Another Round of Devil’s Advocate: Knowing When to Shut Up

By Robert Wallace
America’s Right

Something I’ve been trying to do now and again is to play Devil’s Advocate to my own conservative perspectives as well as to some of the moves that I see Republicans making for politics rather than principle. So here goes with another installment of Devil’s Advocate. — Robert

Iran held its 10th presidential election on June 12, 2009. Polls were kept open four hours past the scheduled closing time in order to accommodate the crowds, and pre-election analysis predicted that the greater the turnout the greater the chances for opposition candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi. And yet the official results gave the election to incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a 66% to 33% landslide.

Mousavi announced: “I’m warning that I won’t surrender to this charade,” his supporters took to the streets by the hundreds of thousands, and the largest civil unrest Iran has seen since the days of the Islamic Revolution was underway.

All of this must have come as a blow to President Obama, who had viewed Mousavi’s popularity before the election as evidence of the miraculous power of his Cairo speech, and initially he maintained silence. But–as Politico outlined–the increasingly violent crackdowns in Iran forced his hand and two days after the protests had started he issued this statement:

I am deeply troubled by the violence that I’ve been seeing on television. I think that the democratic process, free speech, the ability of people to peacefully dissent — all of those are universal values and need to be respected, and whenever I see violence perpetrated on people who are peacefully dissenting, and whenever the American people see that, I think they are rightfully troubled.

Almost immediately right-wing talk radio hosts Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh began to spin these events into a narrative that would be appealing to their conservative listeners: Valiant rebels in Iran are fighting for freedom. Democracy hangs in balance! Obama is too weak and indecisive to come to their aid. Oh, if only Reagan were still with us!

The narrative immediately permeated the right-wing blogosphere:

At a time when a United States President should be stating support for demonstrations that are clearly protesting not only the theocratic rule of Iran but the oppressive regime that has been evident under Ahmadinejad, Barack Obama is stating that he wants to make it “very clear that it is up to Iranians to make decisions about who Iran’s leaders will be.”
The Liberal Lie, The Conservative Truth

You know, here’s a chance to show a little leadership, call on the ruling mullahs to do a careful investigation, invite in election monitors from around the world and have a run off so the world can see “the democratic process” actually works in Iran.
Right Wing News

The phone rings at 3:00 A.M. in the White House. It’s a desperate call from the rebels fighting for freedom and liberty in Iran. They want to know if they can count on the U.S.A. for support in their effort to kick out terrorist Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (I’m-a-nutta-job). Ring. Rings again. Third Ring.

“C’mon, c’mon…where are they?” the caller wonders. Then someone picks up and relief settles in. Unfortunately it doesn’t last long.

“You’ve reached the White House. Your call is extremely important to us. We both agree, and disagree with your position strongly. Please leave your name, number and a brief message after the beep and we’ll get back to you only if we feel it will serve our own political interests and 2012 re-election efforts. Thank you very much for calling.”

The caller hangs up without bothering to leave a message. There’s no point. A tear rolls down his pained face. He has the answer he wanted. His question, “will there be any support from the Obama administration?” was clearly answered. No.
Conservative American

Really? “A tear rolls down his pained face?” These are Iranians, right? Weren’t we all talking about how they were a bunch of genocidal, anti-Semitic, Islamo-fascist terrorists last week? I asked an Iranian-American friend of mine–recently returned from Iran–how he felt about some of these statements. He told me:

“It terrifies me how little the Republicans understand foreign policy. It’s just astounding.”

What’s astounding is that, if we want the opposition to win, then coming out strongly in favor of the opposition is the last thing on earth the president of the United States should do. The last time the U.S. intervened in an Iranian election we were too busy subverting a democratically elected government to pay any attention to the principle of free and fair elections. Up to that point, the Iranians had had a very pro-American viewpoint, but nothing will sour relationships quite like hiring a bunch of thugs, staging a coup, and putting an entire nation under the thumb of an oppressive dictator.

And now we think that what an Iranian election really needs is some more American involvement? Seriously?

