Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Ahmadinejad , Free Speech, and and my right to know

There are people who were upset to the point of frothing mouths that Ahmadinejad was invited to speak in a public format. On my favorite radio program the other day, World Have Your Say, many of the more popular points were illustrated. Cries that “freedom of speech only extended to America.” People said he was a insane lunatic that shouldn’t be given a voice. Other people said it was an insult because he denies the holocaust. Many others, though I shiver when I hear it, said that, “ it would be an insult to the people who died on 9-11 to have one of our attackers come to ground zero.” Of course there is nothing but a connection of ignorance on the part of the accusers there.

As all things political are, there is more depth then most of your “Dancing with the stars” viewers can reason. There are a few Issues here. Let us first tackle “freedom of Speech”. Freedom of speech, like any other "freedom", stops only at the point where its exercise causes the restriction of the freedoms of another individual. For instance "Perjury" is not inconsequential free speech.

This is especially true when used to imprison, mislead justice, or financially impair another individual. IF the courts are asking questions they really have no jurisdiction to ask and it causes no harm as a result, then maybe perjury is still free speech. For instance, if a judge investigating a fraud and money laundering scheme, asks a defendant about an unrelated sexual encounter, then the defendant might forgivably lie. If it was a divorce judge asking the same question, that would be punishable. If a grand jury investigating how top secret information was leaked to the public so all, including our enemies, could use it and a citizen perjures himself and says he “doesn’t know how the secret information was leaked”. Then, if later it is proven that he did know, then he is to be held accountable. The point is this, free speech is one of if not the only “relative freedom.” I for instance can say, "Iraq has weapons of mass destruction and we should invade." And it would not be a crime. I am nobody, the results of my speech would be a few nodding heads and a few shaking heads. However, if a president says the same thing and he says it in a speech to the legislators deciding weather to grant permission to kill hundreds of thousands of people, bankrupt the economy, divert money that would have improved overall security, then the relationship a different statue applies. Because of his strength and credibility the power of the word is different. If it turns out to be wrong, the president must be held accountable for it. I too should be held accountable by the people who were shaking their heads in disbelief., but not to a judiciary process. But not holding the president accountable damages the credibility of the office, and by relation, the security of the nation.


The Second issue of importance comes from the other side who complained their invited guest was treated badly. Ahmadinejad was not invited to speak as a respected scholar. It seems he and many Americans assumed that was the guise of his invitation. It was immediately evident from the opening that he was not. He was being called on the carpet by a branch of the American citizenry to answer charges leveled against him. The reason why we all watched him was not because we were all being guardians of the constitution. Columbia University did what the Bush administration should have done themselves.


We watched him to determining a threat. We the US have been told for 6 years now how we should fear this man and his ideologies. The problem is that the people who told us to fear him have lost all credibility by being wrong on nearly every other assertion. The same people who tell us Ahmadinejad is a threat is the same people who told us that Iraq had WMD, pardoned a liar, spend our way out of recession, that they would bring the perpetrators of 9/11 to justice, hid un-American virtues such as torture and wire tapping program, gave No-bid contracts to their business partners and I could go on. These statements and subsequent actions subtract from their credibility. Had they not lost so much credibility by being right about anything during their roles as leader, giving a platform and hearing the words from a person they say is "Evil" might not have been necessary. If the Bush administration really wants to regain credibility about these issues, they need to have transparency. Invite Kim Jong il over and ask him the hard question. I would rather you supply him a list of topics so he has time to distinct fully answer his charges opposed to just leveling them blind side. (I am personally horrible at instant debate.)


As a side to giving people we deem enemies, I would prefer if we give them their own 24 hour cable show. Somewhere in my education I remember something about the key to negotiation with a hostile adversary is to keep them talking. It is the easiest way to judge their intent. It is also true that very little is spoken during a boxing, wrestling, athletic sport match during the combat. It is just not practical to talk and fight. When communications close down you loose insight into their intent and allow them to gather strength for the attack. Look how much time, energy, and money we spend trying to track down each Bin Ladden communication when it is received. Investigators would tell you they wish he would put out releases more often.



I as an American need to know if the threat is real. My leaders have mislead me before. It is my right to have all the information. Ahmadinejad's invitation was not a matter his right of free speech. Its intent was to determine the credibility of the information about him that has come from a non-credible source. If the assertions are true, what is to worry about letting the man defend himself? It is why freedom requires presumed innocence. If Bush and company would practice the freedom to hear (of information) more then the freedom to speak we might not be in the quagmire we are in.



There are populations in Venezuela, North Korea, and Iran that have been told president Bush is “the great Satan” and “the devil”. It would be great if before these people became soldiers in the armies against us that Bush could have a platform where he could defend the charges against him. Although I am not sure that I don’t believe that he isn’t the devil, or at least a close relative. He might have a hard time convincing millions of people who have had their lives affected by his foreign policies. But it would be nice that he would get that chance.

Free Speech is not an "American" right. It is an “inalienable human right" and that is held to be "self evident". Americans have become so self absorbed and generations have lead us to believe that our outhouse are rose gardens. We all preach “freedom” but then we tall the government that we haven’t the capacity to choose what we should eat, drink, smoke, hear, say, see, think, or screw. Our founder would roll in their liberal graves. The best way to teach a new democracy is to let them taste the freedom. So what he denies the Holocaust. So what he says Israel should be destroyed. So what he thinks there are no homosexuals in his country. They are of no threat of business of mine. He damages his credibility rating by saying those things, but he has a long way to go to get to the low levels of some of the people who have accused him.


You know that there is one right all of "the complainers" forget to exercise. The right not to watch. The conservative channels could have easily just not mentioned it. There were lots of speakers and lots of speeches all around the country that day. Only one was covered by the conservative, close minded, chest beater. I am pretty sure Rush or O’Racist was on somewhere. (If a “evil dictator” speaks to an all liberal general assembly and there is no close minded conservative there to hear it, was anything actually said?)


You can not teach your children not to drink and smoke while smoking and drinking a beer. You can not teach the nations of the world that nuclear weapons and war are unnecessary while you wave the "nuclear option" as a threat and start wars all over the Middle East. You can not tell one nation that they sponsor terrorism that kills civilians while you have high paid contractors out there killing civilians. People are as terrified of a carpet bomb and a 50 cal as they are a suicide bomber. Your kids won't give you credibility, and neither will the people of the world’s nations.



"The devil came here yesterday," Chavez said, referring to Bush, who addressed
the world body during its annual meeting Tuesday. "And it smells of sulfur still
today."



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