Ron Rosenbaum

The Best Thing Written About the Ahmadinejad Visit...

…was a column by Caroline Glick of The Jerusalem Post. She puts the visit and the inanely naive treatment of it–that it was about free speech or “fear” of Ahmadinejad, or fear of talking to our enemies–in its true context.

To me the visit was about the necessity to bear some kind of moral witness against the evil represented by Ahmadinejad, whatever pseudo-sophisticated arguments are used deny responsibility to him for his regimes crimes or to treat him as open to Reason.

The new meme tries to frame it as being about “fear” of Ahmadinejad. No it’s not about fear, it’s about moral disgust, revulsion. The fear can be seen, rather, in the posturing of those super brave boyz who accuse those who have the clarity to express moral disgust and rejection as “fearful”. When in fact it’s their fear–that their super-sophisitcated white boy, think tank subsidized, wonk mentality with all its nuances that is laughably impotent in the face of fundamentalist, theocratic fascist evil. [UPDATE: Not just boyz–the liberal propogators of the “fear of dialogue” meme are now on the same page as Peggy Noonan! And what’s equally laughable is their belief that their arguments, their rhetoric their desire above all for dialogue will make a differnce in a kumbaya way, to the victims of a theocratic Stasi-like state.

Are they aware of how student dissidents are beaten and tortured in Terhan? Only in the abstract, I imagine. I suggest they read this harrowing account of an Iranian student hunted down, beaten and tortured, that was just published in London’s Observer.

Read it? Now tell me the best response: protest or “dialogue”? I wonder if that Iranian student was grateful for the super, super brave bloggers who boasted of their courageous lack of “fear” of dialogue with the representative of a theocratic fascist regime.

I read one laughable atttempt at a historical argument on a conservative-oriented blog, a pro-“dialogue” post which seemed to imply that Richard Nixon’s “dialogue” with Khrushchev in that silly “kitchen debate” (America’s true superiority lies in our material goods; we’re better because we’re have better refrigerators!) changed Khrushchev’s mind. And that the Berlin Wall fell because Reagan changed Gorbachev’s mind about its presence. Through dialogue of course.

“Hmmm,” you can hear Gorbachev saying, “Reagan says, ‘Mr. Gorbachev, tear down the wall!’ Maybe I should! Why didn’t I think of it?”. But the point is he didn’t tear down the wall. No, the wall fell because the courage of Solidarity in bearing moral witness against the Soviet-style police state regime in Poland was contagious, and spread to East Germany. To deny that, to rob those brave Eastern Europeans who really did tear down the wall–truly fearless people–in order to use this denial as an argument for think-tanky dialogue, is a sad disservice to those those brave souls.

I just don’t get the desperate need for so many commentators left and right to twist themselves into knots of such clueless sophistry to trivialize a fascist regime, to prove somehow that by failing to speak out against Iran’s Stasi like regime that tortures and murders dissidents and heretics, they are somehow being braver and more sophisticated than the “fearful” who actually did speak out.

I have to admit I’m still shocked by the failure of so many of the commentariat in the MSM and the blogosphere to have the moral clarity to express outrage, shocked by their impulse instead to find ways to deny or trivialize Hitlerism and the need to confront it–especially by those in the moral witness line of work. The self-congratulatory (I’m so fearless!) way they strained to find eight different ways to excuse and diminish what Ahmadinejad said is something they will have to explain to the Iranian student in the Observer story.

In any case I believe the best thing written about the visit was by Caroline Glick, to my mind a brilliant Cassandra-like truth teller, who listened carefully to what Ahmadinejad said and found even deeper reasons to be disturbed. Her clarity and anger–yes anger, don’t faint, oh brave fearless ones. Yes, anger can be a legitmate emotion in a world seething with evil. You can find Caroline Glick’s analysis here. (The link, annoyingly goes to page two; scroll down and click back to the beginning–it’s worth it.).

But read the Observer piece. If your first reaction to these homicidal thugs is dialogue, not protest, I feel sorry for you.