"This is a devil, and no monster; I will leave him; I have no long spoon.'" --Shakespear, The Tempest
On Tuesday a group of Manhattan's elite accepted an invitation to dine with Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadienajd. Time Magazine's Richard Stengel recounts the vening here, and gives us a glimpse of the guest list which included NBC's Brian Williams and CNN's Christiane Amanpour. Stengel's column began:
The invitation was on creamy stationery with fancy calligraphy: The Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran "requests the pleasure" of my company to dine with H.E. Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The dinner is at the Intercontinental Hotel — with names carefully written out at all the place settings around a rectangular table. There are about 50 of us, academics and journalists mostly. There's Brian Williams across the room, and Christiane Amanpour a few seats down. And at a little after 8pm, on a day when he has already addressed the U.N., the evening after his confrontation at Columbia, a bowing and smiling Mahmoud Admadinejad glides into the room.
Would you have accepted the hospitality of the government of Iran in order to dialogue with the fanatic who is the darling of the world's media this week?
On Tuesday night I was a continet away from the Intercontinental Hotel, speaking to a large pro-life audience in Visalia, California. After my talk which touched on both the eneemy abroad and the crumbling of Constitutional majoritarianism at home, I was signing books and conversing with as many of the audience who wanted to chat when I was honored to meet Lynda Unger, a gold star mother, whose son Lt. Daniel Unger had been killed in Iraq in 2004. (Lt. Unger's father, a Baptist minister, became a National Guard chaplain a few months later.)
On the long drive home --it took about three and a half hours-- I thought about Mr. and Mrs. Unger, the sorrow they carry and the honor that is owed them and their son. Almost four thousand of America's finest have died fighting a war that must be won, and thousands more wounded.
What I cannot understand is how any American can accept an invitation to dine on Iran's tab even as that regime ships weapons and advisors into Iraq to kill more of the nation's finest. It is beyond moral confusion --it is moral collapse.
Journalists do have to cover evil fanatics. We need to cover them. Without a free press I could not relay to you what Ahmadienjad said from the U.N.'s podium yesterday: