Last Friday, President Obama praised the elections in Iran for the “vigorous debate” taking place. At the time of this writing, he’s had far less to say about the vigorous beatings taking place in Tehran, where the batons are falling on those who dared think their vote mattered.
The Iranian government is jamming the broadcasting signal of the BBC and has shut down the offices of Al-Arabiya television, preventing the Iranian people from learning what is happening around them. They are forced instead to rely on the deception and dishonesty of the media aligned with the government, virtually every outlet announcing the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. That hasn’t stopped tens of thousands of Iranians from rallying around their candidate, Mir-Hossein Mousavi, despite that gathering being banned by the Iranian Interior Ministry. Unfortunately, there are now reports of Ahmadinejad’s thugs reportedly killing more than a dozen of the protesters.
Ahmadinejad, responding to his fellow countrymen, has said that his country must be “purified” of the opposition.
He has proclaimed that their only option is “surrender.” This is dangerous language, and we only need to look at the history of the 20th century to remind us of the evil that can take place when good people do nothing. Meanwhile, Obama has said nothing since Friday, when he made his ill-timed mention of the “vigorous debate” taking place before the election. To the people who believed that debate meant something, he has offered nothing. No statement in support of democracy, no statement condemning — in even the most milquetoast of language — the brutal crackdown and suppression of political speech.
It may be that President Obama believes diplomacy requires a nimble touch and careful words, but never should diplomacy take a back seat to democracy. Never should diplomacy take its cues from a despot. Never should our Republic bend to tyranny.
Does Obama still maintain that a conversation with Ahmadinejad would produce any tangible benefit to our people? The “president” of Iran has shown that he cannot be trusted with the safety and well-being of Iranians. Why then should we expect that he is to be trusted when it comes to our own safety and security?
We should not, nor should we expect that if for some reason Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei acquiesces to the demands of the Iranian voters who cast their lot with Mousavi, Iran will become a more reasonable country to deal with. The events of the last few days have shown beyond a shadow of a doubt that the rulers of Iran have their own agenda.
If they are willing to subject their own citizens to the truncheon and the trigger, what are they willing to do to the nations they have declared their enemies?