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Dealing With the Devil By: Kenneth R. Timmerman
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, May 18, 2006

Should President Bush “respond” to the 18-page rant sent to him through the media by the jihadist president in Tehran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?

The Party of Appeasers – which includes the Senator from France, Chuck Hagel – believes the answer is yes. They believe the United States should be offering concessions to a regime that murders its own young, that cheats on its international obligations, and that threatens to obliterate another member of the United Nations.

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who has now acknowledged publicly that she and her political masters completely missed the rise of political Islam during the 1990s because of their ideological rejection of religion in any form whatsoever, had a slightly more interesting suggestion. She has said the president should respond to the message he wants to receive, not necessarily the one that was sent.

That is a constructive suggestion, seeing as there is nothing – absolutely nothing – in the bearded boy wonder’s screed that deserves serious attention by anyone other than a rapid consumer of urban legend. (Which is why Cindy Sheehan thinks it’s a masterpiece, no doubt).

Just to sum up, for those of who haven’t the patience to troll the gutter, Ahmadinejad makes the case why he believes why America is an evil empire. I guess that is what explains the letter’s unending torrent of torrid prose. It’s a long and often amusing case if you buy into it.

He complains that the United States has tried to overthrow his regime (millions of Iranian patriots wish that were true).

He criticizes the US for holding prisoners at Guantanamo who get “three hots and a cot,” as well as a prayer rug, exercise, and visits by the Red Cross. Gee, I know thousands of political prisoners in Iran who would much prefer GTMO to Evin prison in Tehran or Gohardasht prison in Karaj.

In calling on the president to change his ways, he counsels him to adopt “the values outlined in the beginning of this letter, i.e. the teachings of Jesus Christ (PBUH), human rights and liberal values."

My favorite is the way he phrased the allegation – which Michael Moore and the Cindy camp know is absolute, rock-solid truth – that elements within the U.S. government carried out the September 11 attacks. "Reportedly your government employs extensive security, protection and intelligence systems – and even hunts its opponents abroad,” he says.

This is what psychologists call “projection.” Since Ahmadinejad and his government have systematically hunted down and murdered opponents of their regime in France, Germany, Austria, Turkey, Dubai, Iraq, and elsewhere, ergo the United States must be gunning for Michael Moore and Saint Cindy as they hip-hop from gay gala to gala at the Cannes Film Festival.
You wish.

I guess no one gave him the brief on the support his own government provided the al Qaeda hijackers, an extremely truncated version of which appears on pp241-242 of the 9/11 Commission report.

But seriously, President Bush should respond to the letter. He should treat it as an opportunity to address the Iranian people, doing in foreign policy what he occasionally has done so well here at home, talking over the heads of the media and taking his case directly to the people.

His address should be carried on Voice of America and Radio Farda in Farsi, as well as in the original English – if for no other reason than to ensure that pro-Tehran staffers at these radios do not deform the message when they translate it into Persian. The president’s speech should be re-broadcast again and again and again. And it should be followed up by action.

Here’s what the president should say and do.

First, he should restate his support for the right of the Iranian people “to choose your own future and win your own freedom.” He first said this, to great effect, in the 2002 State of the Union and restated it again this year. Presidential pronouncements that reaffirm the right of the Iranian people to pursue freedom in the face of tyranny are important, especially if the president follows up with clear actions.

Next, he should designate Vice President Dick Cheney as his Emissary to the Free People of Iran. (That will get the boy president’s attention, I assure you. Cheney = serious business). Cheney’s job will be to conduct a loya jirga of the Iranian opposition, and to help them designate a leadership council capable of taking their case to the world, as well as to the Iranian people.

(Note to skeptics: the Iran Referendum Movement has already taken a major step in this direction, bringing together political opponents from the National Front on the left to the Constitutionalists on the right. They have established 38 chapters in cities around the world, who designated 250 delegates to a founding conference in Brussels in December 2005. The conferees elected a 15 member Central committee, who then selected a 7-member executive board. That is a good example of democracy in action.)

Third, the President should ask Congress to fully fund programs in support of the Free People of Iran. These programs should include massive support for exile broadcasting out of Los Angeles, as opposed to expanding the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe’s pro-Iranian regime broadcasting in Persian.

VOA showed once again on May 11 just how opposed it is to the agenda of President Bush by inviting lobbyist Housang Amirahmadi onto their premier TV show broadcasting into Iran. (Amirahmadi is one of the legion of VOA guests who has called for lifting sanctions against Tehran and opening trade with the Islamic Republic, instead of confronting them.) What kind of message does that send to the people of Iran? Where are the pro-freedom advocates on U.S.-taxpayer funded broadcasts into Iran? Where are the president’s speeches in favor of freedom?

Finally, the Vice President’s office should work behind the scenes with non-profit organizations and with the leadership council that emerges from the loya jirga to get money and technical support items to opposition forces inside Iran. Not weapons – as the People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (aka the MEK) want – but secure communications equipment and the like to be used to help organize a massive, nation-wide movement. We need to help the Iranian people to master the weapons of non-violence against a regime that owns all the guns. This is war by other means.

Mr. President: bringing freedom to Iran is far too important to America’s national security to entrust it to the State Department, and especially not to the CIA. Go to the folks who can do, not to those who whine and leak.

How much will this cost? $300 million? $500 million? Perhaps more? Assuredly. And how much will it cost in blood and treasure if we have to send an armada of B2 bombers and F-22 and F-117 stealth fighters and U.S. special forces to take out Iran’s nuclear and missile sites? (And don’t forget that nasty little “tax” when oil tops $200/barril after a U.S. or Israeli military strike on Iran).

If we do not help the people of Iran to overthrow this radical regime, the military option will be all that we have left – unless, of course, as the Party of Appeasement would have it, we are to get used to the idea of a nuclear-armed regime of radical Islamic fundamentalists who openly espouse the thrill it would give them to murder millions of Americans and Jews.

This is the only option between Appeasement and War. It’s time we took it seriously. There is much to do.

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Kenneth R. Timmerman was nominated for the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize along with John Bolton for his work on Iran. He is Executive Director of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran, and author of Countdown to Crisis: the Coming Nuclear Showdown with Iran (Crown Forum: 2005).

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