My friend went on, echoing this sentiment:

“If America shows any support for the reformist movement, then everyone’s going to think America’s behind it, and you can kiss it goodbye. No one in Iran will ever choose a better life, as provided by America, over their current situation. We promised them that once, and gave them a dictator instead.”

None of these right-wing commentators give a damn for the people of Iran or even for the principle of democracy. They see an opportunity to spin this story for political gain. History? Truth? Reform in Iran? Collateral damage to a PR war on Obama.

I’ve got news for my fellow conservatives: Obama looks bad enough without having to invent things, and international policy is just not that important right now anyway. Spend your time shooting down health care reform, for crying out loud. In any case: right now his actions are correct. If we want to support the opposition in Iran than now would be a good time to shut up.

But are we even so convinced that we want to support the opposition in Iran? Daniel Pipes, president of the Middle East Forum, is not so sure. According to the Washington Independent, he wrote that he was “rooting for Ahmadinejad” because it would be “better to have a bellicose, apocalyptic, in-your-face Ahmadinejad who scares the world than a sweet-talking Mousavi who again lulls it to sleep.”

Back during the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Mousavi worked for the Islamic Republican Party. In case fellow GOP members are confused, their Republicans aren’t like our Republicans. The IPR was founded in 1979 to assist the Iranian Revolution and Ayatollah Khomeini in establishing Iran’s theocracy. Why, exactly, would it be such a great thing for America if Mousavi won? No one on the right seems interested in even asking the question, which further illustrates the self-serving and hypocritical nature of the calls for Obama to do more to support the Iranian opposition.

—————
Robert Wallace has been writing for America’s Right since December 2008.

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Comments

  1. Gail B says:

    Glad somebody understands foreign policy!

    Out of my league, Robert, but it is an interesting read.

    Thank you.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Interesting point of view. However, what's beginning to happen in Iran is probably beyond what you stated in your blog. It seems that the longer this unrest goes on, the more resistant people in Iran are becoming to the religious mullahs and the Ayatollah who dictate their policy and economy. Those same mullahs are ALSO the ones who dictate Iran's nuclear ambitions and stir up anti-American fervor.
    If the people in Iran, who, interestingly, often protest while showing English signs, are against the mullahs, then that IS a fight for freedom against state repression.
    Perhaps Iran will continue down the road of nuclear armament (right now it highly nationalistic), however without it's leading anti-western voices a subtle shift could possibly occur which thaws our relationships to some degree.

  3. Anonymous says:

    One last thing, perhaps having a "bellicose, apocalyptic, in-your-face Ahmadinejad who scares the world than a sweet-talking Mousavi who again lulls it to sleep," might be good to bring attention to the Iran's nuclear ambtions, but that will only be successful if the west has the backbone to take serious steps against Iran. With Obama in power right now, I seriously doubt that we have that political will.

  4. Robert Wallace says:

    The last anonymous really hit the nail on the head (with respect to the first anonymous). We simply can't afford to look at the world through the prism of an American Hollywood movie where the two camps divide themselves into neatly distinct camps:
    1. All the religious zealots over here
    2. Al the nice, respectable secularists over here

    If you know anything about what's going on in Iran right now you'll understand that BOTH SIDES OF THIS CONFLICT are operating within the paradigm of Islam.

    Another link to back this up:

    http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2009/06/louder-than-ever.html

    "Ghalm News reported that the sound of Mousavi supporters chanting “God is Great” echoed throughout “all districts and towns in Iran” for the seventh consecutive night. According to Ghalam news, supporters of Mousavi also chanted “Ya [Hail] Hossein, Mir Hossein” to make sure their participation is not attributed to Ahmadinejad supporters."

    The Mousavi supporters are yelling "Allah O Akbar" all night. Does that clarify where they stand on religious issues?

  5. Robert Wallace says:

    "That didn't sound very Mormonesque…"

    I have no idea what that means, but my curiosity is piqued.

