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Mitt vs. the Mullahs By: Ben Johnson
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, September 07, 2006


NEXT WEEK, MITT ROMNEY WILL DO WHAT THE STATE DEPARTMENT should have done months ago: declare former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami persona non grata on American soil.

Romney has stated he will not expend Bay State resources to safeguard the pseudo-“reformer” as he addresses Harvard on September 10th…and 11th.“State taxpayers should not be providing special treatment to an individual who supports violent jihad and the destruction of Israel,” Romney affirms. He calls the speech “a disgrace to the memory of all Americans who have lost their lives at the hands of extremists, especially on the eve of the five-year anniversary of 9/11,” noting it will consist of “propaganda, pure and simple.”

 

The speech certainly has an element of the fantastic about it. The former president of a repressive Islamic theocracy will address the John F. Kennedy School of Government on the Orwellian theme, the “Ethics of Tolerance in the Age of Violence.”

 

That Khatami will speak at Harvard is nearly as predictable as his earlier public speaking engagement – the Islamic Society of North America’s 43rd annual convention in Chicago, at which he accused the United States of implementing “policies that cause the intensification of terrorism and institutionalized violence.” Some have found parallels between Khatami’s fevered anti-Semitic ramblings and the conclusions of  JFK School Dean Stephen Walt, who co-wrote the quasi-conspiratorial article, “The Israel Lobby.” The glowing biography on the Harvard website refers to the education of “His Excellence Mr. Khatami” in the “holy city of Qom” and his governmental service during the “Iraqi imposed war.” It must only sting Harvard’s ego that a Taliban representative had already been taken.

 

The intolerance and violence Khatami personally enacted should have deprived him of a visa to enter this country. The mullahs’ frontman from August 1997-August 2005, Khatami presided over the world’s number one state sponsor of terrorism. As Ken Timmerman noted last week, he played a role in the creation of Hezbollah. Financing the terrorist organization through his presidency, he renewed his praise as recently as July, during the Hezbollah-Israeli war, at which time he gushed, “Hezbollah is like a shining sun that illuminates and warms the hearts of all Muslims and supporters of freedom in the world.” As president, he also refused to turn over the agents responsible for the Khobar Towers bombing and accelerated Tehran’s covert nuclear program.

 

Although Khatami gave Hezbollah, Hamas, and PFLP millions of dollars in aid and comfort, his most disconcerting benevolence toward murderers was that given to al-Qaeda’s 9/11 masterminds. The 9/11 Commission Report stated, “we now have evidence suggesting that 8 to 10 of the 14 Saudi ‘muscle’ [al-Qaeda] operatives traveled into or out of Iran between October 2000 and February 2001.” Moreover, “Al-Qaeda members received advice and training from Hezbollah” – all during President Khatami’s second term.

 

If the State Department had the sense to revoke Tariq Ramadan’s visa or deny Cat Stevens entrance to the country for far lesser offenses, why is President Khatami currently on U.S. soil? And why are U.S. taxpayers, via the State Department, footing the bill to protect a man whose life has been spent plotting their annihilation?

 

Though Romney will not provide state protection for Khatami, the turbaned Persian will not be defenseless: the State Department will handle his security, assuring he remains unmolested. (It should be no small comparison that if any Iranian official were to withhold protection from a visiting American dignitary, it would mean certain death – excepting perhaps Jimmy Carter, for whom the Islamists should harbor considerable gratitude.) Still, Khatami should never have been allowed to set foot on U.S. soil, much less have been able to use the red carpet treatment accorded him by one of the nation’s most prestigious universities to criticize his host nation – at taxpayer expense. Mitt Romney has the common sense Foggy Bottom lacks.

 

The Massachusetts governor has compiled an impressive record of assisting the federal government on Homeland Security matters – in this case, negatively, by withholding state troopers. Last month upon hearing of the foiled airline bombing plot in London, he called the National Guard to Logan International Airport, the departure point for two of the three planes hijacked on 9/11.

 

His approach to Homeland Security has underscored the importance of federal-state synergy. “It's the state’s responsibility to figure out how to gather that information and fuse it together…to determine where the real threats exist,” Romney said. In 2004, he opened “The Fusion Center” at Framingham State Police headquarters. There, Massachusetts state officials analyze intelligence data and forward potential terrorist tips to federal authorities.

 

(This synergistic approach to federalism has bled over into related issues, as well; Romney wants to allow State Troopers to arrest illegal aliens.)

 

He has labored, in vain, to reintroduce the death penalty for terrorists, cop killers, and those who kill more than one person in Michael Dukakis’s state.

 

Unlike his senator, John Kerry, he does not regard anti-terrorism as primarily” an “intelligence-gathering, law enforcement, public-diplomacy effort. Romney’s prescription stands in stark contrast: “It is virtually impossible to have a homeland security system based upon the principles only of protecting key assets and response…[which] begins with effective prevention, and, for me, prevention begins with intelligence and counterterror activity.” 

 

To this end, just under one year ago, Romney gave a speech at the Heritage Foundation asking:

 

How many individuals are coming to our state and going to those institutions who have come from terrorist-sponsored states? Are we know where they are? Are we tracking them?

 

How about people who are in settings – mosques, for instance – that may be teaching doctrines of hate and terror: Are we monitoring that? Are we wiretapping? Are we following what's going on?

 

For this, he was ritually denounced by Ali Noorani, executive director of the Massachusetts Immigrants and Refugee Advocacy Coalition – a group whose political advocacy is in part funded by Teresa Heinz Kerry’s tax-exempt charities – and the ACLU (ditto). Their outrage may have been better directed at those who use holy places as convenient cover or twist religious doctrines to condone the murder of innocents.

 

People like President Mohammad Khatami.

 

In all, Romney – the political scion with matinee idol good-looks, affability, and charisma – has compiled a record enviable for any candidate potentially running for president in an election cycle dominated by the War on Terrorism. His refusal to aid Khatami is but one more example.

Ben Johnson is Managing Editor of FrontPage Magazine and co-author, with David Horowitz, of the book Party of Defeat. He is also the author of the books Teresa Heinz Kerry's Radical Gifts (2009) and 57 Varieties of Radical Causes: Teresa Heinz Kerry's Charitable Giving (2004).


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