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The 18 Page Gap (Between Reality and Mahmoud)

Tuesday, May 9, 2006  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

The Washington Post and the New York Times review some aspects of Mahmoud, son of Xerxes’ letter to the president. Hilariously, the New York Times opines in the lede paragraph that the letter is a “diplomatic overture that was immediately dismissed.”

Neither paper hints at the obvious: The president of Iran may be as mad as a hatter, and is at best delusional some days of the week.

Perhaps when Rick Berke next counsels the staff on writing, he can include the directive: be sure to include the obvious.

As Victor Davis Hanson noted dryly yesterday, “statesmen don’t write 18 page letters to each other.” He added:

HH: Let’s pause for a moment, Victor Davis Hanson, on the statement that you made that statesmen do not send other statesmen 18 page letters. Can you expand on that?

VDH: Well, I mean there’s…sophisticated statesmen have a succinct and diplomatic and judicious and sober way of communicating. And the reputation of this man is that he’s unhinged, that he listens to the imam in the well, that people don’t blink when he speaks, because of his holy aura that hangs over him. And it’s in line with the rambling, 18 page letter. But that being said, in nuclear politics, appearing unhinged can be an advantage, as you know, because it sort of excuses you from classical responsibilities of deterrence. So the crazier that he sounds, and this is in line with that, the more people think you know, this man won’t react to threats of deterrence. He knows the Europeans very well. He knows that if he wakes up tomorrow with a nuclear weapon, the Europeans are going to shrug, lament, castigate him in their papers, and line up to sell him weapons. And he knows also that the American left will say well, we live with Pakistan, what’s the big deal?

So Mahmoud isn’t crazy like the fellow dressed in carpet singing opera at 116th and Broadway (one of my favorite memories of NYC), he’s crazy like, well, Hitler.

And just as this ambitious nutter and his mullah-backers make their play for superpower status, the New York Times’ Bill Keller bids becomes the Geoffrey Dawson of this drama.

Is there anyone within MSM –just one person– who is objectively charting the crisis as it unfolds?

Powerline’s Scott Johnson has more, but as yet I cannot find a translation of the letter.

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