guy with a Koran but because he is a mouthy brown guy and that is where his statements would seem to put him. And no, I can't read his statements in Farsi either—but I think you catch my drift.
Oh, he certainly doesn't love your country — quite the contrary. But I do have a feeling he bears little ill will towards you as a people. I'm sure he'd welcome you with open arms if you decided to convert to Shi'ite Islam.


Yes I can. And so can you. I hope you caught your own unconscious assumption in the example above.
How could I, if it's unconscious?

You want to hold America accountable for the ills of the world and that's fine, but there are many players in the game of war, profiteering and world oppression. The country is composed of individuals, it's huge, it has no cohesive single ethnic base anymore, and the reins of power are not that easy to grab. I understand that you want to goad people into examining their responsibility to themselves and the rest of the world, but you seem to think we have super powers denied other humans. That we have to be smarter, cleaner and better because we're the flavor-of-the-month civilization wise. I think history shows the opposite is true.
Not exactly, but I would like it if you managed to get halfway to the level of awareness of the external world that most other civilized countries have attained. As in, being able to place your damn country on a map. (OK, only one out of five Americans polled can't do that, but still.)

Point being — I believe that most (almost all) of the lethal damage America has inflicted on the world is due to simple ignorance rather than malice. What drives me up the wall is that *still* — six years into the "Global War on Terror" — so very few of you, general public, media, and leadership included, are the least bit interested in educating yourself. That's not just dumb, it's derelict.

And believe me, there you *are* behind the rest of the world, badly.

Just like Pearl Harbor? No argument, that's how propaganda machines are fueled. Does your country not have one? If so, you're very fortunate.
Last I counted, my country has fought twenty-seven wars and lost every single one. We have no shortage of Pearl Harbors. (I recall reading a newspaper article about a village where everyone is descended from the same guy — every other male had gone off to war and not come back, so they took him from house to house to sire children to repopulate the place. He had stayed back because he was missing one leg.)

You know, the whole visit puzzles me. I don't like to think in terms of conspiracies, Bohemian Groves and New World Orders, but I really don't see how anything positive for anybody on "our side" was served by this.
That's because it wasn't. As stated, it was a win-win play for Ahmadinejad. The best you could've done is limit the damage (I think — although it's quite possible that someone could've come up with a really clever riposte.)

But, to hammer again at my original point — you didn't. You danced to his tune to the very last note. That did not do anyone on your side any good — nor my side either. It's only his side that profited.
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September 26th, 2007, 02:20
mr iran isn't the problem of the future and more than bush is the problem of the present. besides the fact that the two are beddie eyed baffoons, they are both pretty worthless. its the hype machine behind both that have and will be the problems. mr iran suffers from even more of a low popularity rating than bush. on top of which he is not "the commander in chief" of iran unlike bush and has limited other power. also unless the us or israel provoke iran by striking them first it is unlikely mr iran will be re-elected in 2 years time. its going to be a rough next few years though and hopefully dick cheneys robotic implants fail and he is unable to see through all he would like to happen.
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September 26th, 2007, 02:24
Actually, you need to get your eyes off Iran and onto Syria, that's where I see this conflict heading. The potential for a Syria/Israel blowup should not be discounted!!

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September 26th, 2007, 09:10
Originally Posted by curiously undead View Post
mr iran isn't the problem of the future and more than bush is the problem of the present. besides the fact that the two are beddie eyed baffoons, they are both pretty worthless. its the hype machine behind both that have and will be the problems. mr iran suffers from even more of a low popularity rating than bush. on top of which he is not "the commander in chief" of iran unlike bush and has limited other power. also unless the us or israel provoke iran by striking them first it is unlikely mr iran will be re-elected in 2 years time. its going to be a rough next few years though and hopefully dick cheneys robotic implants fail and he is unable to see through all he would like to happen.
That strikes me as wishful thinking.
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September 26th, 2007, 09:12
Originally Posted by Corwin View Post
Actually, you need to get your eyes off Iran and onto Syria, that's where I see this conflict heading. The potential for a Syria/Israel blowup should not be discounted!!
Perhaps not, but I kiiinda doubt it. Israel attacking Syria would be like a knight on horseback charging a bog; Syria attacking Israel would be like a bog charging a knight on horseback. The former is obviously a bad idea (even if the knight carries a shovel), the latter isn't physically possible.
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September 26th, 2007, 13:23
Stupid treatment of Ahmadinejad at Columbia. Calling him a dictator before the discussion even starts is not just bad PR vs the outside world, but factually incorrect and displays ignorance. If there is a dictator in Iran it'd be Ayatollah Khamenei. They should just have let him put his foot in his mouth with more statements such as "there are no gays in Iran"… Rude and outright ignorant hosts only play into his hands.

Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
That strikes me as wishful thinking.
What part of it? Ahmadinejad has rather limited power, and his approval ratings are pretty crap atm. He was voted in at least as much on a populist economic agenda as on his foreign policy, and as many populists coming to power he found himself in a bit of a bind once expected to actually do anything. And the person Ahmadinejad is rather overrated, as any Iranian president has to deal with the guardian council and its supreme leader the Ayatollah, who practically have veto power.

The question is whether he'll be replaced by a Mullah man (like Rafsanjani) or by a "reformer" who hasnt been vetted out from the candidate list by the council… And whether it would make a difference (the mullah man would probably head a more effective government). I suspect it would be too much of a loss of face for any Iranian leader to call off their nuclear program, and how sensitive are the supporters of Hezbollah and various Iraqi groups to government directives? Are the intelligence services more reliable and obedient than Pakistan's ISI (that nation's nukes probably run a bigger risk of ending up in the wrong hands).
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September 26th, 2007, 20:25
The thing with the Iranian system is that yes, the president is pretty ineffective if he's pulling in the opposite direction from the Council of Guardians (as happened during Khatami): depending on his mandate, he may be just strong enough to put some limits on the Council's freedom of movement. (The opportunity we lost with Khatami is a topic for a whole another thread.)

But if he's pulling in the *same* direction, the two together can be a potent force. I am assuming that this is the case with Ahmadinejad — that he is the populist face of the Council in a sense. (I could be wrong about it of course — the Council plays its cards notoriously close to its chest.)

Therein lies his danger: if he can keep the volatile 18-25 year old male demographic directing its energies against the US and the West rather than the system while implementing the guidelines set by a Council that has decided to take a hard line, he could be trouble.

Re the Hezzies and the Iraqi militias: I don't think they take directives from the Iranian government. However, Iranian groups can exert a great deal of influence over them nevertheless, simply by rewarding them for doing what they want (as well as providing concrete material, logistical, and training assistance for that), and withholding those rewards when they don't. As long as their interests are aligned, the relationship will be smooth; however, if their interests diverge, things could get interesting.

Which intelligence services were you referring to, btw? The Iranian ones? There (and I believe in Pakistan as well, certainly in Syria) the services are to a great degree independent centers of power. Things could change rather quickly if the internal balance of power in any of these countries shifts. (As an aside, IMO we should be trying to play that game, rather than tarring everyone with the same brush.)
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September 26th, 2007, 21:31
CNN will broadcast an interview tonight at 10:00pm Eastern Time that Christiane Amanpour recently had with Ahmadinejad.

It will be interesting to see if Ahmadinejad will engage Amanpour over his views of the Holocaust and other issues, the same ones Columbia University president Lee Bollinger assailed as "ridiculous" and "either brazenly provocative or astonishingly uneducated."

IMO, it was completely appropriate for Bollinger, the president of the university, to have confronted Ahmadinejad, Iran's president, about the issues he was invited to address, pointing out factual discrepancies like the Holocaust being the most documented event in human history, and encouraging him to show "intellectual courage" with his comments. Had Ahmadinejad stepped up to that challenge, Ahmadinejad's speech would have been more valuable, and progress may even have been made.

It's Amanpour's job to challenge and encourage Ahmadinejad, and I expect her to do just that. I also expect Ahmadinejad to find more "intellectual courage" this time, probably not enough to provide genuine responses, but enough to bandy words with her the same way some would bandy them here.

Bollinger characterized that approach as "dangerous propaganda" for "the illiterate and ignorant." It always just sounds stupid to me. Thankfully, I’m not a university president or a reporter, and so I don’t have to have those conversations.
Last edited by Squeek; September 26th, 2007 at 21:38.
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September 27th, 2007, 00:17
Although I'm not really on board with PJ's outlook, I'll agree that Bollinger is looking more and more like a complete tool. The guy's shot right thru "pompous" and on to "baffoon". For such a self-proclaimed genius, Ahm-whatever played him like a penny whistle.

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September 27th, 2007, 01:21
Originally Posted by dteowner View Post
Although I'm not really on board with PJ's outlook, I'll agree that Bollinger is looking more and more like a complete tool. The guy's shot right thru "pompous" and on to "baffoon". For such a self-proclaimed genius, Ahm-whatever played him like a penny whistle.
All I have to say to that is Ahmedinejad was the punchline of jokes all over American TV yesterday and not Bollinger. Not just any jokes, either. He's being referred to as some kind of a nut.

I just heard that Ahmadinejad cancelled his CNN interview but later rescheduled, limiting it to a half hour. But when he showed up, he said he would only answer one question. Amanpour asked about his reception at the university, and he said he thought it must have been influenced by political pressure.

