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.