The rebellion in Iran presents President Obama with the chance to finally reveal which side of history he’s really on. He claims to be on the side of the repressed, the poor, the ‘little people’. Now is his chance to put his money where his mouth is.
I’ve been checking in all day on the situation in Iran. niacINsight has been live blogging the events. It’s heart breaking to read. A few examples of the dispatches they’ve received from friends and relatives in Iran:
WE NEED HELP. WE NEED SUPPORT. Time is not on our side , waiting and making sure means more casualties, more disappointment, more brutality.
“[We] are still safe, but to tell you the truth, all of us are feeling sick of what we have to see on streets these days. This afternoon, [we] saw five policemen attack a middle age lady. They beat her brutally, with no mercy. She tried to escape with her young daughter but they got her. I stopped and tried to help her, but three men in civilian clothes attacked my car, and I had to drive away because [my daughter] was with me. Tonight, people shouted “Allah o Akabar” from their roof tops, but hundreds of police forces on bikes swept the streets and marked houses from which they could hear voices. Tomorrow, I will go to a lawyer to ask for a [foreign] visa. This country will not be a safe place anymore, and I don’t want to repeat my parents’ mistake in 1979 by staying and watching.”
I entered facebook with an anti-filter, but I don’t know how long will it work. Please help us by sending emails. All internet news services are blocked, and we cannot understand if what we hear is true or false. Please tell U.N officials about police violence. People are dying here. Don’t leave us alone.
These people aren’t asking for a public health care program, an extra 13 weeks of unemployment or gay marriage. They want to live, and they’d like to live in freedom, without rigged elections. AllahPundit at Hot Air has excellent coverage of events here and here. Here’s video of a brave Iranian woman kicking a Basiji thug (via Gateway Pundit.)
Notice how three or four of the thugs whacked her with their knight sticks?
Michael Totten has more on the rebellion, including this video of riot officers running in terror from civilians. That’s a positive sign. Will President Obama notice?
Indiana Rep. Mike Pence urged President Obama to come out in support of the reformers in Iran. (Via memeorandum.)
The Wall Street Journal has an excellent op-ed explaining the election (or sham) and what the US should do about it.
The election was a sham thrice over. Though elected by popular vote, Iran’s president is subservient to an unelected Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The four candidates whose names made it on the presidential ballot this year were pre-screened by an unelected Guardian Council composed mostly of Islamic clerics, which also disqualified more than 400 others.
What’s remarkable is that these leaders still felt the need to rig the results. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won by a two-to-one reported margin over principal challenger Mir Hossein Mousavi despite having driven the Iranian economy into a ditch. As the Associated Press reported, election authorities were miraculously able to count millions of paper ballots almost immediately after the polls closed to hand Mr. Ahmadinejad his supposed victory. In previous elections, the vote count had come more slowly and with regional delays. “What is most shocking is not the fraud itself, but that it was brazen and entirely without pretext,” writes Laura Secor in the New Yorker. …
Now Mr. Mousavi’s supporters are in Tehran’s streets, scuffling with riot police and chanting “death to the dictator,” meaning Mr. Ahmadinejad but probably Mr. Khamenei as well. This has the potential to be an historic moment, though the regime is already showing by its display of force against protestors that it will not give up power easily. One precedent for many Iranian protestors is the regime’s bloody crackdown on university student protests in 1999, in which scores of students disappeared.
Having shown such courage, the demonstrators deserve Western support, not least from the media that have recently trumpeted the Mousavi candidacy as evidence of Iran’s openness and potential for reform, conciliation and so on. Whatever happens in the days ahead, the world has now seen the tyranny raw. The least we owe the protestors is not to look away.
That moral obligation goes especially for the Obama Administration. President Obama came to office promising the world’s dictators an open hand in exchange for an unclenched fist. But as with Kim Jong Il’s nuclear advances and the sham trial of two Americans in North Korea, Mr. Khamenei has repudiated the President’s diplomacy of friendly overture. It turns out that the “axis of evil” really is evil — and not, as liberal sages would have it, merely misunderstood.
The vote should prompt Mr. Obama to rethink his pursuit of a grand nuclear bargain with Iran, though early indications suggest he plans to try anyway. On Saturday, the New York Times quoted one unnamed senior Administration official to the effect that the election uproar would cause Mr. Ahmadinejad to be more receptive to Mr. Obama’s overtures as a sop to disgruntled public opinion. If the Administration really believes this, then Mr. Obama is the second coming of Jimmy Carter and the mullahs will play him for time to get their bomb. Read entire article at The Wall Street Journal.
President Obama needs to come out in support of the people of Iran, rather than lending legitimacy to their sham government. Joe Biden warned us that Obama would be tested early on foreign policy. On that he was right. We’ll have to wait and see if we will be disappointed with his response.