December 18, 2006 | National Review Online

Time’s Up

This weekend, Time magazine announced that you are it's Man of the Year. In other words, they didn't come up with one. National Review Online asked a group of commentators: “Did Time’s editors cop out? If you were to pick a man or woman of the year who would it be and why?” Their replies follow.


Naming “Everyone” Man of the Year is not just copping out: It’s jumping the shark. It’s the sort of muddy thinking that impels teachers to say all students are “special.” It’s the basis for what may be Garrison Keillor’s only funny joke: In Lake Woebegone all the children are above average.

As for who should be Man of the Year, I say it’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Remember: The designation does not necessarily go to someone admirable. It goes to the individual who “for better or worse, has most influenced events in the preceding year” and, one presumes, may influence events in the years ahead.

Hitler received “the honor” in 1938 because, Time said, his “figure strode over Europe with all the swagger of a conqueror.” Ahmadinejad certainly has been striding and swaggering conqueror-like over the Middle East this year.

Even more to the point: Ayatollah Khomeini was Man of the Year in 1979. Time called him an “improbable” leader. He doesn’t seem quite so unlikely now, does he?

Ahmadinejad is Khomeini’s disciple. And like Hitler in 1938 he is sending us a warning to which we are not adequately responding. He is telling us that Khomeini’s Islamist Revolution has not mellowed; it has not drifted from radicalism to can’t-we-all-get-along moderation despite the ardent wishes of so many “experts” in the academy and the State Department.

For more than a quarter century, Iran’s Islamo-Fascists have been shouting “Death to America!” and actually killing Americans with some regularity and complete impunity. Ahmadinejad denies the 20th-century Holocaust while threatening a 21st-century Holocaust. He imagines “a world without America.” To achieve these ends, Ahmadinejad & Associates have billions of dollars worth of oil and soon, if we don’t stop him, both nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them.

Ahamdinejad means business. He deserves to be taken seriously. He wins my vote.

— Clifford D. May, a former New York Times foreign correspondent, is the president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a policy institute focusing on terrorism.