When pur­ple prose can be deadly

The Washington Times Weekly - - National -

The most vi­cious dic­ta­tors in the na­tions of the re­li­gion of peace aren’t very com­pe­tent mil­i­tary com­man­ders. They nearly al­ways wind up with de­stroyed armies and acres of wi­d­ows, or­phans and rub­ble. But they usu­ally have imag­i­na­tive writ­ers to feed large egos and big mouths. Theirs is pur­ple prose writ­ten in blood.

Sad­dam Hus­sein promised “the mother of all bat­tles,” and de­liv­ered some­thing he might have sent to his fa­vorite mother-in-law for her birth­day. The rat­tle and bang of the mother of all bat­tles turned out to be barely the squeal of a pig. His army, led by the Repub­li­can Guard, raced back to Bagh­dad with Norman Sch­warzkopf in hot pur­suit and only Chris­tian mercy saved the army from mas­sacre.

Mah­moud Ah­madine­jad, the ridicu­lously ec­cen­tric pres­i­dent of Iran, is an honor stu­dent of the Sad­dam Hus­sein School of Hy­per­bole. Goofy though he is, he will soon pre­side over a nu­clear weapon if some­one doesn’t stop him. When he prom­ises to “wipe Is­rael off the map” only fools, like many of our Euro­pean cousins, treat his threat as merely the taunt of the school­yard bully, and then it’s back to stuff­ing their faces with cheeses and sausages.

Mr. Ah­madine­jad sets him­self up as a clown, dis­pens­ing hy­per­bole as if it were cot­ton candy. “Hezbol­lah de­stroyed at least half of Is­rael in the Le­banon war,” he told the Tehran news­pa­per Key­han. “Now only half the path [to its de­struc­tion] re­mains. It was proven that, by means of an of­fen­sive op­er­a­tion that need not be equal to Is­rael’s moves, it is pos­si­ble to neu­tral­ize the Zion­ist navy.

“Just as in one 33-day war more than 50 per­cent of Is­rael was de­stroyed, and the hope of its sup­port­ers for the con­tin­ued life of this regime was bro­ken, it is likely in the next bat­tle the sec­ond half will also col­lapse.

“On that day [. . .] Jor­dan will not be able to pre­vent the Jor­da­nian Is­lamists from op­er­at­ing through the long Jor­danPales­tine border and the mil­lions of Egyp­tian Is­lamists [. . .] will not let the Si­nai-Is­rael border re­main quiet, and the Syr­ian Golan Heights will not re­main as a [mere] ob­server of the bat­tle. That day is not so far off.”

If “ifs” and “buts” were candy and nuts, as some­one’s wise old granny once said, we would all have a Merry Christ­mas (or a Happy Hanukkah, a kickin’ Kwan­zaa or even a ri­otous Ra­madan), and Mr. Ah­madine­jad pro­vokes bit­ter mirth with ev­ery pro­nounce­ment. But so did Sad­dam Hus­sein, with his vain­glo­ri­ous boast about moth­ers and bat­tles, and the hun­dreds of thou­sands of corpses that lit­tered the Iraqi (and Kuwaiti) land­scape were grim enough tes­ti­mony that just as the devil can quote Scrip­ture, so can a vain despot in­flict great harm to un­wary in­no­cents.

“The great war is ahead of us,” the Ira­nian pres­i­dent told an­other Tehran news­pa­per, Re­salat (as trans­lated by the Mid­dle East Me­dia Re­search In­sti­tute). “It will break out per­haps to­mor­row, or in an­other few days, or in a few months, or even a few years. [. . .] Is­rael must col­lapse. For the first time in 60 years of its dis­grace­ful life the Zion­ist regime — the West’s beloved in the Mid­dle East — tasted the taste of de­feat, and the cit­i­zens of this regime trem­bled at the men­ace of Hezbol­lah’s mis­chief. The na­tion of Mus­lims must pre­pare for this great war so as to com­pletely wipe out the Zion­ist regime, and re­move his can­cer­ous growth.”

Once upon a time the West could treat this kind of Is­lamic boil­er­plate as the amus­ing rant of a dork, pres­i­dent or not, a dork who gets mes­sages from Muham­mad in par­adise, as broad­cast to a bi­cus­pid. But Mr. Ah­madine­jad is not as dumb as he sounds and is only half as dumb as he looks. Iran, though af­flicted with large pock­ets of grind­ing poverty, is a first­world coun­try with com­pe­tent chemists, physi­cists and even rocket sci­en­tists, all de­voted to join­ing soon as na­tions with the Is­lamic bomb.

Once de­vel­oped by Iran, nu­clear weapons will spread quickly to Bangladesh, Syria, Egypt and through­out the Mid­dle East. That’s why the Euro­peans who are still up and awake, hav­ing re­turned from hav­ing their wives fit­ted for their first burqas, are count­ing on Amer­ica or Is­rael deal­ing with the Ira­nian nu­clear threat. Ev­ery­body knows the Jews can do it, and they have the manly orbs to get it done. Does any­body else?

Wesley Pruden is ed­i­tor in chief of The Times.

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