Iranian Tyrant Ahmadinejad "Flowery, Almost Socratic" Rants

Reporter Helene Cooper also finds the anti-American ravings of Hugo Chavez "colorful."

Reporter Helene Cooper soft-pedals the anti-American ravings of Iranian dictator Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez, both of whom addressed the United Nations General Assembly earlier this week.

Cooper, who has been intenselycritical of the Bush administration and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, isn't as cutting when it comes to anti-American dictators. "IranWho? Venezuela Takes the Lead in a Battle of Anti-U.S. Sound Bites."

Here's her playful lead: "In the end, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran lost the much-hyped war of words waged against President Bush at the General Assembly. A stealth opponent swooped in and took the prize.

"Speaking on Wednesday from the same lectern Mr. Bush had occupied the day before, President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela announced, to gasps and even giggles: 'The devil came here yesterday, right here.

"'It smells of sulfur still today, this table that I am now standing in front of,' he said.

"Just hours before, Mr. Ahmadinejad took issue with the great Satan, too. But what a difference. Where Mr. Chávez was Khrushchevian, waving around books and stopping just short of shoe-banging, Mr. Ahmadinejad was flowery, almost Socratic in his description of behavior that only the devil would condone."

Cooper almost seems to relish the dictators' speeches (as did most of the United Nations General Assembly), as if they were a species of transgressive performance art.

"And for Mr. Chávez?

"The gasps. The horrified giggles. The loud applause that lasted so long that the organization's officials had to tell the cheering group to cut it out."

"But compared with Mr. Ahmadinejad, Mr. Chávez was just more colorful. He brandished a copy of Noam Chomsky's 'Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance' and recommended it to members of the General Assembly to read. Later, he told a news conference that one of his greatest regrets was not getting to meet Mr. Chomsky before he died. (Mr. Chomsky, 77, is still alive.)"