The Reactionary Utopian
                     October 3, 2007

by Joe Sobran

     When Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's president, or 
dictator, or tyrant, or whatever he is (his 
constitutional and actual practical authority is rarely 
defined for us), arrived in New York, it was to 
tremendous media excitement. The intensity of the furor 
is suggested by the fact that he knocked O.J. Simpson 
clean off the front pages of the city's identical-twin 
tabloids. After all, O.J. has never denied the Holocaust 
or called for Israel to be wiped off the map.

     Ahmadinejad, whose name is nearly as hard to spell 
as "Condoleezza" is now the main selection of the 
Hitler-of-the-Month Club, following such luminaries as 
Louis Farrakhan, Manuel Noriega, Saddam Hussein, Osama 
bin Laden, Kim Jong Il, Saddam Hussein again, Mel Gibson, 
and Don Imus. In a long and (I think it's safe to say) 
unfavorable editorial, the WASHINGTON TIMES not only 
mentioned his Holocaust denial three times, but pointed 
out that Iranian soldiers goose-step. Draw your own 

     The hostile coverage was monotonously repetitious: 
"brutal dictator," "sponsor of terror," "developing 
nuclear weapons," and so forth. If these sound familiar, 
they are exactly the same phrases -- verbatim! -- we used 
to hear about Saddam Hussein five years ago, but without 
the specific details. The War Party is up to its old 

     The Iranian "leader" was invited to speak at 
Columbia University, whose president explained that this 
would be the best way to expose him for what he is, to 
wit, a bad apple. He faced some hostile questions from 
the student body, but he also won applause several times. 
That figures. He may be a Hitler; on the other hand, he's 
not President Bush.

     One WALL STREET JOURNAL column about the Iranian's 
visit mentioned Hitler exactly twelve times (next to a 
drawing of his face); in the pro-war press there were 
countless hysterical references to Nazis, the Holocaust, 
terrorism, the 9/11 attacks, and so forth. (Curiously, 
Mussolini was mentioned only once.) Little of the 
verbiage had any factual relation to Iran or its regime. 
Reading it, you'd never guess that none of the 9/11 
hijackers was Iranian. It was all naked propaganda, sheer 
denunciation, designed solely to stupefy.

     Columbia's president, Lee Bollinger, feeling 
compelled to insult his guest, called him "astonishingly 
uneducated." Well, that would seem to make him a fit 
match for Bush, one of the most ignorant of all U.S. 
presidents. Listen to ordinary Americans discussing 
presidential powers the next time you're in, say, 
McDonald's: they take for granted that the president has 
virtually absolute power, never mind what the 
Constitution says. They'd heatedly deny that he's a 
dictator, of course, since he has to be elected, this 
being a democracy. But when it comes to limits on his 
authority, they are imbecilic. Besides, dictators are 
bad, and our presidents are good. It comes down to that.

     We are horrified at the idea that dictators may have 
nuclear weapons, but it's fine for democratic leaders to 
have them -- even though the only two nukes ever used on 
populated areas were dropped by order of an American 
president. (Thank heaven Hitler didn't get them first! He 
might have abused them; whereas the United States used 
them to "shorten the war.")

     Ahmadinejad did excite raucous laughter when he said 
there are no homosexuals in Iran, an assertion that 
suggests he thinks we are as gullible as Bush does. As 
for the Holocaust, a note of skepticism would have been 
more plausible than flat denial: surely it's an 
extraordinary fact that the war memoirs of Churchill, 
De Gaulle, and Eisenhower don't discuss it, but this is 
not the same thing as saying it didn't happen. It merely 
invites the inference that whatever actually occurred 
during World War II, there has been a lot of subsequent 
embellishment, as usually happens with history, an omelet 
in which fact, propaganda, and legend are hopelessly 
scrambled by the victors.

     At any rate, Ahmadenijad has so far done little to 
justify the lurid Hitler parallels. He seems to be more a 
figurehead for the regime than a strongman in full 
command of it; hardly a totalitarian dictator. Where are 
his victims? Compared with Saddam, he seems almost 
humanitarian. And even Saddam, truly grisly as his record 
was, posed no threat to the United States.

     At the moment, the worst enemy we Americans have 
seems to be George Walker Bush. Who else has done this 
country so much harm?


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