I love Rosenbaum, but am embarrassed for him when he shows his blind hatred for the Bush administration. Following is an exact quote from this week's long review: "As the director has implied in interviews, it's important to distinguish between Iranian people--their society, after all, is extremely multicultural--and their rulers, who are as dubious as ours" ["Don't Judge a Film by Its Venue," April 20].
Comparing Bush, the democratically elected leader of a free country that has three independent branches of government, plus a free press, to the unelected despots who use violence, imprisonment, and state-run media to suppress an unfree, cowed populace while calling for the destruction of Israel and denying the Holocaust occurredis a shame upon him and the paper that prints it. There is no correlation. People who say such ridiculous things do nothing but give liberals a bad name. Additionally, such warped views hurt the people of Iran, Israel, and everyone in between.
Jonathan Rosenbaum replies:
Iran has national elections, too. Some have questioned whether meddling at the polls placed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in office, but it's my impression that we've had some meddling here too. In any case, my point was that it's questionable whether Iran's leaders (not just Ahmadinejad but the more powerful mullahs as well) represent Iranians any better than U.S. leaders (Bush, Cheney, Rove, Rumsfeld, Gonzales, Wolfowitz, et al) represent Americans. According to the English press, when Ahmadinejad staged his despicable "seminar" about Holocaust denial, practically the only people who turned up were curious and/or outraged foreigners, including Americans; Iranians by and large ignored it.
The correlation between Bush and Ahmadinejad is that both are fundamentalists. Whether Ahmadinejad could be considered responsible for the torture and deaths of as many innocent people as Bush is, however, is something I'm unable to determine.