Illitterati and Obliterati


Khodadad Rezakhani
by Khodadad Rezakhani

So, Sen. Hilary Clinton, in an interview with Good Morning America, used a word that even she realised is "terrible" after uttering it. She preceded the "we will totally obliterate them " with "they have to look very carefully at their... society". The immediate response is obviously WTF? What does that have to do with the "society"? Is this now a social issue? So you are planning to "attack" the society? Again, she realised how idiotic she had been, because she ammended it to "those people who run Iran need to understand that." So, the society or the people who run Iran?

I suppose all these stems from the much advertised glorification of ignorence in the American society, the habit of making opinions with only half-knowledge, and what I think is the biggest problem here: not enough words! Yes, Sen. Clinton genuinely seemed lost for words and could not find a better word to replace the "society" with.

The same seems to be true about her use of "obliterate". It really means "strike out" (ob: pre-verb meaning "efface" and literati: letter, word). She obviously was at loss for a word, and she stumbled upon a word, and she only fully figured out the word after she uttered it. It is easy to see, she even paused a bit before saying it, looking for something.

The result was a statement eerily close to the alleged Ahmadinejad statement of "wiping-out Israel", the wipe-out closely resembeling strike-out. While some argue that the Persian expression of "remove from history" would mean to stop the existence of the government of Israel, not wipe-off the map (the phrase does not exist in Persian and was thus translated idiomatically and cynically into English), the word "obliterate" leaves no doubts. It means to "wipe-off", really, to destroy. Couple it with a "look at the society" and it adds up to killing off the Iranians.

Now, Senator Clinton, would it not have been better if you bought one of those "improve your vocabulary and climb up the ladder of success" help-yourself books? I realise that George Bush has brought down the standards of Public Oration (a staple of successful politics since the time of Demosthenes and Cicero) and anything will be an improvement, but honestly, outdoing him is hardly an achievement. An SAT prep class, might I suggest?


more from Khodadad Rezakhani


by Shideh (not verified) on

Sounds like she's selling our under pressure to get more campaign funds!


She's working the zionist

by n.zanincanadai on

She's working the zionist vote. Give her a break. America is nothing without it. What would you do?

K Nassery

I think she meant obliterate, Kiddo...

by K Nassery on

I am your fan, Khadadad. but Hillary knows the word "obliterate."  She wanted to send a message to Iran, Israel, and anyone out there willing to attack Israel, that a Clinton the Second Administration will defend Israel at all costs.She wants the Jewish Lobby money, the Jewish vote, and the money from companies that Jewish people own in the US.  She needs all of these things now and in Nov.  Hillary is one smart cookie when it comes to speaking English. (She gets an A+ iin creative writing also..note the Bosnia sniper story.  That was really creative.) 

 There are two states that Hillary wants now and in the future: New York and Florida.  There are huge populations in those states that she intended to reach in her statement.

I believe that Hillary could and would pull the trigger .....  She shot a duck, didn't she?  That shows us a lot about the future Commander in Chief Hillary.





Rosie T.

Khodadad, I don't see it

by Rosie T. on

I watched the interview again and while I agree with you that she misused the word "society" and then realized it and had to clarify that she meant the leadership, I think she knew EXACTLY what she was saying when she said "obliterate."  It is true there was a very short pause but it may have been for emphasis, or because the word "obliterate" was OVER-rehearsed, because when she said "obliterate" she said it very clearly and with conviction.  She IMMEDIATELY said "that's a terrible thing to say" not to correct herself but because she knew it WAS a terrible thing to say and she MEANT to say a terrible thing.  It sounded cool, calm and collected to me as well as prepared. I thought she looked very pleased with herself, like the cat who swallowed the canary.

I am taking an enormous amount of flak in my blog above yours for  having the very unpopular opinion on this website that she did NOT threaten genocide if you take the word "obliterate" in context, but that is not incompatible with my believing she knew exacctly what it meant and said it on purpose.  I believe she was posturing and grandstanding and she meant to do so in as extreme a manner as possible while maintaining that sweet wide-eyed face, a combination of tough "male" rhetoric with soft "female" demeanor which I also think is very calculated--to keep the women's vote and to appeal to Zionists, swing Republicans, and other constituencies, both current and potential.  I don't think her strategy will be successful though.  If she had said it AFTER winning the primary, yes, but to say it now probably just alienated a lot of dems, who are quite sick of the whole Middle East war scenario.  On the other hand I'm not so sure it was widely publicized enough to make a real impact.  Perhaps someone can clarify this for me.

Jahanshah Rashidian

Clinton 's statement

by Jahanshah Rashidian on

Clinton 's statement "totally obliterate Iran if it attacks Israel" showed her lack of solid personality that a politician in her position needs. Her mediocre and immature statement reminds us of Ahamadinejad's rhetoric.

She contradicted her previous statements looking for approach and more tolerance toward the IRI.

Was she controlling herself spewing such a statement or she sank into an impulsive stance, as a kind of Ahmadinejad-like one when attacking on others?

I personally would vote for Obama if I were American. He represents a new era that the world now waits for, a world in which intellect, moral and awareness would prevail over the current destructive conservatism, Reaganism, Tatcherism, Neuliberalism. The era would also be positive to fight Islamism and its rebirth, which is partly a frustrated reaction of the Islamic world against the aboves.

