The PJ Tatler

Hillary Clinton: U.S. Was 'Too Restrained in Our Support' of the 2009 Iranian Green Revolution

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Hillary Clinton gave a speech at the Brookings Institute in D.C. where she endorsed President Barack Obama’s Iran deal, and laid out her own 5-point plan on Iran.

A comment she made regarding the 2009 Iranian pro-democracy Green Revolution has raised a few eyebrows though.

If you’ll recall, millions of people had poured out into the streets to protest the sham election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. One of the leaders of the Green Revolution, the widely revered Hussein-Ali Montazeri, had issued a fatwa against nuclear weapons, but without a regime change, there was no real hope that Iran would abandon its nuclear weapons program. The country was at a tipping point, and with a little encouragement and logistical support, the murderous Iranian regime could have been overthrown. Hillary Clinton was the secretary of State at the time.

Clinton said in her speech this morning that the U.S. was “too restrained in our support of the protests in June 2009.” She added, “that won’t happen again.”

The Obama administration squandered a huge opportunity to do some good in the region because they were fixated on negotiating the crummy nuke deal that Hillary now supports.  The majority of Congress opposes the deal, and only 21% of the American people support it.

Charles Krauthammer wrote despairingly about the year of wasted opportunities in December of 2009:

 In Iran, it was a year of revolution, beginning with a contested election and culminating this week in huge demonstrations mourning the death of the dissident Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri — and demanding no longer a recount of the stolen election, but the overthrow of the clerical dictatorship.

Obama responded by distancing himself from this new birth of freedom.

First, scandalous silence. Then, a few grudging words. Then relentless engagement with the murderous regime. With offer after offer, gesture after gesture — not to Iran but to the “Islamic Republic of Iran,” as Obama ever so respectfully called these clerical fascists — the U.S. conferred legitimacy on a regime desperate to regain it.

Why is this so important? Because revolutions succeed at that singular moment, that imperceptible historical inflection, when the people, and particularly those in power, realize that the regime has lost the mandate of heaven. With this weakening dictatorship desperate for affirmation, why is the U.S. repeatedly offering just such affirmation?

Apart from ostracizing and delegitimizing these gangsters, we should be encouraging and reinforcing the demonstrators.

This is no trivial matter. When pursued, beaten, arrested and imprisoned, dissidents can easily succumb to feelings of despair and isolation. Natan Sharansky testifies to the electric effect Ronald Reagan‘s Evil Empire speech had on lifting spirits in the Gulag. The news was spread cell to cell in code tapped on the walls. They knew they weren’t alone, that America was committed to their cause.

Yet so aloof has Obama been that on Hate America Day (Nov. 4, the anniversary of the 1979 seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran), pro-American counter-demonstrators chanted, “Obama, Obama, you are either with us or with them,” i.e., their oppressors.

Such cool indifference is more than a betrayal of our values. It’s a strategic blunder of the first order.

No worries though. With Hillary at the helm, such a massive strategic blunder “won’t happen again.”