Forward editorial, September 26:
If Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s fire-breathing buffoon of a president, had any doubts about the contempt and loathing he inspires in America and the West, his reception in New York this week should have cleared things up for him. Should have — but probably did not.
No, Ahmadinejad probably left New York more confirmed than ever in his warped image of an American society in the thrall of malign forces. He may even imagine that he proved himself in the eyes of the world as a fearless warrior for truth and justice, that he showed himself ready to march into the very belly of the beast and suffer humiliation and worse at the hands of Zionist bullies. Worse still, it’s possible that observers at the United Nations and in front of television screens around the world were left with that same image: Ahmadinejad in the lions’ den.
The pity is that the people of New York had an opportunity to show the world the true face of the man, but they — we — flubbed it. With the whole world watching, we could have put our democratic values on display. We could have demonstrated the difference between a society of tolerance and free inquiry on one hand, and ignorant fanaticism on the other. We could have handed Ahmadinejad the rope to hang himself. We could have held him up for the bullying thug that he is.
Instead, we put on a display of undisciplined rage, and the Iranian leader was given an opportunity to cloak himself in the mantle of victimhood.