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Old 09-24-2007, 12:09 PM   #46
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i agree. I'm not putting the US in the same league asAhmadinejad - but i just thought the interview and a few comments about 'oh the horror of the monster dare coming to our great soil' was a little over the top.

but i do agree on the distinction.
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Old 09-24-2007, 12:23 PM   #47
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Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Friday that the university was free to invite Ahmadinejad to speak, but "personally, I wouldn't go to listen to him—I don't care about what he says."
Something intelligent has finally come out of the mouth of Bloomberg.

The United States is really being needlessly belligerent when it comes to Iran. Excessively so.
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Old 09-24-2007, 12:24 PM   #48
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I think a fairer comparison would be Iran's support of Hamas & Hezbollah to the US' activities in Latin America for the last 40 or so years. At least (whether you agree with it or not) Iraq is a war...we didn't go in covertly with mercenaries and assassins to take Hussein down, which has been our M.O. in Central & South America. Funny nobody in the West had a word to say about that, but Iraq brings all sorts of protestations around the world. But that's for another thread, not to derail this one.

But anyway, I still say Columbia is right to have him speak, and if he wants to take a chance & visit Ground Zero he should. And agreed with the bit financeguy quoted, in that just being critical of Israeli government activity doesn't equate to anti-semitism. That's a bit disingenuous...in fact it's comparable to saying people who oppose the war are anit-American.
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Old 09-24-2007, 12:41 PM   #49
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Originally posted by CTU2fan
I think a fairer comparison would be Iran's support of Hamas & Hezbollah to the US' activities in Latin America for the last 40 or so years. At least (whether you agree with it or not) Iraq is a war...we didn't go in covertly with mercenaries and assassins to take Hussein down, which has been our M.O. in Central & South America. Funny nobody in the West had a word to say about that, but Iraq brings all sorts of protestations around the world. But that's for another thread, not to derail this one.


actually, i thought of this yesterday. i think it's a fair point, though things always get a little murky with the Cold War as the Soviets were playing every bit as dirty.

but, yes, another thread indeed.
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Old 09-24-2007, 12:51 PM   #50
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Something intelligent has finally come out of the mouth of Bloomberg.
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Old 09-24-2007, 12:53 PM   #51
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U.S. Focus on Ahmadinejad Puzzles Iranians

By MICHAEL SLACKMAN
New York Times, September 24, 2007


TEHRAN — When Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was first elected president, he said Iran had more important issues to worry about than how women dress. He even called for allowing women into soccer games, a revolutionary idea for revolutionary Iran. Today, Iran is experiencing the most severe crackdown on social behavior and dress in years, and women are often barred from smoking in public, let alone attending a stadium event.

Since his inauguration two years ago, Mr. Ahmadinejad has grabbed headlines around the world, and in Iran, for outrageous statements that often have no more likelihood of being put into practice than his plan for women to attend soccer games. He has generated controversy in New York in recent days by asking to visit ground zero — a request that was denied — and his scheduled appearance at Columbia University has drawn protests.

But it is because of his provocative remarks, like denying the Holocaust and calling for Israel to be wiped off the map, that the United States and Europe have never known quite how to handle him. In demonizing Mr. Ahmadinejad, the West has served him well, elevating his status at home and in the region at a time when he is increasingly isolated politically because of his go-it-alone style and ineffective economic policies, according to Iranian politicians, officials and political experts.

Political analysts here say they are surprised at the degree to which the West focuses on their president, saying that it reflects a general misunderstanding of their system. Unlike in the United States, in Iran the president is not the head of state nor the commander in chief. That status is held by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader, whose role combines civil and religious authority. At the moment, this president’s power comes from two sources, they say: the unqualified support of the supreme leader, and the international condemnation he manages to generate when he speaks up. “The United States pays too much attention to Ahmadinejad,” said an Iranian political scientist who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal. “He is not that consequential.”

That is not to say that Mr. Ahmadinejad is insignificant. He controls the mechanics of civil government, much the way a prime minister does in a state like Egypt, where the real power rests with the president. He manages the budget and has put like-minded people in positions around the country, from provincial governors to prosecutors. His base of support is the Basiji militia and elements of the Revolutionary Guards. But Mr. Ahmadinejad has not shown the same political acumen at home as he has in riling the West. Two of his ministers have quit, criticizing his stewardship of the state. The head of the central bank resigned. The chief judge criticized him for his management of the government. His promise to root out corruption and redistribute oil wealth has run up against entrenched interests. Even a small bloc of members of Parliament that once aligned with Mr. Ahmadinejad has largely given up, officials said. “Maybe it comes as a surprise to you that I voted for him,” said Emad Afrough, a conservative member of Parliament. “I liked the slogans demanding justice.” But he added: “You cannot govern the country on a personal basis. You have to use public knowledge and consultation.”

Rather than focusing so much attention on the president, the West needs to learn that in Iran, what matters is ideology — Islamic revolutionary ideology, according to politicians and political analysts here. Nearly 30 years after the shah fell in a popular revolt, Iran’s supreme leader also holds title of guardian of the revolution. Mr. Ahmadinejad’s power stems not from his office per se, but from the refusal of his patron, Ayatollah Khamenei, and some hard-line leaders, to move beyond Iran’s revolutionary identity, which makes full relations with the West impossible. There are plenty of conservatives and hard-liners who take a more pragmatic view, wanting to retain “revolutionary values” while integrating Iran with the world, at least economically. But they are not driving the agenda these days, and while that could change, it will not be the president who makes that call. “Iran has never been interested in reaching an accommodation with the United States,” the Iranian political scientist said. “It cannot reach an accommodation as long as it retains the current structure.”

Another important factor restricts Mr. Ahmadinejad’s hand: while ideology defines the state, the revolution has allowed a particular class to grow wealthy and powerful. When Mr. Ahmadinejad was first elected, it appeared that Iran’s hard-liners had a monopoly on all the levers of power. But today it is clear that Mr. Ahmadinejad is not a hard-liner in the traditional sense. His talk of economic justice and a redistribution of wealth, for example, ran into a wall of existing vested interests, including powerful clergy members and military leaders. “Ahmadinejad is a phenomenon,” said Mohammad Ali Abtahi, a former vice president under the more moderate administration of Mohammad Khatami. “On a religious level he is much more of a hard-liner than the traditional hard-liners. But on a political level, he does not have the support of the hard-liners.” In the long run, political analysts here say, a desire to preserve those vested interests will drive Iran’s agenda. That means that the allegiance of the political elite is to the system, not a particular president. If this president were ever perceived as outlasting his usefulness, he would probably take his place in history beside other presidents who failed to change the orientation of the system.

Iranians will go to the polls in less than two years to select a president. There are so many pressures on the electoral system here, few people expect an honest race. The Guardian Council, for example, controlled by hard-liners, must approve all candidates. But whether Mr. Ahmadinejad wins or loses, there is no sense here in Iran that the outcome will have any impact on the fundamentals of Iran’s relations with the world or the government’s relation to its own society. “The situation will get worse and worse,” said Saeed Leylaz, an economist and former government official. “We are moving to a point where no internal force can change things.”
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Old 09-24-2007, 01:53 PM   #52
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Originally posted by Headache in a Suitcase
i'd be pissed off if he went to ground zero... i'd be highly offended if he went down there and made a mockery of the sacred ground. but, alas, this is america. if that's what he wants to do while he's here, he should be allowed to do so.
Agreed.
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Old 09-24-2007, 03:13 PM   #53
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i suppose the next line to that song didn't fit the topic?

if anything i've gained respect for Columbia over this... not that an Ivy League school really needs the respect of some schlub like me...

letting this man speak is in no way endorsing him or his views. it's simply giving their students the best possible insight into the views of one of the most influential people in the world. isn't that what college is for?

he may be a wack job, but that wack job is, ya know, kinda a big deal.
Plus, don't the students get an opportunity to question and challenge him on his views?

If he was just giving a one sided speech it might be one thing, but the fact that the university president and the students get to challenge him in response (something that wouldn't happen in his country) is a good thing, imho.
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Old 09-24-2007, 03:15 PM   #54
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Iran and U S Armed Forces and GOP Senate all have something in common.
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Old 09-24-2007, 03:26 PM   #55
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Well that was a fascinating speech/discussion...if fascinating is the right word.


I was laughing with the audience when he said that homosexuality is a "western phenomenon" and that there are no homosexuals in Iran. A lot of it left me scratching my head because it was in stark contrast to previous statements, i.e. the Holocaust should be researched (rather than flat out denying it), painting Iran as the victim of terrorism, there were some other bits that I can't recall at this moment.

I'm glad I saw it, I think a dialogue, even with madmen, is necessary in this age of globalization.
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Old 09-24-2007, 03:28 PM   #56
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Iran and U S Armed Forces and GOP Senate all have something in common.

Quote:
there are no homosexuals in Iran.
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Old 09-24-2007, 03:29 PM   #57
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Old 09-24-2007, 03:38 PM   #58
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"We are a peace-loving nation," he said to boos and cheers.

On the Holocaust, Ahmadinejad said he simply wanted more research about it, saying that chapter in history was abused as a justification for Israeli mistreatment of the Palestinians.

“Why is it that the Palestinian people are paying the price for an event they had nothing to do with?” Ahmadinejad asked. He closed his prepared remarks with a terse smile, to applause and boos, before taking questions from the audience.

Ahmadinejad was asked about whether Iran sought the destruction of Israel.

"We love all nations. We are friends with the Jewish people," he said, adding that Palestinians must be allowed to determine their own statehood.

Asked by a moderator for a yes or no answer, Ahmadinejad said he should be free to answer as he wished.

On another question, Ahmadinejad appeared agitated and denied he was questioning the existence of the Holocaust. "Granted this happened, what does it have to do with the Palestian people?" he said.

But then he said he was defending the rights of European scholars, an apparent reference to a small number who have been prosecuted under national laws for denying or minimizing the Holocaust.

"There's nothing known as absolute," he said.
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Old 09-24-2007, 04:16 PM   #59
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It was weird watching him, what can you actually believe?
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Old 09-24-2007, 04:23 PM   #60
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If any one ever looked into his holocaust remarks

they would have seen his agenda was to bring the focus to the treatment of the Palestinians

as related Israel's creation because of European treatment of Jews
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