Ahmadinejad Steals the Show

by JAYNE LYN STAHL

All the furor, and media feeding frenzy over Ahmadinejad’s comments at a meeting of the United Nations on Thursday couldn’t have been better timed.

When Iran’s Machiavelli decided to vent about the U.S. exploiting the bombing of the World Trade Center as a pretext for invading and toppling sovereign states in the Middle East, members of the U.S. delegation and those of several other European nations reportedly headed for the door. This makes for good copy, but does it make for good diplomacy? More to the point, such high theatrics steal the show rendering any other news coverage impossible.

So, when Ahmadinejad told FOX News, that it was time for a "fact finding mission" to find out who the real culprits were behind 9/11 as, in his opinion, the U.S. government was behind the attack, he was clearly stoking the fire of middle America by saying "such an insane and nutty thing." He was also driving up the ratings of all the major television news networks that covered the story.

While the president might consider the Iranian leader’s comments "hateful" and "offensive," he allowed what was predictable, and won’t even wind up as a footnote in history books, to hold America’s attention captive for 48 hours.

What’s more, the president did not deny Ahmadinejad’s claim, as the Associated Press reports, that the U.S. has allocated $80 billion to upgrade our nuclear arsenal nor the hypocrisy of working with Russia, India, and Israel on their nuclear arsenals in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. He merely went along with the drama by instead focusing on the shamefulness of those remarks, especially so close to ground zero. What’s really shameful is that the claim can’t be refuted.

Nobody is defending Ahmadinejad’s statements which were, at best, wildly inappropriate, but something else is being lost in the shuffle. The Obama administration and the mainstream media enabled furor over Ahmadinejad, as well as all the hooplah over the building of a Muslim community center at ground zero, at a time when Texas has decided to limit the number of references to Islam in future history textbooks. If we treat people as enemies, do they not become enemies?

Moreover, the news that poses the greatest threat to national security was eclipsed, deliberately or otherwise, by the visit of a the man who is, and has always been, essentially the fall guy for the Ayatollah.

On Friday, when most of America was preparing itself for the weekend, and after nonstop news coverage of Ahmadinejad’s follies, it was announced that the feds have taken over three major credit unions.

It was also announced, on Friday, that Citigroup is awarding many of its executives with millions of dollars of salary raises in stocks. Citigroup, as you know, is partly owned by the government, and was the recipient, according to the AP, of $45 billion in Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) or government bailout money. So, in essence, your tax dollars are again going into the pockets of top executives with the stock market being used as a money-laundering operation.

While there is a federal pay cap on how much any chief executive can earn, one can supplement their compensation by awarding them millions in stock options which is precisely what Citigroup has done.

British deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, told the General Assembly that Ahmadinejad’s "remarks were intended to distract attention from Iran’s obligations and to generate media headlines."

The response by the United States and representatives of those other 27 other European nations who walked out of the United Nations, and those news outlets that covered the story nonstop, to Ahmadinejad’s remarks effectively deflected attention away from the fact those who have been sticking their hands into our pockets to enrich themselves are still at it.

JAYNE LYN STAHL is a widely published poet, essayist, playwright, and screenwriter, member of PEN American Center, and PEN USA.

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
September 02, 2015
Paul Street
Strange Words From St. Bernard and the Sandernistas
Jose Martinez
Houston, We Have a Problem: False Equivalences on Police Violence
Henry Giroux
Global Capitalism and the Culture of Mad Violence
Ajamu Baraka
Making Black Lives Matter in Riohacha, Colombia
William Edstrom
Wall Street and the Military are Draining Americans High and Dry
David Altheide
The Media Syndrome Between a Glock and a GoPro
Yves Engler
Canada vs. Africa
Ron Jacobs
The League of Empire
Kim Nicolini
Remembering Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes
Andrew Smolski
Democracy and Privatization in Neoliberal Mexico
Norman Pollack
Obama, Flim-Flam Artist: Alaska Off-Shore Drilling
Lawrence Wittner
Russians and Americans Get Their Kids Ready for War
September 01, 2015
Mike Whitney
Return to Crisis: Things Keep Getting Worse
Michael Schwalbe
The Moral Hazards of Capitalism
Eric Mann
Inside the Civil Rights Movement: a Conversation With Julian Bond
Pam Martens
How Wall Street Parasites Have Devoured Their Hosts, Your Retirement Plan and the U.S. Economy
Jonathan Latham
Growing Doubt: a Scientist’s Experience of GMOs
Fran Shor
Occupy Wall Street and the Sanders Campaign: a Case of Historical Amnesia?
Joe Paff
The Big Trees: Cockburn, Marx and Shostakovich
Randy Blazak
University Administrators Allow Fraternities to Turn Colleges Into Rape Factories
Robert Hunziker
The IPCC Caught in a Pressure Cooker
George Wuerthner
Myths of the Anthropocene Boosters: Truthout’s Misguided Attack on Wilderness and National Park Ideals
Robert Koehler
Sending Your Children Off to Safe Spaces in College
Jesse Jackson
Season of the Insurgents: From Trump to Sanders
August 31, 2015
Michael Hudson
Whitewashing the IMF’s Destructive Role in Greece
Conn Hallinan
Europe’s New Barbarians
Lawrence Ware
George Bush (Still) Doesn’t Care About Black People
Joseph Natoli
Plutocracy, Gentrification and Racial Violence
Franklin Spinney
One Presidential Debate You Won’t Hear: Why It is Time to Adopt a Sensible Grand Strategy
Dave Lindorff
What’s Wrong with Police in America
Louis Proyect
Jacobin and “The War on Syria”
Lawrence Wittner
Militarism Run Amok: How Russians and Americans are Preparing Their Children for War
Binoy Kampmark
Tales of Darkness: Europe’s Refugee Woes
Ralph Nader
Lo, the Poor Enlightened Billionaire!
Peter Koenig
Greece: a New Beginning? A New Hope?
Dean Baker
America Needs an “Idiot-Proof” Retirement System
Vijay Prashad
Why the Iran Deal is Essential
Tom Clifford
The Marco Polo Bridge Incident: a History That Continues to Resonate
Peter Belmont
The Salaita Affair: a Scandal That Never Should Have Happened
Weekend Edition
August 28-30, 2015
Randy Blazak
Donald Trump is the New Face of White Supremacy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Long Time Coming, Long Time Gone
Mike Whitney
Looting Made Easy: the $2 Trillion Buyback Binge
Alan Nasser
The Myth of the Middle Class: Have Most Americans Always Been Poor?
Rob Urie
Wall Street and the Cycle of Crises
Andrew Levine
Viva Trump?