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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Thomas Friedman's "As Ugly as It Gets": It's Actually Much Uglier

Dear Tom,

We met in Lebanon almost 30 years ago.

I am deeply appreciative of your most recent Times op-ed, "As Ugly as It Gets" (, which decries the shameful embrace of Iran's Ahmadinejad by Brazil's Lula and Turkey's Erdogan. By gleefully endorsing the obscene conduct of Ahmadinejad, Lula and Erdogan have become accessories to the ongoing oppression and murder of Iran's Baha'is, homosexuals, Kurds, Sunni Muslims, women and political dissidents. However, Brazil and Turkey are not the only parties at fault.

The watered-down sanctions package against Iran currently being sought by the U.S. could only be arranged after the U.S. lifted sanctions against three Russian entities accused of assisting Iran develop nuclear and missile technology, and a fourth Russian organization which has been selling anti-tank guided missiles to Syria. The door is also now open for Russia to proceed with its sales of advanced S-300 surface-to-air missiles to Iran.

Concerning China, we still don't know which concessions were made by the U.S. in order to allow them also to support, temporarily, the proposed sanctions package against Iran. We do know that Obama does not dare breathe the words "human rights" to the leadership of this country, which holds much of America's debt and is keen on milking Iranian oil.

What about America's European allies, which refuse to terminate their lucrative trade and banking relationships with Iran?

And what about your fellow Times columnist, Roger Cohen, who recently wrote an op-ed, "America Moves the Goalposts", claiming that the Brazilian-Turkish Iran deal is worth pursuing? According to Cohen, "Iran and the United States are unnatural enemies with plenty they might agree on if they ever broke the ice."

Needless to say, in alleging broad American/Iranian concurrence, Cohen ignored such fundamental U.S. values as freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of assembly, the right to petition government for a redress of grievances, protection from unreasonable search and seizure, the right to due process, trial by jury, the right to counsel, and prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment.

In short, Cohen managed to ignore all that is held dear by the U.S. Bill of Rights and which allows each of us to post comments to New York Times op-eds without fear of being hauled off in the middle of the night to the equivalent of Tehran's infamous Evin Prison.

A pity that Cohen over the past year and a half has never taken the time to examine the desperate plight of Iran's Baha'is, the hanging of Iranian homosexuals, or the stoning to death of Iranian women accused of adultery, before pronouncing judgment concerning values held in common by the U.S. and the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Tom, maybe you would be willing to undo this wrong and begin by providing us with a column concerning Iran's Baha'is, whose agonizing persecution goes ignored by an indifferent, self-serving world.

Thank you.




    the IDF is just as ugly. Shame on those who defend these neo-nazis

  2. Hey Anonymous,

    Did you happen to notice that the story you refer to was broken by the Israeli news media? Did you hear the IDF officer acknowledge at the end of the clip that a mistake was made?

    An innocent woman died when a door was blown open. Although her death was not intended, this was indeed a tragic mistake. Now consider how many hundreds of Israelis, including mothers and children, have been purposefully blown to pieces by Palestinian suicide bombers. Consider how many Palestinian women are each year the victims of honor killings perpetrated by their families. Consider how many Muslim women throughout the Middle East are each year the victims of honor killings.

    Again, the death of this woman in 2009 was indeed a tragedy, and I hope those responsible were punished. But face it, anonymous: you're just another closet anti-Semite seeking to diguise your hatred of Jews as hatred of Israel.


  4. Hi, Jeffrey! On top of these compromises with Russia, Russians say that they can opt out of sanctions if and when it will be in Russian interests. They are very vague about S-300 though. One can not get a definite answer whether they will sell it or not.

  5. Hi Marina,

    My feeling is that Russia has yet to decide re the S-300. It's their ace in the hole, which they are holding in reserve until the most advantageous time, taking into account what each of the parties has to offer in return.

  6. Remarkable how "anonymous" couldn't give a damn about the deaths of 5 million persons in the Congo, but lividly denounces allegations of injustice perpetrated by Jews, oops, I mean Israelis.