Monday, May 15, 2006

Don't talk to the mullahs

Christopher Hitchens's new article on Iran is, as always, a wonderful read:

There is an excellent case to be made for initiating an imaginative diplomatic overture to Iran, or rather to the Iranians, and I did my best to lay it out. But this case is not strengthened by the demented letter recently made public by the man posing as Iran's president.

I say "posing," because, however many times our media babble about his "landslide" victory in Iran's "elections," everybody knows that he was put in by the reigning mullahs at the very last moment, after all independent and reformist candidates had been eliminated from the process, and that the counting of the votes was an insult to the meanest intelligence. I repeat the word "posing," because, even as he was putting his signature to the infantile diatribe he dispatched to President Bush, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was being further exposed to his own people and the world as the wretched puppet that he is.

...Bear in mind that almost all Iranians are now within reach of a satellite dish, a cell phone, or a foreign broadcast—and that we have a talented and resourceful Iranian diaspora in Europe and North America. The president could have added two things. The first is that, since Western technology helped to build the Iranian reactors in the first place, there is no need for Iran to go pirating for centrifuges and other techniques on the black market as it has repeatedly been caught doing. If a peaceful nuclear program is truly what it wants, we alone can help maintain and enhance it. The second is that Iran is standing on a cobweb network of earthquake "faults" that will, with absolute certainty, produce yet another devastating chain of earthquakes in the next few years. (So awful is this predicament that, after the total destruction of the city of Bam in 2003, even the mullahs considered removing the wildly overcrowded and dysfunctional capital city from Tehran to Esfahan.)

...This is no longer a matter of "public diplomacy" or "image" or "making nice." A wrecked Iran in one form or another is an immediate and urgent danger, and the pathetic religious demagogue at its merely titular summit is of no more significance than a false prophet screeching in a real wilderness. Almost everything that went wrong in Iraq went wrong because we postponed the real decisions until it was almost too late. President Bush has a chance to redeem this by speaking directly to the Iranian people and the international community and bypassing the wicked men who have run a noble country into a swamp of beggary, violence, crime, corruption, and disaster.

Well said Mr Hitchens.

Read it in full here.