The PJ Tatler

Camp Ashraf

I am no fan of the MEK, and I am certainly not one of their overpaid “friends,” but the thought of abandoning them to the brutality of the Iranian regime makes my flesh crawl.  We inherited them from Saddam–for whom they worked against their native Iran–and, contrary to the propaganda of the anti-American left, we disarmed them and kept them on a reservation called Camp Ashraf.  Now they are at the mercy of the Maliki Government in Baghdad, and the supreme leader wants to kill them, in part for revenge for their actions during the Iran-Iraq War, and in part to humiliate Obama and demonstrate to any would-be friend of the United States that we can’t be relied upon.  When the going gets tough, the Americans go away, he wants to say.

So I think we should do what we can to ensure a soft landing for them, and I think it would be (yet another) disgrace if we stood silent if they are massacred.

Many of their lobbyists–most recently Howard Dean and Tom Ridge–argue that this means we should take them off the terrorist list.  I don’t get that, frankly.  That action would send a very counterproductive message to the Iranian people, most of whom consider the MEK a group of traitors who killed Iranians during the long war.  In that sense, it’s rather like the Cuban embargo.  You might not be enthusiastic about it, but lifting it would send a message of abandonment to the Cuban people.  The same applies here, I think.

So help them, leave the “listing” question for another day, and then get on with helping the Iranian people in Iran.  The MEK is not a major player;  it’s a few thousand people who shouldn’t be abandoned to our major enemies in Tehran after we took responsibility for them back in 2003.

Once upon a time we’d have considered this a question of honor.  Not now, evidently.