For years, I have read rumors that a young Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was among the kidnappers of the Americans at our Tehran embassy in 1980, back in the halcyon days of the Islamic revolution when Khomeini’s eager devotees scraped makeup from women’s faces with razor blades. (Oh, wait a minute. I guess they’re still doing it.)
I don’t know whether those rumors are true, but it’s hard to disbelieve them entirely, given the subsequent activities and pronouncements of the Iranian president. So it was with little surprise I read the news that the two American hikers on trial in Tehran have just been released in time for Ahmadinejad’s arrival in New York. Perhaps there was some fear (projection?) that we would snatch the Iranian despot before he had time to leave our shores and incarcerate him on Rikers Island or maybe reopen Alcatraz. (Gitmo would be out, I suppose, because Eric Holder has promised to shut it down before the election… assuming Obama doesn’t dump the AG first.)
We don’t normally do things like that, of course. The most vile leaders come and go on our territory to be housed at swanky hotels like the Warwick (I think I’ll take them off my list) or feted at Ivy League universities.
But what if we did? Suppose we defied all norms and grabbed the Iranian leader. We wouldn’t have to treat him badly — just put him in a safe house some place with nothing to do but watch an endless loop of Schindler’s List and that recent movie of Adam Sandler playing the Mossad agent who becomes a hair dresser. I know, that might be considered torture for the Iranian, but it’s certainly not as bad as water-boarding.