In a startling (and heretofore unreported) miscalculation in security planning last week at the United Nations in New York, secret service agents led a rapidly-departing President George W. Bush right into the exit path of the man he most loves to talk about but least wants to talk to, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran.
President Bush – I’m gonna kick someone’s ass about this. Just keep going.
President Ahmadinejad – Sir, did you read my speech at Columbia yesterday?
PB – Of course not. But I heard the head of the university, who should be fired for inviting you, at least felt enough heat to introduce you by calling you a “petty and cruel dictator” and demanding – as I have – that you answer for the crackdown on scholars and journalists and anyone else who disagrees with you. He also dared you to explain all those public executions. In my country, we kill people in private.
But what burns me most is that you keep pursuing nuclear weapons, and denying the Holocaust and calling for the destruction of Israel, and you’re killing Americans in Iraq by giving them sophisticated explosives.
PA – I’m tired of being harangued by self-righteous Americans. But I can politely assure you, President Bush, that we don’t treat our detainees any more harshly than you handle yours at Guantanamo Bay or Abu Ghraib.
PB – We’ve been holding terrorists who murdered American civilians.
PA – Then why were they held incommunicado? If there was evidence against them, why wasn’t it presented and the accused brought to trial? In fact, many were being detained without evidence or formal charges.
PB – Why are you arresting journalists? You’re obviously afraid of people who write the truth about you and your regime?
PA – No, we aren’t. In Iran we’re a gentle and cultured people who respect every individual’s privacy. So we’re appalled by your wiretapping of innocent American civilians.
And regarding executions, you’ve already acknowledged that your country has capital punishment. We also have the right to execute those who commit serious crimes, like trafficking in drugs.
PB – You gotta be an idiot to deny the Holocaust happened. The documentation is overwhelming.
PA – I’m merely quoting certain European academics who’ve been tossed into prison for questioning the premise. Like all essential matters, it should be researched on a continuing basis, and from a different perspective.
PB – Those European deniers are crackpots and you’re an anti-Semite.
PA – Nonsense. There are many Jews who live quite securely in Iran. I support them. And, at least for a minute, let us say that the Holocaust is a fact. The tragedy took place in Europe. How then did it become the problem of the Palestinian people, who had nothing to do with the Holocaust? For sixty years they’ve suffered as their land was stolen, their liberties crushed, and tens of thousands killed. Why? Because in the 1940’s there was a Holocaust in Europe?
I simply say this: let the Palestinians decide their future in a referendum. Let them determine what kind of nation they want. Nobody should interfere in their affairs and “nobody should spend tens of billions of dollars equipping and arming one group there.”
PB – And nobody should be sending explosives and technicians to Iraq to kill Americans. I might have to stop the people who’re doing that.
PA – Iranians aren’t afraid of your threats. But the American people are frightened because of the “insecure psychological atmosphere (you’ve created) in order to justify warmongering… (and establish) a monopoly over science and prevent other nations from achieving scientific developments as well.”
PB – We want you to progress scientifically, and we’re ready to help you do so, but only for peaceful purposes.
PA – That’s what we’ve been doing. Iran has no need of a nuclear weapon. The International Atomic Energy Commission has verified this.
PB – That’s what’s so scary about you, your self-delusion. In fact, the IAEA has verified that Iran, in violation of international law, has been secretly accumulating nuclear materials that point to a weapons program. And, partner, I’m telling you the United States and Israel aren’t going to allow that.
PA – Israel has scores of atomic weapons. And, for your edification, the unprovoked and deceitful U.S. invasion of Iraq violated international law.
PB – I make the rules for the benefit of the American people. And, for your information, the Israelis have never used their atomic weapons. If the Arab states and Iran had a nuclear monopoly, imagine what would’ve happened to Israel.
PA – That’s a sham. We Iranians haven’t spent decades attacking countries. Your country has. And that explains why you and your allies insist on having the only atomic weapons in the Middle East.
PB – I thought you didn’t want a weapon.
PA – We don’t.
PB – Great. Let the inspectors in, with no restrictions. Then our nations can start building a friendship.
PA – Wonderful. I invite you to visit Iran, as soon as your troops leave Iraq.
PB – You just don’t understand.