Thursday, September 20

Anger Over Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Visit is Misplaced

Surely everyone knows by now that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wanted to go to the World Trade Center site for what had to be a media stunt. This of course generated a great amount of outrage. He request has been denied, but that was only to go into the site. There is nothing to stop him from going down there to visit like any other tourist can do now, once he gets into the country.

That is where we should really direct our anger, not for what he wants to do in the US, but that the US Government saw fit to permit him to enter the US at all. That is outrageous. Just because he is the President of Iran, does not give him a free pass to come to the US, he still has to apply for and be issued a visa. It is our right as host to the UN to deny him entry and as the leader of a country that the US State Department (the issuer of his visa) has listed as sponsor of terrorism, that alone should disqualify him.

State Sponsors of Terrorism

Country -- (Designation Date)
Cuba -- (March 1, 1982)
Iran -- (January 19, 1984)
North Korea -- (January 20, 1988)
Sudan -- (August 12, 1993)
Syria -- (December 29, 1979)


Countries determined by the Secretary of State to have repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism are designated pursuant to three laws: section 6(j) of the Export Administration Act, section 40 of the Arms Export Control Act, and section 620A of the Foreign Assistance Act. Taken together, the four main categories of sanctions resulting from designation under these authorities include restrictions on U.S. foreign assistance; a ban on defense exports and sales; certain controls over exports of dual use items; and miscellaneous financial and other restrictions.- US Dept of State

In order for the State Department to grant him a visa, they first had to get permission from Homeland Security to issue the damn thing. In yet another sign of problems with how Homeland Security works, they did grant permission:

The State Department had to seek a special waiver for Ahmadinejad from the Department of Homeland Security because of unresolved allegations that he was involved in the 1979-81 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, in which 52 hostages were held for 444 days. - Washington Post

So not only did the State Department decide to grant Ahmadinejad a visa to insult us from inside the UN in NY, but someone inside Homeland Security gave them the green light to do it. What is the point of having all these checks and balances if they are never used? There is no mention if all 130+ officials Iran submitted applications for were also issued visas. Keep in mind that Iran is currently in violation of UN Security Council Sanctions.

President Bush is missing a great opportunity to score points at home by denying Ahmadinejad, and Chavez, access to the UN. They don't deserve it. One was here last year insulting our President and the other is threatening to wipe another member country off the map. A declaration that might just earn him charges of inciting genocide. Also, if the US is pursuing ‘regime change’ in Iran, than it should have refused to issue him a visa. Issuing him a visa sends mixed signals to those back home who are fighting for change.

Permitting Ahmadinejad to visit the US, for any reason, would be like the US permitting Hitler to visit the UN in 1939 - 1941 had it been around. We would not have done it then, so why now? I understand the State Department wanting to grant him the Visa as one of their responsibilities to the UN to be 'good-hosts' but in this case that action should have been checked by Homeland Security which should be operating under different priorities. (Oddly enough, if the UN was around at that time, you could bet that the Soviet Union would have vetoed any attempt to stop Hitler. If anything, having the UN around at that time might have actually permitted Hitler to consolidate his gains with calls for a 'diplomatic solution' to the crisis, with the Soviet Union pursuing 'quiet diplomacy'. Thank God the UN was not around then! We might never have recovered.)

Not for anything, but I bet that this will be one good deed that will not be unpunished. I wonder, did the State Department OK his visit because they have no problem with him attacking the President?

Update: 20 Sept 2007

Like I mentioned above, just because his request to visit the WTC site was rejected, does not prevent him from going there. According to this post by Michelle Malkin, that is just what he plans to do:

A law enforcement source says the Iranian mission to the United Nations has informed the Secret Service that the Iranian president intends to visit Ground Zero Monday at 10 a.m.

The source says regardless of the NYPD’s rejection of the request for a Ground Zero tour, Iran’s president and his entourage will be accompanied by a Secret Service protective detail, a detail provided to all heads of state when they visit the United States. - Michelle Malkin

Thank you so much for looking out for us/US, State Department!

No comments: