25 September 2007

The Steep Cost of Hating Ahmadinejad

The folks at Columbia University showed their bravery, mocking Iranian President Ahmadinejad's lunacy this week. On a normal day, I'd cheer the discomfiting of the powerful. I would, that is, if only it weren't for this seeming like more preparation for yet another delusional war and if only we Americans did this to our own presidents and not just the foreign ones.

The criteria for invading Iran ought to be simple. Iran's population is double that of Iraq's, so we ought to estimate it'll cost twice as much to wage war there. (Putting aside the nearly inevitable additional costs that will come as a result of the entire Muslim world quite reasonably seeing the US as intent on toppling all Arabic governments if we do this yet again.) Estimates of the total cost of the Iraq war range from about $1 trillion to about $2.5 trillion - working out to somewhere between $10,000 to $35,000 for each family of four. (Just imagine having that little pool of cash to draw from as you make mortgage payments over the next decade.) So, Americans are disgusted with Ahmadinejad. Fine. Will they pay double what they'll pay for the Iraqi war? $50,000 to $60,000 per family to see him ousted? And shouldn't there be a requirement to pay that amount up front? Mad at Ahamdinejad? For only $50,000 you can finance a military campaign against his country. Perhaps the Bush administration could imitate PBS fund drives, or go door to door soliciting the cash. ("Honey! Do we have $50,000 we could give to this Pentagon official at the door?")

Secondly, Ahmadinejad, the man who put the mad in Ahmadinejad, is braver than George. As reported here, George, whose staff has “micromanaged and laboriously controlled for the past five years to weed out the merest whiff of protest,” ensuring that George never has to face a forum like Ahmadinejad faced at Columbia, a situation in which his lunacy is ridiculed rather than silently endured or supported by equally delusional supporters. If only our president had to face his critics, like the British Prime Minister or like someone accountable to his electorate.

If you're going to buy the buzz about how evil is Ahmadinejad, be prepared to pay $50,000. Personally, I just don't think it's worth it. I wouldn't buy a used car from George and Dick. I certainly wouldn't buy a used excuse for war. What's the tag line on the marquee? The Iranian invasion - from the people who brought you the Iraqi war.


Anonymous said...

I've been surprised at how much misinformation is being spread by the media. Every network has repeated that he wanted to "wipe Israel off the map." The problem is, he never said it. It was an "accidental" mistranslation by an interpretor. Oops! Actually, he just called for regime change.

He did deny the holocaust, but not because he really believes it. He popped out with that when the Dutch were publishing anti-Islamic cartoons. He figured that if we were going to roast his sacred cows, he'd return the favor. It worked, too, far better than he could have hoped.

I don't know why the Bushies are itchy for another war, but I think we're certainly gearing up for one. I always wondered why the "good Germans" didn't do more to stop Hitler in the 1940s. Now I understand: against a tidal wave of stupidity, there's just not that much you can do.

LSD said...

This is an interesting bit to contrast and compare:

I read that President Bush invited Juan Williams to do an exclusive interview for NPR on race relations. The Interview was conducted and NPR chose not to run it. I suppose that that is an editorial decision to deny the President a forum that might promote his ideas. It is clear, anyways that they don't have a problem with Mr. Williams.

With regard to your comments, you say that it seems like preparation for another war, which would assume that Columbia is working with the administration. My impression was that the ones who have been rattling sabers in Iran's direction were largely critical of Columbia for giving him a forum.

I personally think it was good to see just how weird this guy is. (He spent a good deal of time prefacing his talk by establishing that science is a gift from God thereby losing most of his audience immediately.) I would not assume to explain why he denied the holocaust. It is clearly awful to do so. He ought to be confronted for it.

The entire event is available at c-span.org if anyone hasn't seen it.

Ron Davison said...

there don't appear to be brakes on this vehicle.

I think it's more subtle than Columbia working with the administration. I think that, as with the Iraq invasion, a group think sets in that everyone - from media to politician to every day citizen - finds it difficult to resist. In that sense, yes, Columbia is working with the administration. For me, it's another one of those, "am I the only Martian here?" moments when I simply don't understand the rush to action or the sudden priority of a distant threat.