The expressed intention of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to visit the place at which NYC’s World Trade Center Twin Towers once stood has fueled yet another grassroots movement to block his path to the site. Yesterday’s and today’s reports on the matter have a tennis game feel to them. NYC Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly’s announcement regarding the “negotiations” for the visit seemed casual, but it’s obvious that he wanted his charges—and the public--to know what was in the works. Both responded as could be expected: the NYPD refused to have anything to do with the visit and, when Ahmadinejad said that he would go to the site anyway, the public girded its loins for battle.
Today, the Iranian president seems bemused by the fuss. After all, what could the American public have against a head of state paying his respects to
nineteen of the dead?
Of course we know that Ahmadinejad was just testing us, don’t we? Not the president, not the Secret Service—the latter of which is duty- and honor-bound to protect any head of state who visits these shores—but us. Ahmadinejad wanted to see whether We, the People were weak-willed enough to let a representative of a nation-state sponsor of terror get near enough to the site to pose for photos which would have been splashed across Islamist websites faster than you can say ‘propaganda.’ He wanted to see whether we would let him figuratively urinate on the ashes of our dead.
So, now he’s backing down in feigned puzzlement. The ploy seems typical of a mindset that was raised to believe in the honor-shame method of political maneuvering.
I’m sure, however, that there will be a few hundred Americans souls down at Ground Zero on Monday—just in case Ahmadinejad changes his mind. Again.