I had hoped to take up the thread of my argument but an article by Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker has thrown me off course. If Hersh’s sources are genuine, we may well be watching what Churchill called, the gathering storm. And it may be that, in a month or two, we will have witnessed as great an evil as the world has ever seen.
Hersh tells us that the war in Lebanon was approved of by the White House and is regarded as a precursor and test ground for Iran.
Mike Wallace of CBS News has interviewed the President of Iran. There is some controversy over the editing of the interview. Here is what Mike Wallace later said about President Ahmadinejead.
MW: He (Ahmadinejead) is not trying to project an image. Look, it's very difficult. I know...I found it difficult to understand, but the more that I sat there, and the more time that I spent with the man, he is...I'm not suggesting...he despises, if you will...oh, he doesn't despise, but he doesn't like the United States. He doesn't like the United States for the reason that it's supporting the Zionist entity. He doesn't talk about Israel.
SH: So you don't think he's an anti-Semite?
MW: He himself, an anti-Semite, an anti-Jew...anti-Jew?
MW: No, I don't.
MW: I am with you 100% in what I perceived to be the individual that I was about to sit down and talk to. And he made his case, fairly rationally. It wasn't...it was a conversation. He did not propagandize and so forth. He...when I began to talk to him about America, about the United States, and oppression, he had his facts down solid about why he feels sorry, he says, for President Bush. Why? And then he starts in about the polls of President Bush, and how they're going down, and how he's going to leave office, and it's sad that he's going to leave office and leave behind a people who don't really approve of him. His approval ratings are what they are. And what is the standing of the United States in the world generally under President Bush. And it's...we weren't having an argument. I mean, we were having a discussion. And he was infinitely more rational than I had expected him to be.
SH: And would you deny, Mike, for example, if you ever sat down with Adolf Hitler, or Joseph Stalin...
SH: Oh, wait. Hang on.
MW: No, look, I couldn't agree with you more.
SH: Would they seem, perhaps, informed, smart, reasonable, even though they were evil?
MW: Well, it's a perfectly sensible question. As far as I am...Adolf Hitler? Good Lord. I mean, the man was such a hateful, hateful man.
SH: So is Ahmadinejead, Mike. Listen to his statements.
MW: What...running a Holocaust, which the Iranians have not done, as you know, running a Holocaust, doing that sort of thing, slaughtering six million Jews, that's not what this man is talking about doing.
SH: But Mike, but let me answer that. Mike, but his statements are such that he wants to go beyond that. His statements are annihilate, wipe off the Earth.
MW: No, no, no.
SH: The world.
MW: Hold it, hold it.
SH: Wipe off the map.
MW: Yes, he says wipe off the map, and of course I asked him over and over about that. He says in effect, hey, it's perfectly sensible to do...pardon me. It's perfectly sensible for them, and I'm not quoting directly, obviously, because I don't have the translation in front of me, to...for them to...it's perfectly sensible, if there is a Holocaust, and let's buy the fact that there was a Holocaust. Where did the Holocaust take place? Did it take place in an Arab neighborhood? Did it take place in Jerusalem? No. It took place in Germany. Then it seems to me, under those circumstances, take Israel, the Zionist entity, he called it, move it to Germany. Move it to Europe. That's where it happened.
SH: Do you agree with him?
MW: Move it to the United States.
SH: Do you think that's a legitimate argument?
MW: It's an argument. I'm not a commentator. You are.
SH: You think he's a better man than we think? Do you think he's a good man?
MW: I wouldn't call him a good man, no. I think that he's a more reasonable...he's self-assured. He is self-righteous. He is savvy. He has studied. Do you know what he does? He has a PhD in civil engineering. And...
SH: Well, he certainly won't let his people be free. There's not the freedom...
MW: What does that mean, free?
SH: Well, I would argue that women...
MW: Are you suggesting that he wasn't elected by his people?
SH: I don't believe that those elections are honest in any way. No, I do not.
MW: Well, all I can tell you is...
SH: I believe if there was an honest election, people would...
MW: Khamenei, who is the supreme leader, really, in Iran, if there's one man to whom this man, Ahma...you pronounce his name better than I do...that the president of Iran defers to, it is the man who they call the supreme leader, who is the ayatollah, the highest ayatollah. 27 years ago, I went to the holy city of Qum to talk to Khomenei, which is one of the reasons, I'm sure, that they decided that they were going to let me talk, or he was going to let me talk. I know that I am making him sound more human, more surely than I expected, and by all means, more human than you feel that he is. You feel that he's dead evil, and there's no doubt about it, and so forth. What you're telling me is that some of your best friends are Jews, is that it? That's not what I'm saying. He says, let the people who were responsible for the Holocaust, let the Zionists go there and establish their state.
MW: I think that Khomenei...Khomenei was much more, how to say, hard-minded, much more the kind of man that you're describing that Ahma...
MW: Ahmadinejead, correct, is. The...I ask you to bring not prejudice, not your own beliefs or prejudices. When you watch him, I'll be curious to see whether you think that there's anything reasonable about this man at all.
President Ahmadinejead sent President Bush a letter. You can read it here:
The White House dismissed it as a “sermon”.