Brother Michael writes of the coming election:
It’s symptomatic of the failure of strategic vision from which our chatterers and leaders currently suffer, that so many words and so much energy are being wasted on the immense charade that goes under the name of Iranian “elections.” Any normal person familiar with the Islamic republic knows that these are not elections at all, and for extras have nothing to do with the future of the Iranian nation. They are a mise en scene, an entertainment, a comic opera staged for our benefit. The purpose of the charade, pure and simple, is to deter us from supporting the forces of democratic revolution in Iran.
Ask yourself two simple questions. Does the president of Iran hold any real power? Has any “candidate” (of which there are eight) been chosen by anyone other than the supreme leader and his cronies?
No, and no. Whoever is “elected” (and you can be sure that the outcome is already known, millions of “officially cast” ballots having been manufactured weeks ago, to ensure the right guy wins and that enough votes will have been cast) will be an instrument of the mullahcracy. The sole “issue” in the farce is how best to convince George W. Bush that it would be wrong for the United States to press on with support for the forces of freedom in Iran, because that would “force” the mullahs to crack down (which they are doing already). The slogan for the post-electoral period will be “give reform a chance.” And you can be sure that the useful idiots among us, from the Amanpour woman at CNN to the Haass man at the Council on Foreign Relations, have already prepared their sermons and their slogans, ranging from “hopes for a new relationship” to “a rare opportunity for an historic dialogue,” and other such slogans.
We have heard these slogans before, applied to other tyrannies shortly before they attacked democratic societies. When Stalin ruled the Soviet empire, great attention was paid to elections to the Politburo, as if the Molotovs and the Berias were independent actors, capable of moderating or liberalizing or reforming the Soviet Union. When the Fuhrer ruled the Third Reich, even British diplomats confidently announced that Hitler had “no further territorial ambitions,” and was, after all, surrounded by reasonable industrialist types like Goehring. And who can forget – actually, who can remember – the surge of empathy when it was announced that comrade Andropov – until yesterday the boss of the KGB and now the new Soviet dictator – liked jazz?
I don’t. (Well, barely) Meanwhile, however, it is worth noting the deafening silence that has accompanied this poll.
UPDATE: Even the BBC sounds skeptical about the Iranian election, branding the reform-oriented voters apathetic about real change after the failure of supposed reformer Khatami. Not surprisingly, Bush is even more critical: “Power is in the hands of an unelected few who have retained power through an electoral process that ignores the basic requirements of democracy,” he said.