Dear President Ahmadinejad,
Please forgive this tardy response to your letter of early May. We did not reply at first because we doubted the letter’s authenticity. We suspected that someone was trying to play a trick on you. The discourse, you must admit, is unusual for a communication between heads of state. However, now that you have openly admitted that the letter is yours, I will respond.
Thank you for your invitation to accept Islam. As you know, I am a Christian. Throughout your letter you accuse me of being a bad Christian, which leaves me puzzled as to why you think I might make a good Muslim. However, before you proselytize outside your own country, you might want to address the condition of the Islamic faith in Iran.
I am genuinely sorry to hear that so many Iranians, especially the young, have lost their faith because of their profound disillusionment with theocratic clerical rule. Apparently, there is no way for them to distinguish between their religion and your rule. That is understandable since you claim there is none, that your authority comes directly from God and you are ruling in his name. It is no wonder you disdain “liberalism and Western style democracy.” Under it, you would be answerable not only to God, but to the Iranian people, to whom God gave certain “unalienable Rights” that you and the mullahs have chosen to ignore. How ironic that, in the name of God, you deny your people’s God-given rights.
When young Iranians survey the way in which the clerical regime has enriched itself and impoverished the country, and enforced its rule with such harshness, what are they to think of this “God” who rules over them in this way? As a result, they abandon their religion and, unfortunately, many turn to drugs.
Your answer to the abuses under which the Iranian people live is nuclear “power.” Since your country is so richly endowed in oil and natural gas reserves, this is a strange answer. In fact, you so often denounce “lies” in your letter, I am surprised you would engage in such a whopper yourself. No country has conducted a 20-year clandestine program to develop nuclear power for peaceful domestic uses. The reason is that it is perfectly legal to do so in the open. In fact, we would support your nuclear power program, if that is what it was. However, as everyone outside of Cuba, Syria and Belarus knows, you are developing nuclear weapons.
You know that we know you are doing this. In fact, you deliberately exacerbate the free world’s worries with your continued exhortations about wiping Israel off the map. I understand that your policy of confrontation helps you to consolidate your domestic power and that is why you generate so much tension. The more likely you can make it seem that Iran will be attacked from the West, the more Iranians will rally around you. You provoke us. We respond. You get stronger. Since the Iranian people will soon realize we have no intention of attacking them, they will soon weary of this artificial hysteria and begin to wonder why your government fails to provide even the most basic necessities.
We also understand the real reason you want nuclear weapons. Of course, you have the dream of being the regional hegemon, and the prospect of your having nuclear weapons already terrifies your neighbors. But you also want them for the same reason as North Korea. Once you possess nuclear weapons, you believe you will be immune, as is North Korea, from external pressure for domestic political reform. You can tell the world to take a hike and to leave you in peace to oppress your own people. This is why Iranians who wish to see a return to genuine democratic, constitutional order despair at the thought of your succeeding. They know they will be finished, that no one will then dare speak up on their behalf.
So this is not really about nuclear weapons; it is about the rights of the Iranian people â€“ your desire to take them away, and our desire to see them respected. We don’t worry about Great Britain, or France, or now India, having nuclear weapons, because they are democracies; they are founded on the “unalienable Rights” of their peoples. People who are free to exercise those rights seldom seek to take them from others. We, and the rest of the world, are worried because of the nature of your regime, because you deny you own people its rights. Therefore, we take you seriously when you say you will take rights from others â€“ most especially their unalienable right to life â€“ by “wiping them off the map,” and we see you seeking to obtain the means to do this.
We do not think the Iranian people are going to let you get away with this. They see their religion prostituted to power and their great culture traduced by fanatic ideologues. We are on their side.
Thanks for writing.
George W. Bush
P.S. I attach a copy of the Declaration of Independence.
Now that is a reply.
The Weekly Standard has a good article coming out next week that details Hitler Jr’s psychosis and the success he has achieved in rallying some in the radical Islam camp:
WILL THE UNITED STATES declare war on the Islamic Republic of Iran? For months, this question has been the theme of diplomatic and public discourse–with horror usually expressed at the idea. But it now seems that we have this backwards. For the import of the letter that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of Iran, sent to President Bush in the first week of May is that Ahmadinejad and Iran have declared war on the United States. Many reasons are given, but the most fundamental is that the United States is a liberal democracy, the most powerful in the world and the leader of all the others. Liberal democracy, the letter says, is an affront to God, and as such its days are numbered. It would be best if President Bush and others realized this and abandoned it. But at all events, Iran will help where possible to hasten its end.
Neither the Bush administration nor its many critics appear to appreciate the significance, ideological and practical, of the letter. Nor do they appear to appreciate the remarkable boldness of Ahmadinejad personally. For the formal characteristics of the letter as well as its substance have ancient and modern analogs–letters of Muhammad to the Byzantine, Persian, and Ethiopian emperors of his day warning them to accept Islam and his rule or suffer the consequences, and a letter from Khomeini to Mikhail Gorbachev along similar lines.[…]Ahmadinejad’s letter does have a bearing on the struggle over Iran’s pursuit of enriched uranium. Its long catalog of alleged U.S. crimes against Muslim interests and states specifically, and against Africa, Latin America, and the poorer parts of the world more generally, mimics the standard litany of anti-American complaints. It is intended to further undermine support for the United States and weaken its position in the confrontation over Iran’s nuclear program. In this it may have some success. But for these purposes, it need not have presented its critique in a religious and ideological mode, up to and including the charge that Bush is a hypocrite in his claim to be “a follower of Jesus Christ.” That is, Ahmadinejad could have done without the theological “meanderings” about which both the administration and its critics complained. Indeed, for these purposes it would have been better if he had. Bush’s critics–including most recently Russia’s Vladimir Putin–like to charge him with hypocrisy, but they are by and large not concerned with Christian standards. And above all, the attack on liberal democracy could not be assumed to appeal to secular critics. […]Ahmadinejad has attempted to step into bin Laden’s place as the leader of the radical Islamic movement, as the man with the will and capacity to challenge and threaten the United States. Ahmadinejad has already enjoyed some success in parts of the Muslim world. This has been accompanied by the resurgence of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and especially Palestine, where Hamas won control of the Palestinian Authority. This has permitted him to assert, as he does in his letter, that the forces of radical Islam–or, as he would have it, simply Islam–are on a roll. Ahmadinejad has bent every effort to support and join forces with Hamas and may well succeed. And, as always, he has Hezbollah in Lebanon at his disposal.
Thus, Ahmadinejad presents himself as the true heir of Muhammad and Khomeini and may even be suggesting that he is a founder himself. At the least, he presents himself as the spokesman and leader of Islam and the Muslim world in its entirety, transcending the Shiite/Sunni divide. Both this boldness and this claim are consistent with the whole series of pronouncements and actions Ahmadinejad has taken in the brief period since he was elected last summer. But the letter, in its form and substance, raises this to a new and much higher level of clarity and power as well as menace.
From all these developments, the radical movement has gained renewed confidence in the claim, first put forward by Osama bin Laden, that its adversaries, principally the United States, do not have the stomach for a long fight, or even a short one. Islam’s enemies can and will be pushed back and defeated by radical forces, because the latter, unlike their enemies, do not fear death and even welcome it. They can even, as Ahmadinejad recently said, accept the possibility of nuclear war as a necessity of the struggle. Altogether the spirits of the radical Islamic movement are high, and Ahmadinejad is the most powerful voice of that spirit.[…]It is necessary to inform Ahmadinejad and his radical allies that they are in for a real fight. This may not suffice to lead them to question their fundamental assumption and inspiration that we are on the run. But it may give pause to the many Muslims and non-Muslims standing on the sidelines, who see radical success and do not see American or Western resolve.
Of course the best person to make the first such declaration is President Bush–not as a Christian but as the world’s leading liberal democrat. And not to Ahmadinejad, for whom a direct reply would be a victory, but to the Iranian people, the Muslim world, and the non-Muslim world.
Ahmadinejad means to start a war, in fact he has already all but declared war, and must never be permitted in gaining that bomb.