Saturday, June 20, 2009

Free Iran

Some brief thoughts:

For the past week, the people of Iran have taken to the streets to protest what is widely believed to be a corrupt or stolen election. It is heartening to see this desire for freedom and democracy in such a place.

Bloggers and activists in the U.S. and around the world, from both the left and right, have been very vocal over this past week in support of these Iranian Freedom Fighters, and I want to look back one day and know that I voiced at least a small measure of support for this cause as well.

In addition, world leaders, and political figures in the United States from both parties have spoken out and said that they stand with the protesters and their struggle. Yet, the President of the United States remains largely silent. He has made statements this week which seem to indicate that he really does not care if the dangerous madman Mahmoud Ahmadinejad remains in power or not, even if by means of a sham election. Mr. Obama is worried about being perceived as "meddling" in the affairs of another nation or in fear that by speaking out, it would only embolden the hardliners of Iran.

Any President obviously has to take these things into consideration, but Obama has been far too complacent. Isn't he supposed to be so wildly popular all around the world, especially among Muslims? A recent poll of Iranians has found that the U.S. is now less popular this year than it was last year when somebody else was President, but still, the job of any President of the United States should be to use the bully pulpit of his office to stand for freedom and against oppression. Obama ought to be using his international prestige and his rhetorical skills to advance the cause of liberty in what could be a massive turning point in world history. The people of Iran need to know that if they overturn their government, the United States will support them and welcome them into a world of improved relations.

If George W. Bush or John McCain were President today there would be no doubt around the world that the United States stood with the patriots in the streets of Tehran and was supportive of regime change. Instead, Mr. Obama refers to the Ayatollah as "Supreme Leader" and makes statements in which he seems to give him any possible benefit of the doubt, or makes it appear that the election itself was sort of irrelevant to the overall U.S. goal of negotiating with Iran.

Television images today are of violence on the streets of Tehran as the evil theocratic dictatorship that rules Iran is cracking down on dissent. People will lose their lives and this is either going to escalate into a bloody, tragic chapter in the history of Iran or we will see an all out revolution that forever alters that country, the region, and the well-being of the entire world.

So, while our new President continues to tread carefully, freedom loving Americans of all political stripes today are in spirit standing with those in Iran who are fighting back against brutality and evil.