Monday, October 01, 2007

Herald writer defends Ahmadinejad

Today's Western Herald has a disturbing article wrought with fallacies defending Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Here is my response (which I posted as a comment, but who knows if the editors there will take down):

Mr. Schuld,

I expected a more intelligent response from a member of our excellent graduate programs. Your well-sourced rebuttal was wrought with logical fallacies and mis-truths. Allow me to illustrate.

1) Ahmadinejad has sworn destruction of both the United States and Israel on numerous occasions. One such occasion ( he stated, "And God willing, with the force of God behind it, we shall soon experience a world without the United States." This was after making comments that our ally Israel would be "wiped out from the map." Clear enough for you? If not, by all means let me know, because I can produce plenty more examples.

2) Being possibly hypocritical is not equivalent to being incorrect. I'm sure the author is aware of the human rights violations of other countries; however, that is not the topic of the article. Simply because other countries may have less-than-stellar records on this subject does not undo Iran's human rights violations nor does it excuse them. You have failed to produce any counterarguments or excuses to Iran's human rights violations.

3) Last time I checked, "liberal" isn't any registered organization that issues press releases as to its official position. Therefore, I see the accusations of a straw man to be difficult to prove correct or incorrect, due to the lack of an official position on the matter. The author is perfectly capable of communicating her impression of some liberals' opinions of the Iranian President. If you feel this misrepresents liberals, would you care to say why? Is it not believable that some liberals in fact do “[paint] Ahmadinejad as a victim?”

4) Again, you fall back on your crutch of not attacking the position, but attempting to discredit the argument by way of calling "hypocrite!" This is a clever logical fallacy in which you attempt to debate the subject on hand by debating an entirely different subject altogether. Are your opinions so weak that you cannot argue her point head-on?

Ms. Basore wrote a passionate and articulate article expressing opinions about the hate-filled Iranian President, many of which are shared by me and other students. Your criticisms of her article all suffered from either want of fact, or simply didn't address the point Ms. Basore actually made.

Reading your article, Mr. Schuld, was a real shame.


Matthew Moss
WMU Student


Adam said...

What do you expect? A public university newspaper....

I thought the WMU College Republicans were going to start distributing their own newspaper?

Matt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matt said...

Mr. Moss,

I appreciate your response to my letter published in the Western Herald.

Mr. Ahmadinejad’s statements have been translated by a number of different sources. I refer to the translation in the New York Times (since the translation that CNN quotes is not accessible from the IRNA website as far as I can tell):

“Many who are disappointed in the struggle between the Islamic world and the infidels have tried to spread the blame. They say it is not possible to have a world without the United States and Zionism. But you know that this is a possible goal and slogan.” (


(The quote is, “Such people are using words like ‘it’s not possible’. They say how could we have a world without America and Zionism? But you know well that this slogan and goal can be achieved and can definitely be realized.’”(

Ms. Basore’s quote reads, Ahmadinejad "has sworn the destruction of the United States.”

I do not speak Farsi and cannot comment on the translation. My request and criticism of Ms. Basore says, “Could she please point out where he has said this? Basore provides no evidence for this statement (although two seconds of Internet research makes clear that she is citing Rush Limbaugh). I find no reliable source for this claim.”

Your citation is credible and I will concede that there is no point in arguing over whether Ahmadinejad’s statement in the transcripts is equivalent to a sworn “destruction of the United States.”

Beyond that, you missed the point of my letter entirely:

Firstly, you claimed in your heading that I “defend[ed] Ahmadinejad.” How you came to this interpretation requires explanation.

My criticism of Basore’s article is intended to demonstrate that if it is wrong for Ahmadinejad and Iran to harbor terrorists, threaten to invade countries, or build WMDs (which I believe it is wrong for them to do and international law agrees) then it is equally wrong for the United States to do so (international law also agrees it is wrong for us). This is a basic moral principle: If it's wrong for others, it's wrong for us. If we hope to have anyone take us seriously, we should look in the mirror before we point out the crimes of others. I think George W. Bush’s favorite philosopher may have a relevant quote on this matter: “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”

Your criticisms are appreciated,

Matthew Schuld