September 25th, 2009
12:01 PM ET

Iran's conductor on the crazy train

Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

I once received an anonymous call at the height of a major trial. A deep baritone, with a measured cadence of confidence spoke. “I’m sorry, but I don’t know who else to call. I believe I have proof of jury tampering.”

“Really?” I responded, my ears pricking up like Spock on a date.

He went on for several minutes describing how the deliberations had been apparently slanted for acquittal by one juror. His information seemed rock solid, his knowledge of the case thorough. Then the bombshell. “How is this happening?” I asked.

“He’s using below-the-horizon surveillance and mind control particle beams.”

That’s the problem with some lunatics. They are unreliably zany. One minute they can be talking about authentic issues in an informed and reasonable way; and the next moment their eyes grow wide, and they lean forward to add, “And it’s all the Jews’ fault!” Such is the case with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the President of Iran. This week in front of the United Nations he displayed precisely the qualities that most concern the sane leaders of other countries, notably the United States.

When he goes into his “the Holocaust never happened” act, and “the Zionists are the real terrorists” bit, it is easy to say he is simply anti-Semitic. When he says there are no gays in Iran, and it is the most progressive democracy on the planet, it is easy to suspect a massive clot has slammed into a lobe and he’s lost contact with reality. Where is the acknowledgement of the troubles in his country? Staggering unemployment, riots, human rights violations, international outrage over Iran’s nuke program. Ahmadinejad says all he wants is peaceful nuclear energy supply, but few are buying that line.

So why does anyone listen or support him? Because he sprinkles his speeches with enough salt of legitimacy. He is right: The long dispute between Israel and the Palestinians is real, and the 9/11 Commission concluded years ago it must someday be equitably resolved to take fire off of the bubbling pot of terrorism. He is right: Many smaller nations resent the inordinate political, economic, and military influence of big nations, like those holding the permanent seats on the UN Security Council.

And everyone likes to blame problems on someone else. So when Ahmadinejad says, “Our difficulties are really not my fault, not your fault, the rest of the world is unfair” that has enormous appeal to some on the home front.

But history has shown that leaders who step this far outside of the box can truly be dangerous to us all; because while their world views may be fantasies, ultimately their weapons and their willingness to use them, can be all too real.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Global 360° • Iran • Mahmoud Ahmadinejad • Tom Foreman
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Ikaika

    Biting my tongue, because if I don't, others will. Sad but true.

    September 25, 2009 at 2:36 pm |
  2. Peri Craig

    Excellent editorial. Because there is a clear bias, its not appropriate as a news article (however much I might agre with the views stated herein), but as an editorial it is well-written, well-supported, and engaging!

    September 25, 2009 at 2:36 pm |