Mort Gilani

I.R. Propaganda

by Mort Gilani on

I have been wondering how the media in Islamic Republic reacted to her comments.  Anyone knows?  My bet is they have shut their filthy mouth as it would be extremely embarrassing for them to broadcast anything on it.


New Brands Of Apologists

by Killjoy (not verified) on

Yet another mouthpiece for Ahmadinejad!


Rosy you are absolutely right!

by Anonymous-2 (not verified) on

Ahmadinejad never made the statement that Israel should be "wiped off the map". As Rosy said this was the immediate mistranslation of Iranian news which was immediately picked up and spread like wildfire.

When the corrected translation was provided; those who wanted to manipulate and use this as a pretext to demonize Iran continued forth; regardless of what he actually said.

Ahmadinejad did not threaten Israel, as usual the media has manipulated and mistranslated his statements.

So what did Ahmadinejad actually say? To quote his exact words in farsi: "Imam ghoft een rezhim-e ishghalgar-e qods bayad az safheh-ye ruzgar mahv shavad."

That passage will mean nothing to most people, but read the words carefully: rezhim-e. It is the word "Regime", pronounced just like the English word with an extra "eh" sound at the end. Ahmadinejad did not refer to Israel the country or Israel the land mass, but the Israeli regime.

This is a vastly significant distinction, as one cannot wipe a regime off the map. Ahmadinejad does not even refer to Israel by name, he instead uses the specific phrase "rezhim-e ishghalgar-e qods" (regime occupying Jerusalem).

So this raises the question.. what exactly did he want "wiped from the map"? The answer is: nothing. That's because the word "map" was never used. The Persian word for map, "nagsheh", is not contained anywhere in his original farsi quote, or, for that matter, anywhere in his entire speech.

Nor was the western phrase "wipe out" ever said. Yet we are led to believe that Iran's President threatened to "wipe Israel off the map", despite never having uttered the words "map", "wipe out" or even "Israel".

For those who want further clarification I would suggest you take a look at the following web-sites.

Lost in Translation:


The Rumor of the Century:


By: Prof. Juan Cole Univ. Michigan

From the Guardian:


Ahmadinejad: Wiping Israel off the map?

By Virginia Tilley professor of political science Univ. of Johansburg,South Africa


So, for Hillary Clinton to come and use the word "we will obliterate them"; means murdering 70,000,000 people. This is an act of genocide! For a presidential candidate to make such a statement is totally unacceptable. Words do matter, and people take them seriously.

Personally, I have come to the conclusion that she is absolutely no better than Bush or McCain.

I believe she did mean to authorize the Iraq war even though she tried to get out of it by coming up with all sorts of poor excuses; and she did sign the Kyle-Lieberman Bill naming IRGC as a "terrorist organization". This is somewhat hypocritical when the co-chair of Hillary's presidential campaign,Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (Democrat of Texas), not only shares her friendship with Senator Clinton, but also promotes the terrorist organization of The Mojaheden-e-Khalq (MEK).

Congresswoman Jackson Lee has gone as far as calling Maryam Rajavi “Sister”. So, I wonder why this issue is not raised with Senator Clinton while she is tearing Obama apart for the statements of Rev. Wright? Or in fact one should just send this information to the Obama campaign!



sz (not verified)

Although I agree with the general tenet of your entry, in the interest of safeguarding facts, there is nothing “alleged” about Ahmadinejad’t statement. Aside from the one that you mention, the one about history and map, which in fact as he stated at the time was his rendition of Khomeini’s wish, there are others by many top IRI officials that are hard to explain away. Here is what Ahmadinejad has said since about Israel: "شمارش معکوس برای نابودی اسرائیل آغاز شده است". I leave it to you to do an etymological dissection on the Persian verb نابودی
All I could come up with for نابودی was the entry in the F.Steingass’s Comprehensive Persian-English Dictionary. na-budi, Annihilation, reduced to nothing, disappeared,…


Rosie T.

Ahmadinejad's statement

by Rosie T. on

Khodadad it's my understanding after researching this months ago that the actual translation "wipe off the map" came from the IRI's news agency, where they did it hurriedly the same day of the speech, and it was then picked up by the world press where it spread like wildfire within a day. When the IRI corrected it, it was too late.  So no one made the translation "cynically" although it could be considred cynical that the world press did not publicize the correction. 


Celevr observation

by khorshid on

Thanks Khodadad. Celever observation with usefull suggestions as always!

Nazy Kaviani


by Nazy Kaviani on

Thank you Khodadad. Whether Ms. Clinton has the vocabulary command required of a politician vying for the top political position of the country is a moot question here. Obliteration of a country means destroying it lock, stock, and barrel. I believe she showed she lacks even the basic common sense and humanity of an average citizen. Obliterating a country because of its leaders' decisions is tentamount to committing genocide on an entire nation. Does she know that? Does she care?


She is out

by Abarmard on

Time for Obama to take America to the next level. The old man is clueless, the Woman is the softer version of Bush, that leaves us with Obama. Hint to those who think we really have a choice and live in a democracy!