The U.S. and other Western delegations to the United Nations walked out in protest this week when Iranian Prime Minister Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stated that most people believe the U.S. government "orchestrated" the 911 attacks "to reverse the declining American economy," maintain U.S. influence in the Middle East, and "save the Zionist regime."
The idea that these comments are horribly offensive, a view held not just by the U.S. government, but by the representatives of the European Union, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Costa Rica, all of whom walked out upon hearing them, is curious - and unconvincing.
Mark Kornblau, spokesman for the U.S. mission at the U.N., came unglued, raving that, "Rather than representing the aspirations and goodwill of the Iranian people, Mr. Ahmadinejad has yet again chosen to spout vile conspiracy theories and anti-Semitic slurs that are as abhorrent and delusional as they are predictable."
But why are Ahmadinejad's remarks "vile"? U.S. foreign policy itself is extremely vile, what with the mass killing of civilians, occupation of foreign lands, appropriation of resources that belong to others, ecological devastation, diplomatic coercion, and endless promotion of armaments and war, so it is not at all clear why the accusation that the U.S. government orchestrated 911 should be considered an intolerable affront to Washington's illusory dignity. Far greater crimes have been carried out by U.S. leaders going back over two centuries, a historical record that should long since have inured U.S. diplomats to charges of deliberate mass murder, whether real or imagined.
But imperialist murderers are a notoriously touchy lot, and cannot bear to have their childish illusions challenged, especially by the leader of an upstart Third World nation that goes its own way, undeterred by slander, threats, and sanctions. God forbid that anyone should deviate from echoing the self-congratulatory rhetoric of smugly self-satisfied "leaders" in the West.
It is presumably "anti-Semitic" to suggest that Washington acted to preserve Israel's apartheid state, as though the U.S. weren't always already doing this - before, during, and after the 911 attacks. This does not, of course, mean that the attacks were orchestrated by Washington, but it does suggest that U.S. defensiveness about acting on behalf of Israel is an avoidance reaction. What's the big deal about being accused of putting Israel first when U.S. leaders are constantly declaring eternal loyalty to the Jewish state based on a shared set of timeless values, and acting accordingly?
It must be that killing thousands of American citizens (allegedly) on behalf of Israel is the intolerable insult, but if this is so why weren't the diplomats who staged the walk-out equally offended by the thousands of Americans killed in Iraq on behalf of a neo-con vision of the world drafted in Israel during the first Netanyahu Administration? (See Israel's position paper, "A Clean Break: A Strategy For Securing The Realm.")
In fact, Ahmadinejad's speech was far better than one ever gets from the vast majority of U.S. leaders, who are addicted to bombast, piety, and rhetorical grandstanding, and offer no insight into world problems. Ahmadinejad at least forthrightly admits that capitalism has failed, that Middle East peace talks can't succeed because the rights of the Palestinian people are not taken into account, and nuclear disarmament is endlessly postponed because the nuclear nations, especially the United States, continually stockpile nuclear weapons, even as they call for Iran to forswear nuclear energy, which is not illegal.
In short, political "failure" in the contemporary world is caused by political success - the success of a waning U.S. Empire in dominating discussion employing an irrational set of terminology - disarmament as a synonym for evolving and stockpiling new weapons, peace as a synonym for war, and "freedom" meaning submission to unbridled corporate power and the national security state.
"Ahmadinejad U.N. Speech Sparks Walkouts," BBC News Online, September 24, 2010