23 February 2013

Imagined response by POTUS to 2006 letter from President Ahmadinejad, a letter that is very similar in content and argumentation style to his speeches at the UN General Assembly (2012 and other years)

- by the queen, who also knows how to write nice letters, especially after her crash course in the social sciences, and who is fully prepared to explain it again in person to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad himself, combining intellectual arguments with some other powerful means of expression at her disposal

(Western politician's response: US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice dismissed the letter as "offering nothing new" and the White House said there would be no formal written reply.)

(Western intellectual's response: Stokes, Karina, Ahmadinejad's letter to Bush opens dialogue in Middle Eastern rhetorical style, Journal of Language and Politics, Volume 9, Number 1, 2010, pp. 96-114(19) - Abstract: "Understanding how Middle Eastern rhetoric differs from Western communication can aid in deciphering diplomatic correspondence like the 2006 letter from President Ahmadinejad of Iran. Failure to understand such communications and respond appropriately may result in missed opportunities to avert hostilities or establish effective rapport with other nations. Success in grasping the intent of Iran's diplomatic overture can provide a basis for creating a response that expresses American sentiments in a way that can be seen as intelligent and appropriate by Middle Eastern recipients. Such correspondence could entail establishing a respectable ethos, arranging content as expected, and emphasizing common values. Knowledge of the Middle Eastern rhetorical tradition can inform a viable understanding for diplomatic correspondence.")

(My question: are Western politicians and intellectuals out of their minds? To miss such an opportunity to speak, not only to the Iranian President, but to the Iranian people as well, who may need some encouragement?)

Mr President Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad

I'm grateful for your letter and the questions you ask. They are good questions, and the answers to them are of the greatest importance. Fortunately, the answers to these questions are also very easy to find. What is very unfortunate, though, is that you cannot find these answers by yourself. Because if you were able to find these answers by yourself, the central question you ask in your letter - "how long must the people of the world pay for the incorrect decisions of some rulers?" - would never have become so pressing!

Iraq and WMD

You ask how I can justify the occupation of Iraq (and all the terrible consequences, as well as the heavy burden on our Treasury) "because of the possibility of the existence of WMD" in that country. The answer is simple: Iraq is not simply a "country", it is a country with a people and a government; and what you call "the possibility of the existence of WMD" is not simply a "possibility", it is the result of an act of the Iraqi government for which that government is responsible. The Iraqi government could have cooperated with us in order to prove that they had no intention to produce or to possess WMD, in other words, that there was no "possibility of the existence of WMD" in their country.

But the Iraqi government refused to do so. It is only then that I had to ask myself the question: if the Iraqi government is not prepared to cooperate with us and to show their good faith, how great is the threat posed by that government, which is possibly intent on acquiring WMD? And how representative is that government of the Iraqi people, of whom I naturally assume that they want to live in peace with the rest of the world? Because if that assumption is correct, and I believe it to be correct, an Iraqi government that is representative of the Iraqi people would have cooperated with us and shown their good faith.

It is only logical that I had to come to the conclusion that the Iraqi government, which refused to cooperate and to prove that they were not intent on acquiring WMD, was not representative of the Iraqi people and was therefore a threat to the rest of the world (and indirectly to the Iraqi people itself). I certainly wish I could have concluded otherwise. But for that the premises would have needed to be different. Not the logic, as you seem to suggest.

Western oppression and cooperation

The question isn't in your letter, but I can hear you ask: why should the Iraqi government, or any other government, have to cooperate with us and show their good faith, when we ask for it? Aren't they independent?

I believe that the question to ask rather is: why should they NOT cooperate with us and show their good faith? Even when they are independent?

Because asking the first question is nothing else but a perverse trick to make a legitimate request for cooperation appear as an illegitimate request for submission. In other words, it is an act of bad faith disguising itself as an act of proud resistance against alleged oppression. Struggle against oppression may be a religious duty for the faithful. But I'm sorry to say, jihad against Western oppression construed in such a fraudulent manner is plainly a scam intended to mislead the faithful. And as you point out correctly yourself, "telling lies is reprehensible in any culture: people do not like to be lied to", not in Iran, not anywhere else.

Israel and the Palestinians

You ask how one can justify the "establishment of a new country with a new people" where it hadn't existed before, and especially the cost at which it was established. Again, the answer is simple: time doesn't stand still, and the Jewish people, which wasn't "new" as you say, wished to establish a Jewish state in Israel at that time.

The maps may be difficult to find, but there are other sources that indicate that the old Jewish people once had a state or at least a country in Israel. You also correctly assume that the unbelievable murder of a very large number of Jewish people is not only true, but a contributing factor to this wish of the remaining Jewish people to establish a Jewish state in Israel (six million is indeed no more than a rough estimate, but if it turned out that the exact count was only 5,223,119, the murder would be just as unforgivable). Now, when the Jewish people and their representatives had this understandable wish to establish a Jewish state in Israel, they were very conscious of the fact that the land wasn't just there for them to take, but that the creation of a Jewish state in Israel had to proceed by negotiated agreement with the people already living in the land.

