Earlier this week, it was announced that former Iranian president Mohammed Khatami would be speaking at Harvard this Sunday evening — just a few hours before the fifth anniversary of the September 11th attacks. Somehow, he wrangled a US visa to come into this country.
When he heard about it, Massachusetts’ Republican governor (and erstwhile 2008 presidential candidate) Mitt Romney was not pleased. His innate Mormon sense of decorum kept him from expressing his unhappiness in traditional language, but he made his feelings quite clear: Mr. Khatami was not a welcome guest of the state. To properly punctuate this, he said that the Massachusetts State Police would not be providing Khatami with an honor guard during his visit. (His security is being handled by the State Department and the Secret Service.)
This garnered Romney quite a bit of praise from some quarters, criticism from others. Some said he was grandstanding, making a play for publicity over the whole mess. And Boston’s mayor, The Honorable Thomas M. “Mumbles” Menino, said that the Boston police would step up and take the troopers’ place. (Or at least that’s what was reported he said. As he’s not the clearest of public speakers, Menino might have been announcing a new pooper-scooper law or saying something nice about his mother.)
This morning, the Boston Globe (never a fan of Romney’s) lambasted him for his move. They mentioned Khatami’s attempts to reform and liberalize Iran (which failed miserably) and how he was among the first to offer his sympathies (I think “crocodile tears” applies here) after the 9/11 attacks, in rather chiding and condescending tones.
In that spirit, I find I must wonder if the Boston Globe really remembers much about Khatami’s time in power. During that time, and since:
- Iran continued forward on its nuclear weapons program, with Khatami pronouncing it Iran’s right to develop and possess nuclear weapons
- Iran continued and expanded its support for Hezbollah and its proxy war with Israel, with Khatami announcing “we love Hezbollah”
- Khatami praised an Iranian judo fighter who refused a match with an Israeli athlete at the Olympics
- Iran continued its brutal “justice,” including killing teenage girls for being “willful” and executing women who claimed to have been raped, but could not provide the four witnesses that Iranian law requires (a false accusation of rape is considered a confession of adultery or fornication, capital offenses)
To the Boston Globe (owned by the New York Times, remember), those matters are trumped by Khatami’s most important credential: he doesn’t like President Bush. That single shining virtue trumps a whole host of other sins.