When the news of the Iranian president’s letter made the news on Tuesday, I wondered if Ahmadinejad signed the letter “Sincerely yours.” AP analysts seemed to take the contents of the letter at face value. I thought it might be because of Ahmadinejad’s protestations of sincerity. Why would skeptical journalists disbelieve the diplomatic communications of such a gentleman?
It turns out that the letter’s closing salutation may well be worthy of note. In its editorial today, the New York Sun writes:
President Ahmadinejad’s letter to President Bush, widely interpreted as a peaceful overture, is in fact a declaration of war. The key sentence in the letter is the closing salutation. In an eight-page text of the letter being circulated by the Council on Foreign Relations, it is left untranslated and rendered as “Vasalam Ala Man Ataba’al hoda.” What this means is “Peace only unto those who follow the true path.”
It is a phrase with historical significance in Islam, for, according to Islamic tradition, in year six of the Hejira – the late 620s – the prophet Mohammad sent letters to the Byzantine emperor and the Sassanid emperor telling them to convert to the true faith of Islam or be conquered. The letters included the same phrase that President Ahmadinejad used to conclude his letter to Mr. Bush. For Mohammad, the letters were a prelude to a Muslim offensive, a war launched for the purpose of imposing Islamic rule over infidels.
At the American Thinker, Rick Moran meditates on the letter’s 9/11 conspiracy theory involving governmental “intelligence and security services.” He worries that Ahmadinejad’s conspiracy theory will succeed like the Kennedy conspiracy theories in confusing the American public and obscuring the truth about what happened on 9/11:
The horror and tragedy of that day could end up being subsumed by questions about whether or not the buildings were sabotaged, or whether the Pentagon was damaged by a truck bomb, or if the entire incident was one gigantic government conspiracy to insure the re-election of George Bush.
We cannot let that happen. Considering that the War on Terror will probably be a generational conflict, we owe it to our children and grandchildren to keep what really happened on 9/11 from sliding away into the muck of conspiracy and fantasy. Otherwise, we run the risk of forgetting why we fight and why we must win this war.
Moran’s excellent column is “Take off the 9/11 tinfoil hats.”