  6. Anonymous says:

    That didn't sound very Mormonesque…

  7. Anonymous says:

    "However, what's beginning to happen in Iran is probably beyond what you stated in your blog. It seems that the longer this unrest goes on, the more resistant people in Iran are becoming to the religious mullahs and the Ayatollah who dictate their policy and economy. Those same mullahs are ALSO the ones who dictate Iran's nuclear ambitions and stir up anti-American fervor"

    You're jumping the gun, big time, and fundamentally misunderstanding the deeply religious nature of Iran and it's people, where the confluence of power is between theological, political and military sections of society and government, and how vastly unpopular America is as a country with all cross sections of the country and why it is so.

    Currently, this is a revolution *within* the confines of the structure of the Iranian ISLAMIC Republic. It may spin out into something different than that down the road but compare the origins of our revolution to arrival at a more or less secular form of representative democracy 200 years later and you see that your arrival at point 'Z' from 'A' is extremely premature, though not impossible.

    Start here:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/middle_east/03/iran_power/html/default.stm

    and here:

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/world/2009/0620/1224249186737.html

    Also, note that several progressive, powerful mullahs have issued fatwas in favor of the resistance or against Ahmadi/Basiji actions and that there is are gradients of theocratic and political opinion within the assembly of experts or the body which the "mullahs" belong to.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Original annonymous guy:
    You guys both have very valid points and I thank you for the feedback. The websites were informative but I was unable to view the one from the Irish Times.

    I do have one question, what exactly are the people in Iran protesting over? Is it purely the election results over their chosen candidate? Are there other issues which manifest themselves from the religious mullahs which some Iranians feel hamper and hinder the more "secular" aspects of their lives i.e. the economy, female repression (many women are very active in these protests), access to goods, associations with others, etc.? Just curious.

    I appreciate the responses.

  9. Ian Thorpe says:

    Robert,
    Obviously the wise old heads in the State Department have prevailed upon Team Obama to remain silent on the aftermath of the Iranian election.

    The last thing anyone needed was for Obama to wade in telling Iranians how to run their country. The place is quite unstable enough as things stand.

    Perhaps the most surprising thing about the build up to the election was the assumption that the election of Barack Obama last year could somehow guarantee that Iran's elections would be free and fair.
    Next there was the assumption that Mad Jad is viewed in Iran in the same way as he is seen in the west. This is not so, the professional and academic classes of Tehran hate him but among the rural poor he is, according to informed commentators, hugely popular.
    Having said that, it seems the alleged 2:1 margin of victory was a ploy to stir unrest. I saw an electoral map showing province by province results, Ahmadinejad did have huge majorities in some provinces but the result was very close in many. The graphic, printed in a British newspaper, does not seem to be available online.

    In view of that it is reasonable to think one side in the Iranian election had decided if their man did not win they would resort to civil unrest and violence to cause the result to be annulled.

    I recall a similar threat being made in another recent election. The difference is Iran did not have a Freddie Mac to be brought down by concerted action in the global financial markets.

    If you know what I mean. :-)

  10. Anonymous says:

    I think Saudia Arabia owns obama, they put him in the presidency so he has no choice but to do what they say.

  11. Bodenzee says:

    Why do I need to watch Canadian sites to see the truth spoken about our financial mess.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMnSp4qEXNM&NR=1

  12. Anonymous says:

    Robert,
    Devil's advocate or not…you cross the line assuming we don't give a damn about the people of Iran or even democracy! Give me a break, pal. We can disagree on the best way to support the hundreds of thousands in the streets of Iran, but its out of line to claim you know us at http://ConservativeAmerican.org and that because we disagree with you we don't give a damn about the people of Iran. That's nuts. We know that Mir is no better than Mahmoud. We also know that hundreds of thousands rallying in the streets can maybe, just maybe have a shot at creating their own government with freedoms and liberties. That is something we at ConservativeAmerican.org believe our President should support. BTW, Obama switched camps to agree with us today after nearly every democrat in congress disagreed with his silence. If all the democrats agreed with us too, where are your rebel friends now? Also BTW, the Wall Street Journal and National Review Online agreed with us too.
    Peter Andrew ConservativeAmerican.org

  13. Anonymous says:

    I actually did not have a problem with how 0 handled this. If he "meddles" and the Iranian protestors are inspired by it thinking we may help them and then another Tianamen happens, there is bitterness toward us that we talk but won't help. If he doesn't "meddle" and things go wrong, they can likewise hang it on him.

