Dinner with a tyrant? Wake up and smell the coffee, America

Ignorance about Public Enemy Number One should not be bliss.

Brave anti-government blogger Somayeh Tohidlou was thrashed with 50 skin-splitting lashes in an Iranian prison earlier this month for peacefully protesting her country’s 2009 elections, but a week later, the dictator responsible for her excruciating pain was lording it www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2010/09/23/my-dinner-with-irans-mahmoud-ahmadinejad.html“>over dinner at the posh Warwick Hotel in Manhattan — and invited group of naive Americans glued to his alarming agenda like goggle-eyed groupies.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hit town last week to address that toothless tiger known as the UN General Assembly, but he shelved the side of him that despises gays, wants Israel wiped off the map, and covets worldwide shariah law, to chum around with retired diplomats, nuclear scientists and other red, white, and blue turncoats who came to participate in “a frank exchange of views” with a man who heads a nation which the U.S. State Department considers one of the most active sponsors of terrorism.

The unsavory distinction didn’t spoil the diners’ appetites, and they gobbled up the propaganda spoon-fed to them by one of the planet’s most morally repugnant leaders, passing on his abysmal human rights record — a foul, systematic cancer weathered by the likes of Tohidlou, who later blogged in a slap to her tormentor: “Be happy, your aim was to humiliate me, I confess that I feel my entire body is burning with humiliation.”

For the Americans who came to dinner, Tohidlou’s agony was replaced by the ecstasy of breaking bread with a demagogue — his stomach-churning practices be damned.

Did the attendees — or Warwick Hotel — know or care that Iran’s rotten regime bankrolls Hamas, the Lebanese Shiite militants of Hezbollah, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, among other anti-western vipers?

Did they know or care that Iran’s combustible administration could be mere months away from producing enough highly-enriched uranium to make a nuclear bomb, which its mullahs won’t hesitate to use against the Free World because to them life means death?

Did they know or care that unarmed protestors are the target of state-sanctioned assassinations in Iran? That tragic fate befell 26-year old Neda Agha-Soltan, who became the face of post-election violence in the Persian Gulf after grisly videos of her alleged murder by a government sniper at a Tehran protest stormed the Internet.

Did any of Ahmadinejad’s dinner guests know or care that Iranian-American scholar Dr. Kian Tajbakhsh — a faculty member at Columbia University — was sentenced to 12 years in prison in Iran for allegedly fomenting political unrest during the summer protests?

Columbia, which provided a venting forum for Ahmadinejad in 2007, might be offering its students an education, but certainly not in sound judgement. Some of them showed up for the despot’s dinner, unaffected by his earlier jeer to them, “In Iran we don’t have homosexuals like in your country,”

And, did the sitting ducks, who canoodled with a creep, know or care that the two American hikers imprisoned in Iran since 2009 on charges of spying and illegally entering the country were miraculously sprung from jail around the same time as Ahmadinejad’s visit to the UN? Or that FBI agent Robert Levinson — a married father of seven from Florida — has been missing in Iran for four years?

Thanks to their gullibility, Public Enemy Number One can now further his nuclear ambitions, emboldened by the knowledge that Americans can be bamboozled by a bully who oppresses women, executes juveniles, kills homosexuals, and imprisons and tortures people on trumped-up charges.

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