11/25/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Qadaffi Is Not Ahmadinajad

In the parochial universe defined by Fox/Murdoch mass media, Muslims have replaced communists as America's generic enemies and brown-skinned foreigners who invoke Allah instead of God and look sort of Middle Eastern-Arabic are regarded as ideological twins.

Libyan leader Muammar Qadaffi (who actually is African, not Middle Eastern) and Iranian President Ahmadinajad (who is actually Persian, not Arabic) are lumped together and ridiculed with an ignorance about their policies and positions that is not just stupid but destructive to American national interests.

But Ahmadinajad is not Qadaffi and Qadaffi is not Ahmadinajad. Just a few of the differences:

Ahmadinajad is the President of a country seeking to obtain weapons of mass destruction;
Qadaffi is the leader of a country that has voluntarily given up its weapons of mass destruction.

Ahmadinajad has refused to abjure terrorism or criticize Al Qaeda; Qadaffi has condemned al Qaeda, arrested its representatives, and assailed the Wahhabist fundamentalism that animates and pays for al Qaeda terrorism.

Ahmadinajad presides over a theocratic Shia state whose supreme rulers are Ayatollahs;
Qadaffi presides over a secular state that is Muslim but pluralistic and opposed to fundamentalism.

Ahmadinajad continues to incite terrorist acts; Qadaffi had taken responsibility for Libyan citizens who engaged in terror, and reached a 1.3 billion dollar settlement with the victims of Lockerbie.

Ahmadinajad's intelligence services work to undermine American interests around the world; Qadaffi's intelligence services cooperate with the United States to pursue anti-terrorist policies around the world.

Ahmadinajad has closed itself off from Western and American business and finance investment; Qadaffi has welcomed Western and American business and banking investment.

Ahmadinajad denies the holocaust and threatens Israel with destruction; Qadaffi criticizes Israel but seeks peaceful solutions and neither denies the holocaust nor embraces anti-Semitism.

Ahmadinajad doesn't like tents; Qadaffi doesn't like elevators.

The Lesson? Not every friend of the United States wears a suit and tie, and sleeping in a tent doesn't make you an enemy of American values (just ask the boy scouts).