    Figuring that the two administrations are likely the same (face it, Mousavi began the nuke program there), then it is not worth expending political capital.

    As for the protestors, I think it it could be much like the Tea Party spirit here. What starts out as anger toward the election could morph into general protests for liberty.

    With 70% of the population under the age of 30 living in this era of technology makes it hard to forever suppress a people. Just like what we are seeing here with the MSM vs. the alternate media forms. (Which means we can look for ways in which they may try to squelch it. Think Internet tax.)

  14. Anonymous says:

    I look at it this way, regardless of what your Iranian friend says, if we make a strong statement and say we support the protesters and they say they hate us, it wouldn't be any different than what they think of us already. However, it might, even slightly, change some minds the longer this goes on.

  15. Anonymous says:

    "I look at it this way, regardless of what your Iranian friend says, if we make a strong statement and say we support the protesters and they say they hate us, it wouldn't be any different than what they think of us already."

    You're completely missing the bigger point. If Khomeini and Ahmadi say the U.S. is meddling and the Iranian people only see careful, measured statements from the POTUS, Khomeini and Ahmadi lose credibility and it reinforces the perception that they are spinning lies as desperate old men whose time is passing them by as they cling to their last vestiges of power through use of worn and tired porpaganda techniques that absolve them from respondibility for their own failings. If instead the people see the POTUS saying what Mike Pence or John McCain would have him say, Khomeini et al gain credibility. On balance much more damage would be done to the cause if we ramp up our rhetoric.

    Peter Andrew,
    Robert is perfectly right to observe that you don't give a damn. The scenario you paint is histrionic, patently absurd and designed, poorly I might add, to pluck heart strings as opposed to make a good faith argument for any sort of concrete alternative action that the POTUS should be taking. I mean, the entire premise is lifted from a democratic primary ATTACK ad. Case closed.

    Now, Robert didn't preclude you from simply being unable to give a damn in stating that you don't give a damn. Clearly if you can't understand the complicated intersections of history which shape US/Iranian relations, then your lack of damn giving is a question of capacity not purposeful counterproductiveness.

    The analogy, as much teeth gnashing and wailing as this will generate, would have been, say, Osama Bin Laden's son endorsing his candidate of choice in the last U.S. presidential election. No matter how well intentioned or divorced from his father's actions he may have been, it would have immediately handicapped whichever candidate he cast his lot with. Our country assassinated Iran's democratically elected leader, reinstated a brutal dictator and trained his goons in torture and repression methods. Those are the fact, get over it, and stop expecting Iranians to see things the way you do from an amnesiac U.S.-centric myopia.

    The key thing to remember is that this is a very delicate, fluid situation and not once has Mousavi or any of his reformist allies within the government called upon the United States for ANYTHING. There's a reason for this: they're not stupid and they also just happen to be Iranians who are leading the Iranian people in civil disobedience.

  16. Anonymous says:

    this slowness to have an opinion of his own is in obama's political dna … this is not the fourth or even the fifth time he has displayed this kind of WAIT-NESS.

    its as if he is merely in place as the physical figure but he dare not say anything unless he's told what to say… very troubling.

  17. Anonymous says:

    "what exactly are the people in Iran protesting over?…the election results over their chosen candidate? Are there other issues which manifest themselves from the religious mullahs which some Iranians feel hamper and hinder the more "secular" aspects of their lives i.e. the economy, female repression (many women are very active in these protests), access to goods, associations with others, etc.?"

    All of the above including long running ethnic divides. A major driver of this was Ahmadi's total mismanagment of oil revenues derived from pre-crash prices. He was essentially handing out money and not investing anything in job creating infrastructure or economic programs. Fast forward a few years and the massive youth population who have been steeped in revolutionary culture and western media via the internet and foreign tv and movies have no jobs and no hope. Kaboom.