I suppose one could make the argument that he played her like a penny whistle too, but I don't see it. Ahmadinejad is acting in his country's and his own best interest, and that's what presidents do. It's par for the course.

Ahmadinejad cancelled his CNN interview, because he's bright enough to see what's staring him right in the face: There is simply no good reason for him to be coddled over here. Nor is there any good reason to coddle Iran for that matter.

There's just no getting around the fact that Iran is playing by rules that are centuries backward and often criminal by today's world standards. Ahmadinejad can't make sense out of it over here, and he only looks foolish when he tries.
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September 27th, 2007, 14:49
Pre-emptive rudeness is not the sign of genius and makes Ahm-whatever look like the civilized one, which is why I'm saying he got played (just as PJ points out). Based on other public statements he's made from Iran (calling for the destruction of both Israel and America), I can't say I buy into PJ's thought that we could all sit down with Ahm-whatever and have a Friday poker night. The guy's a screwball, even if he is intelligent and manipulative.

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September 27th, 2007, 17:22
Originally Posted by dteowner View Post
Pre-emptive rudeness is not the sign of genius and makes Ahm-whatever look like the civilized one, which is why I'm saying he got played (just as PJ points out). Based on other public statements he's made from Iran (calling for the destruction of both Israel and America), I can't say I buy into PJ's thought that we could all sit down with Ahm-whatever and have a Friday poker night. The guy's a screwball, even if he is intelligent and manipulative.
Where exactly did I say that "we could all sit down with Ahm-whatever and have a Friday poker night?" For the record, I detest the little monkey, and would much rather stab him in the face than play poker with him.

But that doesn't mean I think he's a harmless buffoon.
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September 27th, 2007, 17:26
Rude is rude, and we all know it’s not nice. But let's remember who we're talking about first.

Ahmedinejad isn't a friend, neighbor or acquaintance. He's the president of Iran and should be expected to be available to discuss his actions and those of his country. Ahmedinejad can reasonably expect to receive courtesy, but not from everyone. I know I wouldn't be very nice to him if I met him on the street. Frankly, he has a lot of explaining to do, and at times that will be demanded of him. If he doesn't like it, that's just too bad. It's part of his job.

Bollinger isn't a representative of government. He's the president of an Ivy League university — one of the premier learning institutions in the world. Thinking is the point there. Not children's thinking, the way they think in prison, or the disingenuous repartee that dominates the Middle East — the kind of thinking we all understand, the kind that requires availability and courage.
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September 27th, 2007, 19:06
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
It totally baffles me why the US hasn't tried to drive a wedge between them. It would be about as easy as:

"Hi, Syria/Iran. We'll drop the sanctions on you and start treating you like a civilized country if you'll get out of bed with Iran/Syria."
"Done."
@PJ- This is what I was referring to.

@Squeek- thing is, if you're going to extend the invitation, you're obligated to be a proper host. If Bollinger is half as learned and intelligent as he claims, he should know how to behave. I understand that Ahm-whatever should expect a rough crowd when he's cavorting in enemy territory, but in this case he was invited and the rules change. If a stranger comes in your house, he's an intruder and you're welcome to kill him until dead. If you invite that same stranger into your house, you're obligated to treat him with dignity and respect (even if he doesn't deserve it).

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September 27th, 2007, 20:29
Originally Posted by dteowner View Post
@PJ- This is what I was referring to.
I was speaking on a more general level there; countries rather than individuals. It's also within the bounds of possibility that I may have been exaggerating a wee tiny bit.
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September 27th, 2007, 21:18
I just saw the CNN "interview" this morning. Quite amusing. And this time it seems like it would be hard for him to blame the lack of answers on the hosts' rudeness

Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
The thing with the Iranian system is that yes, the president is pretty ineffective if he's pulling in the opposite direction from the Council of Guardians (as happened during Khatami): depending on his mandate, he may be just strong enough to put some limits on the Council's freedom of movement. (The opportunity we lost with Khatami is a topic for a whole another thread.)

But if he's pulling in the *same* direction, the two together can be a potent force. I am assuming that this is the case with Ahmadinejad — that he is the populist face of the Council in a sense. (I could be wrong about it of course — the Council plays its cards notoriously close to its chest.)
As far as I know the council isnt in synch with Ahmadinejad. IIRC they kept rejecting his ministerial candidates for about six months, trouble that Rafsanjani wouldnt have had. But their disagreements are probably more on domestic policy matters, since the clerics are the establishment that effectively control the oil revenue and thus in part were targets of his populist election campaign. The clerics are probably as interested in getting nukes, and as unfriendly towards the west, as Ahmadinejad, but I dont think that is enough for them to want to keep him when they can have one of their own on the post instead.

And I was referring to the Iranian intelligence service. If it is as independent as the Pakistanian one I doubt it can be used as a constructive force
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