It is a human nature truth that sooner or later, parallel characteristics will surface between opposing extremist views, and the people who hold them.
Consider the bizarre similarities that have become evident between US president George W. Bush and Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Both of these guys came into power under questionable circumstances, at best. They both promised improved conditions for their people that failed to materialize.
Both of these men hate each other, and would like nothing better than to destroy each other and each othersâ€™ ability to make war. They would love to stand upon the body of the other, proclaiming loudly that (insert your favorite deity here) was on their side.
In the run-up to a possible attack by Iran on Israel, and equally in a run-up to an attack by the US on Iran, there are those on both sides that are planning for the destruction of the otherâ€™s war-making capability in minute detail. And they are both denying that such activity exists.
A significant similarity is the denial of reality that both these presidents demonstrated to the rest of the world.
Both men are fond of pointing the finger at others and blaming those others for the problems they face. Bush saw Iraq, Iran and North Korea as the â€œaxis of evilâ€. He pushed for the US invasion of Iraq on false pretenses, stating that we had to invade Iraq to prevent a greater war from occurring. The premise was that, ostensively, the other countries were planning for war against their neighbors and the US. Ahmadinejad, on the other hand, has rattled the saber against the US, claiming that it is on the verge of invading Iran. (some people in the US in a position to know things that the average citizen doesnâ€™t say that Ahmadinejad may not be that far from the truth).
What is more telling is that both men seem to have a very poor view of the people they represent. They both make statements that seem to indicate that they think most people are utterly stupid and uninformed. Just this week, Ahmadinejad publicly declared, in what was probably the worst possible venue on the planet to do so (Columbia University), that there are no gays in Iran. While laughable, it is no different from Bush declaring that the Iraqi people love us, or that he is a asset to the Republican party in its seemingly futile pursuit to regain a majority in Congress and retain the US presidency in 2008.
Just prior to Ahmadinejadâ€™s speech at Columbia, the president of Columbia University, Lee Bollinger, gave a scathing speech about Ahmadinejad, saying he exhibits “all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator.”
Isn’t that the way any educated person would describe a US president that suspends basic civil rights such as habeas corpus, the right to legal representation, the right be free from torture and from warrant-less government surveillance, the right to hope for a cure because of supported stem cell research, and the right to expect that the president and his administration wonâ€™t commit violations of numerous laws and the US Constitution because he thinks he knows better and heâ€™s the â€œdeciderâ€?
Finally, both of these guys hide behind their respective religions as the motivating force behind their conduct and many of their decisions.
It does seem that these two â€œleadersâ€ really believe that the public hangs on their every word as if each was a gift of knowledge to the ignorant masses of the world. But in the real world they would be well served to stop denying what failures they are as leaders and to simply finish out their terms of office quietly. As Donald Trump said earlier this week in an interview with Wolf Blitzer in the Situation Room on CNN, his best advice for Bush would be for the president to stop talking and find a far corner to hid in. That advice could apply equally to Ahmadinejad.
The republicans campaigning for president must be hoping for the same thing. But itâ€™s a good bet that Bush will not be quieted or influenced by the needs of his party, any more than US senator Larry Craig (R) Idaho is, or Ahmadinejad is. After all, they know better, right?
And the democrats couldnâ€™t be happier, had they planned all this themselves.