  18. Anonymous says:

    "You're completely missing the bigger point. If Khomeini and Ahmadi say the U.S. is meddling and the Iranian people only see careful, measured statements from the POTUS, Khomeini and Ahmadi lose credibility and it reinforces the perception that they are spinning lies as desperate old men whose time is passing them by as they cling to their last vestiges of power through use of worn and tired porpaganda techniques that absolve them from respondibility for their own failings. If instead the people see the POTUS saying what Mike Pence or John McCain would have him say, Khomeini et al gain credibility. On balance much more damage would be done to the cause if we ramp up our rhetoric."

    This is laughable. I think the protesters, at this moment, and the moment of their conception and outbursts, KNOW that the U.S. isn't behind this.

    I think Robert is flat wrong.

  19. Robert Wallace says:

    "This is laughable. I think the protesters, at this moment, and the moment of their conception and outbursts, KNOW that the U.S. isn't behind this."

    Two Issues:

    1. Actual US Involvement

    Everyone knows this started as a legitimate Iranian protest. But if the POTUS comes out strongly it will lend credence to the idea that the US may be trying to influence/hijack the protesters.

    2. Image

    To a great extent it doesn't matter whether or not anyone thinks that the CIA is actually running amok in Iran. What matters is who the Iranians are paying attention to. Right now Obama is laying low, and so there is no ammunition for the hardliners. Instead, the fatal shooting of Neda – a 16-year old Iranian girl – by a hardline sniper is the overriding message of the day.

    If Obama starts making bellicose speeches the focus will shift from Iranian outrage at the hardliners, to an American once again telling the Iranians how to run their country, and that will rejuvenate the hardliners and demoralize the protesters.

    Do you think they want to be out there, on the streets, risking their lives *for an American*?

    No. They don't.

    This is an Iranian protest and it needs to stay an Iranian protest both in FACT and in IMAGE.

  20. Robert Wallace says:

    Peter Andrew-

    Here's the thing: If you want to support Iranian protesters, don't lead off with recycled anti-Obama political ads.

    Your regurgitated Hillary Clinton piece:
    1. Ignored the facts. Are Iranians asking for help from Uncle Sam? Hell no.
    2. Focused on attacking Obama.
    3. Included not the slightest mention of an actual method for helping Iranians.

    If you think that anyone could draw a conclusion from this other than that you view the Iranian protests as a convenient excuse to take a shot at Obama, I'd love for you to explain how you come to that conclusion.

  21. Anonymous says:

    1. Ha! You're still flat wrong on this Robert. Not speaking for those above but how does being critical of Obama, his decisions, and his weak response constitute an attack?
    Gee… with that logic I guess I better watch out. I disagree with you Robert. Please don't file charges against me and call it an "attack."

    2. Who said Obama had to be "bellicose" at this juncture? You understand the meaning of the word don't you? (i.e. ready or inclined to quarrel, fight, or go to war) He COULD use stronger language though that asserts our values. It's a shame when Europe has a louder voice than the nation that leads the FREE world does.

    3. One minute you sound like you're advocating Ahmadinejad because of his galvanization of world opinion against Iranian nuclear weapons development, and the next you're worried about Mousavi's protesters.

    Ultimately, and given Ahmadinejad's track record of compliance, dealing with Iran is ultimately going to require far more "bellicose" (I like that word!) rhetoric and maybe even physical force if the world is going to stop their nuclear ambitions. Do you think ratcheting down our rhetoric now, in a nation which is, highly anti-American, going to help us when we have to talk them down from the nuclear option later on which will require much more harsh language? I don't think so.

    Anyways, one minute you tell us Ahmadinejad is, in a sense, "better" in dealing with the nuke crisis but then you come on here and worry about how us adopting stronger language will somehow hamper Mousavi's efforts to rally the people against Ahmadinejad. Huh?

    But that's not all. In the end, you tell us that one way of the other, the nuclear outcome is the same and that Mousavi is no better than Ahmadinejad in the long term. So, won't stopping Iran require aggressive statesmanship either way?

    So what are you advocating?

