Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has sent President Bush an 18-page letter, said to be the first direct communication between leaders of the two countries since the fall of the shah.
In the letter, Ahmadinejad shares his views that liberal democratic systems are finished and that Bush should join him in being a religious ruler. What every publication except this column seems to have missed is that the formal letter was accompanied by a short personal note to Bush. The text:
Ha! Ha! Joking. Don’t take it personally. I like to give nicknames to my friends. I call my minister of justice “One Shot.” I think you know why. Unlike your esteemed vice president, he doesn’t miss.
Speaking of Dick Cheney, could we have him when you’re finished? The big fella would look good in a turban and make a great ayatollah. The one we have is a few chickpeas short of an order of hummus, if you get my drift.
Trust me, go easy on religion and politics, take it from one who knows: You don’t want to be working for religious leaders, all that tut-tutting just because I allowed women to attend sporting events. You’d think I commissioned Janet Jackson to do the halftime show at Tehran stadium.
Oh, yes, we do hear some things about your popular culture. I was very fond of Western music, although we haven’t been getting much of it since 1979, when we took your diplomats hostage. (I assure you that my role in that unfortunate incident was limited to chanting “Death to the Great Satan” a few times. Nothing personal. It’s become sort of like the Yale fight song.)
Tell me. Are the Bee Gees still together? In private I really get down with “My Sherona.” The Knack rules! If you’re looking for a gift for me, an iPod loaded with ABBA would be most welcome. But keep it a secret. The mullahs aren’t really cool with music yet.
The reason I am writing privately is that, now that Iran has a nuclear program, we are equals as world leaders and should be friends. Really, the axis of evil is down to just that little weirdo in North Korea. Sometimes, like you, I have to say things I don’t mean for political reasons. That talk about wiping Israel off the map? That’s just to _ how you say? _ energize the base. We call it revving up the ragheads. “Israel! Ka-boom!” and the rials come rolling in. I would very much like to meet your Karl Rove. Invitations to Camp David are possible to come by, yes?
We have much in common, you and I. Just this year I am increasing government spending 50 percent. Even with the oil money we can’t afford it, but, hey, like you I won’t be around when the bills come in. The elites make fun of me, too. They ridicule my manners and my intelligence, even though I have a doctorate in engineering, which I think is a little tougher than an MBA, no? You come to Iran and I show you how to handle elites.
Before I close, let me ask you something. You’ve been active in Republican politics for a long time. In 1980 _ and remember I only chanted at the hostages_ there was a joke in Ronald Reagan’s campaign.
Q. What is 3 feet high and glows in the dark?
A: Tehran after Reagan takes office.
He was kidding, yes?
Peace out. Your friend,
P.S. Have your reply hand-delivered. They read everybody’s mail here.
(Contact Dale McFeatters at McFeattersD(at)SHNS.com)