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(DV) Smith: Open Letter to Mike Wallace on His Ahmadinejad Interview







Open Letter to Mike Wallace on His Ahmadinejad Interview
by Michael K. Smith
August 15, 2006

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Dear Mr. Wallace, 

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.

Other Articles by Michael K. Smith

* The Case For Bush
* Anti-Defamation League Sees New Form of Jew-Hatred in Numeric Disease
* Their Security and Ours: Itís a Set
* A Birthday Message From The IWW: Rebel, and Mean It!
* Harvard President Larry Summers on Deserving and Undeserving Humans
* Playing Now In The International Theater
* Ward Churchill's Real Sins
* Nazis 'R Us