    4. The CIA thing and American influence…
    You're really worried about that? You really believe that this will be the first time that Iran's leaders have mentioned the U.S. to influence popular perceptions? Do you really believe that the protesters will buy that? After all, you stated this was a conflict within Islam and factions between the Mullahs. I don't think the Iranians crying proverbial "wolf" for the 1001 time is really going to impact that. Besides, in a country like Iran, which is anti-American, the minute one mullah points at another and yells "Pawn of the U.S.!" the other will point back and say "Pawn of the U.S.!" and both will lose credibility. Hell, it's even possible that if people on both sides believe this, it make even make the U.S. as a country you don't want to mess with because we're so duplicitous. (Humor)

    5. As for helping the Iranians, perhaps there is not much we can do outside of covert operations and attempts to stir fervor against the ruling members in Iran. I do know, that when the world's most powerful nation says "this is our stance" it means something to people.

    Maybe it won't mean something in a nation like Iran but perhaps OTHERS will remember our words and remember that we're consistent. All to often I hear from foreigners who slam us for being inconsistent. Hell, maybe the left in this country could stand to hear it more from a man they elected.

    Regardless of what happens "diplomatically" in Iran, which you assert won't change either way and by default will require much more aggressive means to stop rhetorically, diplomatically, and maybe even militarily, we should still stand by OUR principles.

    You've got some good points but I still think they're wrong.

  22. Anonymous says:

    "Anyways, one minute you tell us Ahmadinejad is, in a sense, 'better' in dealing with the nuke crisis but then you come on here and worry about how us adopting stronger language will somehow hamper Mousavi's efforts to rally the people against Ahmadinejad. Huh?"

    I think this says it all. You're simply unable to discount one argument, re: what serves the United States' best interest, from the other, re: how the United States could best serve the Iranian people in their moment of struggle. Kind of a conversation stopper and I'd love to see how you live life, making all decisions in total binary absent of input or effect from one another…

  23. Anonymous says:

    "This is laughable. I think the protesters, at this moment, and the moment of their conception and outbursts, KNOW that the U.S. isn't behind this."

    How do they know this? If they know this then they must know that we stand with them but just don't want to be used as propaganda by Ahmadi, right? The alternative is that you have no idea what you're talking about and want to have things both ways: the Iranian people are savvy enough to know that the US, which assassinated their Democratically elected leader 50 or so years ago and re-installed a brutal dictator who tortured and murdered thousands of their family members and is now at war with countries on either side of Iran, IS NOT meddling or interested in meddling in Iran's internal political dealings BUT is just so neutral that no one can tell where it stands despite condemnations of abuses against protests, which are the entire essence of the civil unrest. Fail. Fail. Fail.

    Do you not get it? There are the protesters and then there are people one the fence WHO DO NOT USE TWITTER AND READ BLOGS. It's the large middle, like in almost any election or movement, that must be won over. These are older people, rural folks, religious fundamentalists afraid of change, traditionalist islamic conservatives who have nothing in common with the main cohort of protesters which are young, westernized, to an extent, students. It's about winning over the Iranian people, not you and Mike Pence. Get over yourself. This is not about you or your principles.

    "Maybe it won't mean something in a nation like Iran but perhaps OTHERS will remember our words and remember that we're consistent. All to often I hear from foreigners who slam us for being inconsistent. Hell, maybe the left in this country could stand to hear it more from a man they elected.

    Regardless of what happens 'diplomatically' in Iran, which you assert won't change either way and by default will require much more aggressive means to stop rhetorically, diplomatically, and maybe even militarily, we should still stand by OUR principles."

    Like that time we said we'd stand behind the Iraqi's and then let them get slaughtered. WE'RE ALREADY FIGHTING TWO WARS IN ASIA ON EITHER SIDE OF IRAN. WE ABSOLUTELY CANNOT COMMIT TO HELPING THE UPRISING WITH ANY FORCE. WHY ON EARTH WOULD WE HINT AT ANY SUCH THING THEN? And if we can't, then why on earth would we intimate that we're taking one side or the other, UNLESS THAT SIDE ASKS US TO AND IS MORE INLINE WITH OUR AND THE IRANIAN PEOPLE'S INTERESTS THAN THE ALTERNATIVE.

