Springtime for Mahmoud

Diane Sawyer sat down to ask Mahmoud Ahmadinejad [MA] some tough questions today, and a weather report broke out. Having spent last week in Syria, Diane is now in Iran on the second leg of her All-Dictator Tour. She began her interview of MA, televised on this morning's GMA, by asking him "are you sending Iranian weapons into Iraq?"

In lieu of an answer, MA went Sam Champion on Sawyer: "Let me first say good morning to our viewers all over the states and its good people, and let me tell them that we have spring weather here in Tehran, and I hope it will be spring all over the world."

He stopped just short of giving a shout-out to his homies Parvin, Roshan and Farzan in Bel-Air.

What followed was a series of non-denial denials that were laughable in their evasiveness.

View edited video clip here.

"We shy away from any kind of conflict, any kind of bloodshed." So shy, that Mahmoud, the guy who has repeatedly threatened the U.S. and vowed to wipe Israel off the map.

He then subscribed to the DNC approach to conflict resolution: "The world's problems can be solved through dialogue, through the use of logic and a sense of friendship. There is no need for the use of force."

MA then flashed his famous sense of humor, claiming that "Iraq during the period Saddam was in power had a very good relationship with its neigbhors. We have had a very good relationship with Iraq."

Yes, Iran's relationship with Saddam was a model of friendship -- if you overlook the minor matter of the savage eight-year long war between the two countries in which over a million people perished. And of course Saddam had a "very good relationship" with another of his neighbors -- Kuwait. So good, in fact that Saddam was willing to invade it in order to make it the 19th Iraqi province.

MA then manifested humanitarian concern of Jimmy Carteresque proportion. "We will be sad to see people get killed, no matter who they are. It could be Iraqis, we get sad when we hear they get killed, or anyone who is brought there by force and is put in the middle of a conflict."

When Sawyer offered to show MA documents indicating that the weapons found in Iraq are Iranian, he replied with yet another non sequitur: "More than 160,000 American troops are in Iraq, hundreds of aircraft and helicopters. What are they doing in Iraq?"

Diane tried again, asking with an incredulous tone: "Are you saying there are no Iranian weapons in Iraq?"

MA offered a non-answer so lame it would have gotten him thrown out of the high school debating club: "You see, the position of the government is important. We are opposed to any kind of conflict in Iraq. This is not in our advantage. Anyone who gets killed, we will be sad. It's not important from which religion they are. Can Americans close their long borders? No. But we are opposed to any kind of conflict and also the presence of foreign forces in Iraq and that's why we are opposed to the presence of Americans. We'll tell them: leave the country, and any other foreigner should leave the country, and there should be no foreigner in Iraq, and then you see that you have peace in Iraq."

Jack Murtha couldn't have said it better himself.

When Sawyer broached the topic of the Iranians that US forces had arrested in Iraq, apparently in possession of documents suggesting they were involved in training insurgents, MA went into ACLU mode: "I don't think that in the legal system of the U.S., you have this postulation, that if you arrest someone, you have automatically accused someone. Only people who have committed something wrong can be taken to court. I think this was childish of the U.S. government to do something like that, arresting defenseless people, not allowing them to talk to anyone, and just publishing information in a kind of biased way."

Replied MA when Sawyer flatly asked whether Iranians in Iraq are training militia: "I do not know what you mean by militia."

I guess it depends on what the meaning of militia is.

Mahmoud did manifest one small lapse of his vaunted politesse. Sawyer asked MA if he agreed with the statement by the Iraqi government that if the U.S. pulls out right away, there will be chaos in Iraq, inquiring further as to what he thinks the timetable should be.

MA: "Well, are you here to solve the problem of the American government in Iraq?"

Sawyer: "I'm hoping that you can help solve the problem in Iraq."

MA: "Well, these are some points that must be discussed at the diplomatic level. You're just a journalist."

Just a journalist? Hey, Mahmoud! Where we come from, the MSM has a lot more power than a mere Secretary of State!

Mark was in Iraq in November. Contact him at mark@gunhill.net







Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.