Former President Mohammad Khatami’s visit to the US has aroused serious anger among the neocons, the congress hawks and the AIPAC likudniks. Joining the circus is that aging army of Iranian “freedom fighters,” using their over-hyped 1970’s “expertise” to help America “understand” Iran in 2006. And no, I’m not just talking about the MEK.
Just yesterday, Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney declared he would not be providing any security to Khatami for his Harvard speech to show his disgust with the State Department’s decision to grant Khatami a Visa. Romney said Khatami’s Harvard speech, a speech which he hasn’t heard or seen, will be “propaganda.” And I guess this propaganda-to-be is so bad that in Romney’s view Khatami deserves to be beaten or assassinated for it.
What are the chances that Mitt Romney, governor of the commonwealth of Massachusetts has ever even heard one speech of Khatami’s in the last 10 years? It’s not about the speech; it’s about branding it as “propaganda.” Romeny, has gotten the same talking points that Pennsylvania’s Rick Santorum got.
Santorum the “chief propagandist” of the Iranian regime and warned that he is here to “mislead the American people.” Of course Santorum said this before Khatami even set foot in the United States, let alone make a speech that could –god forbid- be evaluated on its content.
Democrat Brad Sherman, sent a public (at least to AIPAC) to Secretary Rice pleading with her to not allow Khatami to enter the US. “A visit by the so-called reformist president would no doubt be utilized for maximum propaganda benefit by the Iranian government,” he said.
Of course a host of media pundits, and TV personalities got the message too. The Washington Times called it “Enemy in the Cathedral” and warned of the “propaganda value to Iran.” Kenneth “Iran will nuke the US” Timmerman asks the deep questions. “Would Washington have welcomed Nazi Propaganda Minister Goebbels to address the German Bund in 1940?” That really makes you think –or rather suspend thinking- doesn’t it? I mean, it’s 1940, Iran is Nazi Germany, Ahmadinejad is Hitler and Khatami is Goebbels, what else is there to think about?
Last time I heard about Khatami’s “propaganda,” was from a Republican Congresswoman. Illeana Ros-Lehtinen said that MEK didn’t cooperate with Saddam Hussein, and all evidence to the contrary is “Khatami Propaganda.”
Nevertheless looks like this is happening. Michael Rubin is furious. Michael Ledeen is pulling out his transplants. They can’t believe USA is compromising its values by letting someone speak and possibly even stop a war! How un-American of Harvard to provide a foreign diplomat the freedom to give a speech! (But rest assured it will be propaganda.)
Jim Lobe said it best:
Neo-conservatives expressed particular concern that Khatami, who first proposed a “dialogue of civilizations” in 2000, will give Iran a major public-relations boost as the “friendly face” of the Islamic Republic…
The neocons have worked so hard for the current “ugly face” that Iran has. They’ve spent years demonizing the country and trying to get Bush to attack. They’ve worked hard paint Iran as a Nazi hellhole where women are chained to the ground and Jews are killed on sight. They have tried using the MEK, the Monarchists, they flirted with ethnic Azeri separatism and “autonomous Kurdistan” and nothing panned out so far. Michael Ledeen spent over a year urging Iranians to “boycott” the elections, to help ensure the hardliners get back in power. And now finally, at last they have the boogymen they’ve been praying for, and one “smiling cleric” could ruin it all! Well, he must be stopped!
Like clockwork, the Tehrangelesi media and those same Iranian morons who service Ledeen are joining their MEK friends to stop the “taazi” Khatami’s visit. I guess the stated logic is “my friend’s wife’s cousin was flogged in ’83, so let’s nuke Iran!” Unfortunately their calls to arm don’t have a successful track record. After 27 years of promising “Iranian people are ready for a revolution,” they are on the verge of disappearance as a relevant force. 27 years of “just don’t talk to the Mullahs” and “don’t vote” to legitimize IRI hasn’t done anything and their followers are starting to question these delusions. They may claim they are against bombing, but they really can’t afford peace with Iran. Since they’re already on record opposing “any kind of contact” with the regime, it doesn’t take one of their phony royal titles to figure out the reality: That if you don’t talk, you go to war.
This is the reason behind the synchronized choreography of the “propaganda” meme. These groups don’t care what Khatami says. They know his very presence could make Iranians look like rational human beings with real concerns and real children who will die when real bombs fall. There could be a small chance this visit could start some kind of -I don’t know, dialogue?- that could perhaps solve problems without bloodshed. It’s against everything they stand for.
So the answer is shut up, just shut up! Get everyone to stop talking and start bombing. Faster Please!