    Seriously, my god, for 5 seconds, game out what it is your tasking our leadership to do AND FOR THE LOVE OF CHRIST suspend your simple emotional braveheart fantasies. There's no end game for you, just one emotional reaction after the other ending in "our principles." I'll let you cash those at the bank after a multi-thousand casualty crackdown because public perception shifts to supporting Ahmadi after a substantial increase in stupid rhetoric.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Ha. Someones get's a bit emotional aren't we?

    lol.

  25. IRAN, URAN, WEALLRAN says:

    Sounds like we need some humor in here, from ALL CAPS MAN!

  26. FAIL SAFE says:

    Let Iran do their own thing, because one day we are gonna have the balls to use our 3,500 nukes.

  27. Trochilus says:

    When the fear of unintended consequences trumps the obligation to speak in the face of naked state-imposed terror, that moment is lost forever.

    The French have a mocking expression . . . 'esprit d'escalier . . . literally, the spirit of the staircase. It is a response, or ripost thought of too late — on the way up the stairs.

    But Obama doesn't even offer that! He is too concerned, as his spokesman Robert Gibbs has actually said, about becoming a "political football." Oh, the horror! The horror! Imagine, if you will, what is going through the minds of his entire team of advisors, when that is their big concern?

    Just to remind you all again, those signs — "Where Is My Vote?" — were in English.

    What has happened over the past few days, had very little to do with the technical outcome of the Iranian election, and everything to do with a spirit and a cause eerily reminescent of that cause on which our nation was founded — a defiance of oppression.

    But our "leader" exhibited what one anonymous commenter above at June 21, 2009 2:58 PM, so aptly called "WAIT-NESS." He wants to talk to the Iranian regime. Can't do anything to disturb that prospect! So, mum's the word!

    But ask yourselves this, oh you so cautious ones:

    Why would Ahmadinejad and his theocratic backers now ever negotiate in any meaningful way over their drive to obtain, to threaten, or even to deploy nuclear weapons?

    In point of fact, while those cries from the rooftops indeed invoked the muslim deity, they also were uttered in defiance of the theocratically declared "divine" result — from the man Obama himself now obscenely and deferentially calls by the name, "Supreme Leader."

  28. Trochilus says:

    Wait . . . late breaking news!

    Though the POTUS is obviously still defensively concerned over becoming a political football — "I have made it clear that the United States respects the sovereignty of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and is not interfering in Iran's affairs." — Obama now says he is "appalled and outraged" by the actions of the Ahmadinejad regime in the past few days.

    But he gets very testy when Major Garrett asks him the obvious, "What took you so long?"

    And he begins to downright obfuscate when Garrett then asks the key follow-up question, "Any diplomats [Iranian government diplomats] still welcome at the Embassy on Fourth of July, sir?"

    The key part of his non-response was this: "We have said that if Iran chooses a path that abides by international norms and principles, then we are interested in healing some of the wounds of thirty years in terms of U.S. Iranian relations, but that is a choice that the Iranians are going to have to make."

    Pressed again as to whether the pre-crackdown invitation still stands, Obama again simply says: "That is a choice the Iranians are going to have to make."

    So he didn't explain what part of "appalled and outraged" somehow comes up short of cancelling an invitation to the representatives of a government that just finished murdering, brutalizing and jailing scores its own people peaceably protesting an election outcome, to attend an official Fourth of July celebration, of all things!

    Nor did he explain why the Iranian government's actions in so brutally putting down the protests, is not seen by the United States government as having choosen a path that clearly does not abide "by international norms and principles."

  29. Anonymous says:

    FOR THE LOVE OF CHRIST!…

    This has been a fun topic.

    It's about time Obama used some more serious words even though they're still half measures at best. In the end, speaking out against Iran NOW can only strengthen our position later and leaves us in stronger position on the road to "galvanizing" world opinion AGAINST the regime and their nuclear ambtions.

    We all know that we're going to have take a tougher stance against Iran when Obama's soft touch becomes a "Fail. Fail. Fail!"

    I HOPE THAT ALL OF YOU CAN UNDERSTAND MY POINT AND MY DECORUM!

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