DO NOT READ THIS POST
I saw a great ad on the Internet this week. It was a picture of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on a black background. Below, the words "DO NOT CLICK ON THIS AD - IGNORE THIS MAN" flashed enticingly.
Whether you try to ignore the ad or immediately recognize the point it's probably trying to make, you WILL click on it (just like you're reading this post in spite of the title) And I did, and it brought me to a page about the dangerous implications of giving this man a global stage.
Ahmadinejad has taken steps recently to take over the global stage yet again. He has been granted a Visa by the US State Department to come speak before the UN General Assembly. There, he will make his case against Security Council sanctions that will probably be passed and imposed on his country the moment he finishes speaking. Unless of course he halts Iran's uranium enrichment program. (Not. Likely.) Even Russia, long Iran's best customer and regional best friend, has started to pressure Iran to stop its nuclear activities, said it would vote for the UN sanctions and threatened to stop construction of nuclear facilities inside Iran.
Then there's this stand-off between Iran and Great Britain. Britons are being held under the claim that they sailed into Iranian waters. The British not only deny this, but they have photographic proof that the ship was well inside Iraqi waters. But it seems they can say anything they want. Iran took them captive to make a statement, and the propaganda coming from Tehran this week has been eerie and fascinating.
“To British People,” the latest letter, supposedly from one of the captives, said: “I am writing to you as a British service person who has been sent to Iraq, sacrificed due to the intervening policies of the Bush and Blair governments.”
“Whereas we hear and see on the news the way that prisoners were treated in Abu Ghraib and other Iraqi jails by the British and American personnel, I have received total respect and faced no harm,” the letter in her name said. “It is now our time to ask our government to make a change to its oppressive behavior towards other people.”
There is simply no way that a British sailor wrote this letter on her own. Just like there is no way that the British sailors were taken captive because of something they did wrong. Yet Tony Blair apologizes and continues to request the safe return of the Brits.
Blair is also hoping that the US stays out of the dispute. Why? Because that is exactly the opposite of what Ahmadinejad wants. He wants the US to "click on the ad," so he can declare the US as supporting aggressive imperialist oppression in the region and give him cause to continue developing nuclear weapons, maybe invade Iraq or destroy Israel or whatever else he has on his agenda.
One way to stop him is to ignore him. He has less control over his own people than he lets on, and probably had less to do with the British ship seizure than we think. But he is a master propagandist and a brilliant brinksman. And he is begging Dubya and company to overreact. And I pray that someone is telling Bush to keep his mouth shut and his hands tied. No matter how tempting it may be, we cannot click on that ad.