Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Dear Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
There is much in your letter that I believe to be true, but there are a couple of issues which need to be addressed from my perspective. It is a simple matter to boost each others egos and congratulate one another on our respective grandeur. It is in discussing the differences between us however that true progress can be made in breaching the gulf which currently separates us on the world stage.
The very first issue you broach on a substantive level is that of Palestine. I share your concerns on this matter and believe that reaching a solution to this problem is vitally important to solving the turmoil in the Middle East. So I admit that your discourse on this issue was disappointing from my perspective. You masterfully detail the wrongs being experienced by the Palestinian people, but no where in your letter do you acknowledge the right of Israel to exist. The solution to the Israeli/Palestinian issue is not entirely one sided in nature. I too have a problem with blind support by the Bush administration for Israel in all matters. But the response is not to blindly support the Palestinians in return.
You sir would be well served on the world stage, if not the Arab stage, to take a simple step. Acknowledge the right of Israel to exist. Take that step and the willingness displayed by the west to deal with you will increase dramatically. Starting from the position that Israel should be destroyed, which you have stated on several occasions, is actually a non starter.
In fact I would contend that you, Mr. Ahmadinejad, by acknowledging the right of Israel to exist, could take huge step in solving the main cause of regional strife these days. By taking this step you would stand to benefit as a widely acclaimed man of peace, responsible for initiating a landmark movement to peace in the Middle East and instrumental in solving a problem that plagued mankind with wars and turmoil for half a century. Taking this simple step allows both sides of the issue to talk with the prospect of reaching a mutually satisfactory conclusion.
On the other hand, you may choose to dig in your heels and insist that the only viable solution is the removal of Israel. This will not solve the issue and only leads to further conflict and distrust. In truth I understand that political concerns on the home and regional stage lead to the recognition of Israel being a difficult proposition for you. But as long as we are talking with each other, consider how this step would appear to the audience you addressed in today's letter. It is me and those who think like me that you are trying to reach after all.
My second issue with your letter has to do with the absolute lack of detail regarding your pursuit of nuclear technology. I understand you have the right, and make the claim, that this pursuit is only in regards to peaceful uses. It would have been helpful to address this issue in your letter. I might understand your perspective on this, but there are many of my fellow Americans who are hearing your side for the first time as they read your letter. Give us your affirmation that you do not seek nuclear weapons, and allow this claim to be verified, and there are reasonable people here who will breathe easier.
There are issues you express yourself on which I agree with you as well. And issues which need further discussion to reach a mutual understanding. But I need to wrap up this letter so I'll simply say thank you for writing your letter Mr. Ahmadinejad. One day soon I look forward to leadership in this nation that allows our nations to sit at the same table to talk about these issues rather than having to write each other open letters back and forth across the internet.
I also want to hear Ahmadinejad make a FULL account of his activities regarding the Iran hostage crisis during the Carter years, especially since he seemed to absolve the Iranian "students" of any wrongdoing based on his comments over the last year or so.
I wonder what would happen if we gave him some incentive to expand his thought process on these matters? Of course he is merely the front for the true power in Iran. But it seems to me that their new found standing in international affairs (thanks in no small part to USA intervention in Afghanistan and Iran) would tend to give them reason to consider being adults about these matters. Rather than childishly exclaiming you are with us or agaisnt us, and acting like an international fool... not that I'm pointing fingers at anyone mind you.
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