Tuesday, February 7

Crazy like a desert fox

In a previous post, I cited one of Daveed Gartenstein-Ross's Weekly Standard articles for the proposition that "that the influence of this messianic belief on Ahmadinejad is being exaggerated by rivals within Iran to make him look foolish or unstable."

For the record, Daveed's original text was:

Both Rafsanjani and Khatami have orchestrated a campaign of character assassination against Ahmadinejad in recent months designed to paint him as a delusional figure who believes that the Hidden Imam guided him through a September speech before the United Nations.

Daveed has since written to correct my interpretation of his text:

I saw that you cited my Weekly Standard article for the proposition that Ahmadinejad's rivals are exaggerating his messianic belief. That isn't quite the argument I was making. Rather, I was stating that Rafsanjani and Khatami are incorrectly portraying Ahmadinejad as crazy, when he is in fact simply a true believer in the idea of the Hidden Imam on which the Khomeinist system is based. For an excellent article which influenced my thinking on this matter, see Amir Taheri's "Ahmadinejad Faces Character Assassination." A key quote: "In the Khomeinist system the most natural thing, for a decision-maker, is to consult the 'Hidden Imam' rather than politicians. Ahmadinejad is simply reasserting the inner logic and internal reasonableness of the system in place in Iran. He says: in this system power belongs to the 'Hidden Imam', and we, as the government, are accountable to him and not to the people. And if a 'Hidden Imam' does, indeed, exist, there is no reason why he should not send a flash signal to Ahmadinejad at the UN. The problem with mullahs such as Rafsanjani and Khatami is that they want it both ways. They exploit the concept of the 'Hidden Imam' as a tool to control the poor and illiterate masses while they themselves regard it as an old wives' tale." So this is a case of a man who actually believes in the blood-stained ideals of the Iranian revolution versus a cadre of cynical dissemblers.

I would like to thank Daveed for clearing up the misunderstanding and banishing any solace I might have taken in the thought that Ahmadinejad isn't as crazy as he sounds. Give me a cynical dissembler promoting the ignoble lie to control his people any day. At least he can be expected to act in his own interest, and not at the behest of a five year old boy from the ninth century.


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