From FoxNews: Iran's President Criticizes Bush in Private Letter.
Iran's president declared in a letter to President Bush that democracy had failed worldwide and lamented "an ever-increasing global hatred" of the U.S. government. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice swiftly rejected the letter, saying it made no progress toward resolving questions about Tehran's suspect nuclear program.
"This letter is not the place that one would find an opening to engage on the nuclear issue or anything of the sort," Rice said. "It isn't addressing the issues that we're dealing with in a concrete way."
Rice's comments were the most detailed response from the United States to the letter, the first from an Iranian head of state to an American president since the 1979 hostage crisis at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.
The letter from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made only an oblique reference to Iran's nuclear intentions. It asked why "any technological and scientific achievement reached in the Middle East region is translated into and portrayed as a threat to the Zionist regime."
Otherwise, it lambasted Bush for his handling of the Sept. 11 attacks, accused the media of spreading lies about the Iraq war and railed against the United States for its support of Israel. It questioned whether the world would be a different place if the money spent on Iraq had been spent to fight poverty.
UPDATE I -- May 10: James Lileks has an insightful translation of Ahmadinejad's letter. (via Tom Pechinski)
Dear Infidel Crusader Zionist sock-puppet Saudi-lackey depoiler of Mesopotamia woman-touching pigdog fiendish (293 words excised) Shah-licking son of a toad’s offal: I trust this finds you well. I have much on my mind, and have taken the pen to unburden my breast. I have enclosed a self-addressed stamped envelope should you wish to reply.
(429 words concerning Jewish penetration of the Postal System excised)
. . . Do you not realize you are beaten, as a donkey is beaten, but knoweth not his donkeyhood is cursed? Your comics have turned against you in your own lair, and mock you without mercy. We have seen the videos of the Meal of the Correspondents, and we know how your left regards the men of the laugh as prophets and seers. It is only a matter of time before Johnny Carson (applause be upon him) returns from occlusion to request that you, Mr. President, take the Slauson cutoff, get out of your car, and cut off your Slauson, Hi-yo, salaam. And a third part of the Slauson shall be stained with the tears of the womenfolk, and (9323 words excised)
UPDATE II: On a more serious note, Robert Spencer wonders if the letter is a prelude to an attack.
UPDATE III -- May 11: Iowahawk has another satirical take.
It would be wrong to dismiss Ahmadinejad's letter to Bush as just another of the Islamic leader's many weird habits. It would be more prudent, and better politics, to take Ahmadinejad seriously and try and understand him in his own terms.
His letter contains a crucial message: The present regime in Iran is the enemy of the current international system and is determined to undermine and, if possible, destroy it.
It would be wrong to dismiss that message as the product of a 50-year-old teenager's folie de grandeur. Ahmadinejad believes that the "Hidden Imam" is about to return and that it is the duty of the Islamic Republic to provoke a "clash of civilizations" to hasten that return.
As he asserts in his letter, Ahmadinejad also believes that the liberal-democratic model of market-based capitalist societies has failed and is rejected even in its traditional homeland. He has been impressed by the recent riots in France, where the extreme left provided the leadership but the Muslim sub-proletariat much of the muscle in the streets.
Rather than ignoring Ahmadinejad's letter, President Bush should reply to him by inviting him to abandon Khomeinism and convert to liberal democracy. For, when all is said and done, the fight over Iran today is not about real or imagined nuclear weapons; it is about the kind of Iran with which the Middle East, indeed the whole world, can feel comfortable.
Posted by Forkum at May 9, 2006 05:00 PM