What happened then goes a long way to explain not only why I continue to support the Jewish State of Israel, but especially why the "cost" at which it was established was so high (and continues to be high). It is the simple fact that the Arab rulers who claimed to be representatives of the people living in the land (a claim that was obviously untrue for at least some of the Jewish and Christian people who were also living in the land) refused to cooperate and to negotiate an agreement (just as Saddam Hussein refused to cooperate and to prove his good faith). They assumed that they had a right proven beyond any doubt to the land in question, and thereby a right to simply reject altogether the wish of the Jewish people to establish a Jewish state in Israel. However, this right to reject the wish of the Jewish people cannot be proven any better than the right of the Jewish people to establish a Jewish state in Israel (there are also no maps of a Palestinian state in that land at that time). Which is to say that the refusal by the Arab rulers to cooperate and to negotiate an agreement was not only a very unfriendly act, it was also unlawful before God, who wants us to find ways to coexist and to live in peace in this only world he gave us.

It is true, the representatives of the Jewish people, when confronted with the refusal by the Arab rulers to negotiate, did not simply abandon their wish to create a Jewish state in Israel. They went ahead and created the Jewish State of Israel without an agreement. But you must also acknowledge that they didn't simply take all the land, they just took that part of the land on which they thought that an agreement could have been reached, so that an agreement would still be possible after the fact, an agreement on how to share the land and establish two states, a Jewish state and a Palestinian state, that could prosper together in peace on that same land. They also didn't simply displace, let alone massacre, the Arab population in their new state, although that population behaved in a rather hostile way following the example of the Arab rulers.

The real and deplorable "cost" of establishing the Jewish State of Israel thus didn't simply occur in "the process", it only occurred when the Arab rulers, in defense of their unproven right to reject negotiations with the Jewish people, decided to make war against the new Jewish State of Israel in order to destroy it. And that was definitely an unlawful and criminal "phenomenon", to use a word you seem to like a lot. A criminal "phenomenon" for which both the Jewish people and the Palestinian people pay the price until today, and unfortunately  will continue to pay the price as long as the Arab (and Persian, I might add) perpetrators of that criminal "phenomenon" hold on to their hatred of the Jewish State of Israel.

The people and its rulers

The central question you ask - "how long must the people of the world pay for the incorrect decisions of some rulers?" - has thus a very simple answer: as long as there are rulers who make incorrect decisions! And you cannot simply assume that the rulers making the incorrect decisions are always the others, and never you yourself! Did that simple reflection ever cross your mind? Did you ever ask yourself how you could do yourself a lot of good for the people of the world paying the price for incorrect decisions? Because if you do not ask yourself that question, the day will come when God will ask you why you never did.

I for myself am certainly afraid of that day of reckoning. Not because I haven't asked myself the question. But because I cannot know for certain that I've always found the right answer. I said before that the answers I can give to your questions are easy to find. This is only true insofar that it is easy to find answers that are not completely wrong or "incorrect", to use your words. But it is very possible that the decisions I've made were not always the best that I could have made. I only wish, when taking these decisions, that I could meet more often with leaders who try hard as well to find the right answers, and less often with leaders who simply content themselves with asking self-righteous questions of others, and of me in particular.

May God have mercy on our souls.

Yours sincerely,


PS: I almost forgot. On the question of Iranian nuclear science: you can deduce from my answers to your other questions that I do not condemn nuclear science as such; it is the good faith of yourself and of other leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran, when it comes to not using that science to develop a nuclear weapons capability, that I ask to be demonstrated. Again, just as it was for Saddam Hussein, it is easy for you to prove your good faith, as there are so many ways to do that. Calling upon the Iranian people to shed their blood as martyrs for the Islamic revolution isn't one of them, though. This whole "phenomenon" of bloody martyrdom, which was started by the ayatollah Khomeini, but of which you and ayatollah Khamenei also seem to be very fond, strikes me as wholly incompatible with your concern for "the people of the world paying the price for the incorrect decisions of some rulers". Because it suggests that the Islamic rulers of Iran, including yourself, act upon the principle that the heavier the price they make the people of the world pay for their incorrect decisions, the more glorious these incorrect decisions become in the eye of God! Therefore I must warn you: I do not believe that this repulsive "phenomenon" can be "rationalised or explained" by your faith in the one and only God. I take it to be a clear sign of your godforsaken madness!

PPS: I can just as well add, so as to spare you the trouble of writing me another letter full of questions, that there is always a way out of this godforsaken madness: it is the way of repentance. I pray, may you find it soon. 

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