Your interview with Iranian President
Ahmadinejad was a disgrace to the journalistic profession. You began
with the condescending manner of a school principal lecturing the class
clown for immature behavior and squandered the entire interview on
hypocritically accusatory questions. If gall were an Olympic sport,
you'd take the Gold Medal.
As the President tried to tell you --
with admirable diplomatic charm -- it is not for Iran to re-establish
diplomatic relations with the United States, which voluntarily broke off
such relations nearly three decades ago, and has maintained total
belligerence towards the Islamic Republic ever since. In case you
haven't noticed, the U.S. is currently sponsoring two bloody occupations
on Iran's borders, while showering Israel's devastation of Lebanon with
U.S. weapons just a stone's throw away. It is in this context that you
asked Mr. Ahmadinejad if he desired good relations with the United
States. The only thing that might have saved your line of questioning is
the CBS laugh track.
In an obvious attempt to discredit your polite guest, you asked him if
he hated "Zionists." Sir, in the interest of rationally informing the
public, don't you need to introduce the term first, which is not exactly
a household word in the contemporary U.S.? And in order to comply with
the spirit of fair play don't you need to ask yourself whether or not
Americans might first like to know whether or not Zionism is a hateful
doctrine, a thought that has occurred to a Muslim or two amidst
Israel's endless parade of invasions, bombardments, occupations, and war
crimes. Please jot that one down for a future interview with Nasrallah.
Your juvenile antics offered no context to your audience and completely
neglected all relevant history. You did not mention that the much talked
of democracy that President Bush allegedly wishes the Iranian people
have was very much in evidence before then Prime Minister Mohammad
Mossadegh was overthrown in a CIA coup in 1953. Objecting to Mossadegh's
perfectly legal nationalization of Iranian oil, President Eisenhower
replaced democracy with the Shah of Iran, who achieved a record of
torture and murder that Amnesty International rated the worst in the
world, while Iran nearly sank into the sea from the massive load of
armaments sent on by Washington. After the Shah was overthrown, the U.S.
backed Saddam Hussein's eight-year was against Iran, with hundreds of
thousands of Iranians killed. I hope I'm not going out on a limb in
suggesting that these policies just might have something to do with "why
they hate us."
The boundless arrogance you displayed is similar to that evidenced by
President Bush Senior after the U.S.S. Vincennes shot down an
Iranian civilian plane in 1988, killing 290 people on board. Said Bush
the Greater, "I'll never apologize for the United States of America. I
don't care what the facts are."
This attitude is rapidly bringing the human species to the edge of
extinction. One would think that a man of your talents could find a
better contribution to make to what I hope is human evolution.
Michael K. Smith
is the author of
Portraits of Empire (illustrations by Matt Wuerker),
The Madness of King George, and Rise To Empire
(forthcoming), all from Common Courage Press.
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* Nazis 'R