In case you haven’t heard, the Iranian “Hitler,” President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is up for reelection in June. And you would think that nothing could possibly be more important on the international front than defeating “Hitler” at the ballot box. Isn’t he “Hitler,” after all? And not just any old “Hitler” – the way, say, Muammar al-Gaddafi and Manuel Noriega and Saddam Hussein were seen as “Hitlers” in their day. No, Ahmadinejad is treated as the worst of all the “Hitlers.” Namely, a “Hitler” who has openly, sort of, said that he wants to “wipe Israel off the map” (or so the gross misquotation goes) as soon as his mad Muslim minions can develop a nuclear warhead and a missile to deliver it. That is why Israel is talking about launching a preemptive strike against this “Hitler’s” nuclear strikes, is it not?
So you would think that the White House and the American press would be moving heaven and earth to support a reformist candidate like former Prime Minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi right now if it means denying “Hitler” four more years to advance his alleged “plan.” And there is an actual chance that Mousavi could beat him. For Ahmadinejad has been as “conservatively” stupid about the economy as any Bush-wannabe can. And Iranian voters are very unhappy about their falling standard of living (being American consumers at heart).
So you would think…
But wait! Stop for a second. This all sounds too weird. If “Hitler” is “Hitler,” how can there be an election? How can the outcome be in doubt?
That is precisely the point. That is why we are hearing nothing about the approaching election coming out of the White House. That is why there is not a word about it in the corrupt corporate press. If Ahmadinejad really were a “Hitler,” there would be no election. There would be no campaigning. There would be no last-minute efforts to win over Iranian voters. If the man were another “Hitler,” his political opponents would be shot on the spot.
Watch any speech or interview with Ahmadinejad and judge for yourself. Where Hitler was fiery, Ahmadinejad is flat. Where Hitler was brilliant, Ahmadinejad is bland. Where Hitler was strident, Ahmadinejad is soft. Where Hitler was militant, Ahmadinejad is mousy. The only way he can be made to sound like Hitler is by dubbing Hitler over him.
And even then there is no way to make him look like der Führer. Take that photo of Ahmadinejad beneath the image of Ayatollah Khamenei below. How do you Photoshop that guy into Hitler? Even a new Saddam? Ahmadinejad doesn’t have a uniform on because he doesn’t own one. Or a necktie either. (In Iranian society neckties are considered a sign of sinful pride. What? A “Hitler” who piously rejects pride?) And as for that face. With those upturned eyebrows – he looks a dachshund pleading to pee. No Führer he.
Indeed, when it comes to matters of war and peace, the president of Iran has as much power as Nancy Pelosi. That is, none. Nada. Zero. Zilch. He’s not the commander in chief. Not in a nation “under God” like Iran. No, that authority is invested in the white-bearded man with the smiling eyes behind him, Ayatollah Khamenei. Khamenei is the supreme leader of Iran, just as the title implies. He and he alone is the supreme leader in all things temporal and spiritual in Iran. He is like the pope and the U.S. president all in one. And he has held that position since 1989.
So how come most Americans have never heard of him? Because it is hard for even Fox News to demonize a supreme leader who has been in power all that time and has never, ever once attacked or threatened to attack any nation. No, not one. And to my knowledge, no nation has ever claimed that he has. Occasionally the corrupt corporate media will sweep him up in some sweeping reference to the “evil ayatollahs” who supposedly rule Iran with an iron hand. But mostly the pro-war propagandists prefer to leave Khamenei out of the script. He just doesn’t “fit.” He looks too much like a wise old rabbi to portray him as Evil Incarnate, Evil Unrestrained. Just think of how long he’s been in power – without one wild word out of the man. That shows both discipline and discretion.
Which brings us back to my original question. Namely, why the stony silence from the White House and the corrupt corporate media around the pending election if supporting a reformist presidential candidate like former prime minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi would deny “Hitler” another term? To do what exactly? Fabricate a crude nuclear device and lob it toward Israel on an equally crude missile? With the blessing of the supreme protector of the Iranian people? While the United States and Israel passively watch the preparations for the next Holocaust go forward?
Are what about the peaceful people of Iran? Would the corrupt corporate media have us believe that Iranians want nothing more from life than collective suicide? For with at least three of its own nuclear-armed submarines patrolling off the coast of Iran (never mind American backup), Israel could easily turn Iran into a sea of molten glass before that first crude Iranian missile even cleared the launch pad.
Yet the Obama administration has no interest in preventing “Hitler’s” reelection? And the current Israeli government doesn’t either?
Had Obama made friendlier signs sooner, former president Mohammad Khatami might not have dropped out of the race. And just who is Khatami? As seen below, he is a pro-women’s rights, pro-Christian rights, pro-Jewish rights reformer, who sought greater personal freedom for his fellow Iranians at home and greater cooperation with the West abroad during his two terms as president of Iran from 1997 to 2005, when he was succeeded by Ahmadinejad.
So why would the White House not want such a good guy back? Why wouldn’t Israel? According to Colin Powell’s chief of staff, Larry Wilkerson, Khatami was instrumental, among other good things, in gaining the supreme leader’s approval after 9/11 to use Iran’s many strong ties in Afghanistan to help overthrow the Taliban. Yet Bush blew off all that help Iran had just given, and, instead, made it a charter member of the “Axis of Evil” in his 2002 State of the Union address – only five months later. How come?
And then we come to Obama, who won the White House on a campaign of “Change!” But there has been no change from the Bush administration when it comes to publicly supporting the reformist candidates in the Iranian presidential race. And now Khatami has dropped out. Is that what Clinton and Obama wanted?
It’s hard to believe. And yet we see the pattern of American administrations undermining homegrown Iranian reformers repeated over and over. As when “Hitler” was running for president the first time around. And Bush held a news conference the day before the ballot – where he essentially told the Iranian people that the election was “rigged” in favor of the conservatives, and that those who wanted real reform might as well stay home. And, of course, Ahmadinejad – who portrayed himself as a Muslim “compassionate conservative” – won. I won’t say because of Bush. But then again perhaps the Iranian people figured that if there was one thing Bush might know about, it clearly would be rigged elections.
So what’s the explanation then? What’s the explanation now? Why let “Hitler” win then? Why let “Hitler” win reelection now? Is Obama another Hindenburg? Is Netanyahu another Chamberlain? Has Bibi been imbibing arugula salads too? Where have these men’s animal spirits gone to boldly meddle in other nations’ affairs?
We’ll have to see. But I would put a bailout’s worth of money on the possibility that both men are merely waiting quietly for Ahmadinejad to win reelection before they start beating their war drums again about the need to stop this “Hitler” militarily. Is that too cynical? To think that Obama would raise our hopes that our policy toward Iran is in the process of change, only to turn around and embrace continuity with the Bush administration – once a crucial election is past.
That would be downright Clintonian.
This article was first published in the Asia Times.