Charles stresses the fact that they say “afraid”. What are they afraid of? Demonizing him. Yes, we wouldn’t want to demonize a guy that calls for the destruction of the United States and Israel, is in the pursuit of nuclear weapons, violating international law, sending weapons to kill our troops in Iraq, and funding terror groups across the Middle East.
We fear the demonization of Ahmadinejad, because we think this demonization contributes to the likelihood of war. In the current climate, with many on the political right in the U.S. and Israel pushing for air strikes, a campaign against Ahmadinejad is dangerous, regardless of the intentions of most involved. A call to action, unless it prominently rules out war, implies military action.
A rally where each speaker denounces Ahmadinejad’s reactionary policies and just a few call explicitly for military action will still be perceived, on campus and around the U.S., as pro-war. The right-wing media, from Fox News to the New York tabloids, has already jumped on the event, and will spin it to favor their cause. Conservative organizations with no affiliation to Columbia’s campus, such as the David Project, have already signed on to the rally on Facebook, and are likely to distribute hundreds of warmongering flyers and picket signs. The rally will seem to be a sea of pro-war demonstrators — and the more people who attend it and the more organizations that endorse it, the more powerful this disastrous message will be.
A U.S. attack on Iran, which is not an inevitability but is a real possibility, would have consequences just as terrible as the invasion of Iraq. Thousands would die in initial air strikes, and more in the resulting backlash and regional conflagration. The work of Iranian campaigners for free speech, women’s rights, and lesbian and gay liberation, and against racism and anti-semitism, would be set back immeasurably.
Yes, don’t protest his killing of our troops in Iraq, pursuit of nuclear weapons, violation of international law, calls for destruction and funding terror groups because, ya know, the U.S. might actually respond to it.
“All they are saaaaaying, is give Jihad a chance.”
Incidentally, note how few “right-wing media” sources they can actually name.