President Bush is currently lurching through another speech at the UN. My roommate is watching it, and I'm in the office wincing at every ill-timed pause. The short bursts of undeniable statements ("The world knows how to stop malaria! Mosquito nets! Medicines! Spraying for insects!") that work so well when appealing to American voters sounds positively idiotic when delivered in between a beautifully crafted rhetoric delivered by leaders of other countries. I'm only tuning in occasionally--I learned long ago that in order to prevent myself from pulling my hair out I should read Prez Bush's speeches online instead of watching them--but I'm really struck by how bad his speaking abilities are. Just listening to the sound of this speech is hard.
I also find it interesting that President Mahmoud Amaninijad (I know I misspelled that, but there you go) of Iran was invited to speak at Columbia College--the dean of the college defended his position by saying that "Just because we are willing to listen to opposing or distateful viewpoints does not mean we condone them." Again, I paraphrase, but that was the sentence that stuck with me. It sounded perfectly reasonable to me--but apparently not to everyone. My roommate is confused why Amanidijad was allowed to speak at all--surely he should have been sniped on the way into the press conference. And a woman who graduated from Columbia tore up her diploma because she was so disgusted with the college. I was really started by that particularly--surely you would be PROUD that your university was encouraging differing viewpoints and inviting challenging speakers? After watching the news coverage of Prez. A-jad, I was actually pretty glad he spoke--all of the attention merely held up a spotlight while he proved to the world what a scary psychopath he really is. Students laughed when he said that he didn't believe in the Holocaust, but it's statements like that that will focus the attention on what a delusional dictator he is. How can we believe him about his nuclear intentions when he is convinced that 10 million people weren't systematically killed by the Third Reich? (altho--there are some schools of thought that are trying to coinvince us that nuclear power is a "green" alternative to oil-based fuels, so perhaps Prez. A.M. is merely trying to lessen depence on foreign oil...) Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is, is does us no harm to listen--after all, he wasn't persecuting women up on stage in front of the cameras.
I'm just worried that we're going to get provoked into a war with Iran. As opposed to Iraq, where someone made up a reason and we got all het up and charged in there. Now the attention is on Iran, and Americans are going to start asking why we aren't in THERE kicking some dictator butt. And I feel like the Iranian gov't understands this, and is going to continue to provoke us until we either have a military strike or invasions or something military. (Alas--my knowledge of military tactics peters out somewhere around the last cavalry charge at Waterloo.) Already there are stories about Iran closing their border with Iraq. It's very worrying. I'm listening very closely, and I'm not too happy about what I'm hearing.