The PJ Tatler

Should We Kidnap Ahmadinejad?

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.

There’d doubtless be a ton of tut-tutting if we did this, but I’d wager a lot of people would be secretly grateful, especially in Iran where life is evidently pretty putrid under their current president. I’ve heard even Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei hates Ahmadinejad’s guts. And think how the Saudis would be rejoicing. They’d about given up on us when we threw Mubarak under the bus, but there’s no one they despise more than A-Jad.

And it would solve Obama’s growing Jewish problem. It was looking pretty bad for him after the New York Ninth, but if he snatched Ahmadinejad, they’d make him Grand Rabbi of Brooklyn by proclamation.

I am on the plane to New York as I write this to help with PJTV coverage of the Durban III counter-conference at the UN Millennium Hotel. (Look for the live stream at beginning 9AM Eastern Thursday.) And I’m beginning to think it’s a good idea. I would even contemplate doing it myself, if I had more experience.

But, alas, this is not a job for amateurs. Claudia Rosett tells me that security at the Warwick is pretty tight. And I remember well what it was like the last time I encountered A-Jad, at the Durban II conference in Geneva. He was surrounded by thugs in white collarless shirts, a security detail out of old Peter Sellers movies. But they looked lethal. It kept me up all night. In fact, in a certain way it changed my life.

So I think I’ll pass on doing the kidnapping myself. I think I’ll leave that to more experienced operatives.