Friday, June 19, 2009


The House voted today 405-1 to condemn Tehran's crackdown on demonstrators protesting last Friday's election outcome. The lone dissent was Ron Paul.

From the AP:

The policy statement expresses support for "all Iranian citizens who embrace the values of freedom, human rights, civil liberties and rule of law" and affirms "the importance of democratic and fair elections."

It also condemns "the ongoing violence" by the government and pro-government militias against demonstrators, as well as government "suppression of independent electronic communications through interference with the Internet and cell phones."

There's been criticism of Obama for not coming out strongly in support of the protesters.

Brandon Friedman had a piece on VetVoice yesterday in which he sides with Obama's reticence to become involved. He said, "One way you can help the oppressive Iranian government crush dissent is by handing them the argument that the protesters are tools of foreign governments. Allow them to say that the massive protest movement isn't a home-grown uprising. Let the ayatollahs tell the Iranian people that it's a product of American meddling--and that no patriotic, un-coerced Iranians would participate...This isn't about us. This is an internal movement within Iran and, ultimately, it's how democracies are born. And it's why the President has refrained from jumping directly into the fray over the Iranian election. As soon as we take an active role in trying to shape events in Iran, we'll hand the Iranian government the argument it needs to persuade regular Iranians that this isn't an organic uprising."

Charles Krauthammer, on the other hand, spoke out in his column this morning making the point that this is not about an election anymore:

"Moreover, this incipient revolution is no longer about the election. Obama totally misses the point. The election allowed the political space and provided the spark for the eruption of anti-regime fervor that has been simmering for years and awaiting its moment. But people aren't dying in the street because they want a recount of hanging chads in suburban Isfahan. They want to bring down the tyrannical, misogynist, corrupt theocracy that has imposed itself with the very baton-wielding goons that today attack the demonstrators."

Krauthammer closes his column by asking, "And where is our president? Afraid of 'meddling.' Afraid to take sides between the head-breaking, women-shackling exporters of terror -- and the people in the street yearning to breathe free. This from a president who fancies himself the restorer of America's moral standing in the world."

Who is correct? Which side is right? I don't know for sure, but I do know that I've been following these brave protesters since this story broke and I'm simply awed by their courage. I can't begin to imagine the courage it must take to do what they are doing. The pictures coming out of there have been incredible.

What will today's House resolution accomplish? At the very least it will let the people know that we support them and that just can't be bad. If it gives them strength and courage, that's great.

I wish Obama would say something like this:

All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you.

Democratic reformers facing repression, prison, or exile can know: America sees you for who you are: the future leaders of your free country.

The rulers of outlaw regimes can know that we still believe as Abraham Lincoln did: “Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves; and, under the rule of a just God, cannot long retain it.”

The leaders of governments with long habits of control need to know: To serve your people you must learn to trust them. Start on this journey of progress and justice, and America will walk at your side.

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