Restating the Obvious About Dictatorships

In doing so, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) is being targeted. This is the same organization that exposed Iran’s covert nuclear enrichment activity in 2002 and the Qum facility in 2005, a claim later confirmed by the U.S. and Tehran officials. As Mohammed Ali Jafari, commander of the Revolutionary Guards, noted, “Our enemy has changed face. We face the threat of a soft overthrow instead of military invasion, so the Guard must also transform accordingly.”

When unrest surfaced after the June election, the Basij were unleashed to crack down on opposition supporters. And crack down they did. High profile dissidents were detained inside Tehran’s Evin Prison, where torture, beating, and rape are customary. So secret is this facility operated by the Revolutionary Guards that the ward is off-limits to prison guards, the judiciary, and even the intelligence ministry. Journalists were told that if arrested for sympathizing with the protestors, their contacts in the government wouldn’t be able to locate them or assist with their release.

That these incidents occur and could be duplicated in dozens of places across the globe should not come as a surprise. The Obama administration has been unable to legislate against evil, and its accommodating stance to dictators hasn’t yet yielded reciprocal liberalization. As I see it, Americans need a reminder that the world hasn’t changed in the Obama era even if we deny the war we are in, rationalize terrorist activity, or assume we can persuade totalitarians to act gently with their own people.

To survive we must remain vigilant. That means being able to tell the truth and avoid illusions and wishful thinking. We may hope for the best in Cuba and Iran, to cite the examples I employed, but realism tells us these regimes deny basic human rights and use abusive and exploitive tactics to maintain power. Any other conclusion, even if advocated by the president, is clearly delusional.