Apparently he decided to bypass the White House and write to us directly, since George W. Bush never responded to an 18-page letter that Ahmadinejad sent to him back in May.
I want to say upfront that I'm no fan of Ahmadinejad. He seems to be a serious nutcase, and we need to keep an eye on him.
That said, however, contrary to Bush's black-and-white worldview, no one is all good or all evil. Human beings are much too complex for that.
Therefore, I shouldn't have been so surprised to find that Ahmadinejad's latest letter actually made some very rational and practical points (once you get past the invocations to Allah). Some examples:
"Let's take a look at Iraq. Since the commencement of the US military presence in Iraq, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been killed, maimed or displaced. Terrorism in Iraq has grown exponentially. With the presence of the US military in Iraq, nothing has been done to rebuild the ruins, to restore the infrastructure or to alleviate poverty. The US Government used the pretext of the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but later it became clear that that was just a lie and a deception.
"Although Saddam was overthrown and people are happy about his departure, the pain and suffering of the Iraqi people has persisted and has even been aggravated."
"You have heard that the US administration is kidnapping its presumed opponents from across the globe and arbitrarily holding them without trial or any international supervision in horrendous prisons that it has established in various parts of the world. God knows who these detainees actually are, and what terrible fate awaits them.
"You have certainly heard the sad stories of the Guantanamo and Abu-Ghraib prisons. The US administration attempts to justify them through its proclaimed "war on terror." But every one knows that such behavior, in fact, offends global public opinion, exacerbates resentment and thereby spreads terrorism, and tarnishes the US image and its credibility among nations.
"The US administration's illegal and immoral behavior is not even confined to outside its borders. You are witnessing daily that under the pretext of "the war on terror," civil liberties in the United States are being increasingly curtailed. Even the privacy of individuals is fast losing its meaning. Judicial due process and fundamental rights are trampled upon. Private phones are tapped, suspects are arbitrarily arrested, sometimes beaten in the streets, or even shot to death."
"The US administration does not accept accountability before any organization, institution or council. The US administration has undermined the credibility of international organizations, particularly the United Nations and its Security Council. But, I do not intend to address all the challenges and calamities in this message.
"The legitimacy, power and influence of a government do not emanate from its arsenals of tanks, fighter aircrafts, missiles or nuclear weapons. Legitimacy and influence reside in sound logic, quest for justice and compassion and empathy for all humanity. The global position of the United States is in all probability weakened because the administration has continued to resort to force, to conceal the truth, and to mislead the American people about its policies and practices."
"Is there not a better approach to governance?
"Is it not possible to put wealth and power in the service of peace, stability, prosperity and the happiness of all peoples through a commitment to justice and respect for the rights of all nations, instead of aggression and war?
"We all condemn terrorism, because its victims are the innocent.
"But, can terrorism be contained and eradicated through war, destruction and the killing of hundreds of thousands of innocents?
"If that were possible, then why has the problem not been resolved?"
"Now that Iraq has a Constitution and an independent Assembly and Government, would it not be more beneficial to bring the US officers and soldiers home, and to spend the astronomical US military expenditures in Iraq for the welfare and prosperity of the American people? As you know very well, many victims of Katrina continue to suffer, and countless Americans continue to live in poverty and homelessness."[Read the full text of the letter.]
Sounds like a lot of the stuff I've written over the past few years.
Nevertheless, we have to take Ahmadinejad's words about human rights and human dignity with a grain of salt. After all, Iran's human rights record is even worse than our own.
If every world leader who talks about human rights were also to actually protect human rights, imagine how much nicer the world would be today.