June 20, 2009

"The universal rights to assembly and free speech must be respected, and the United States stands with all who seek to exercise those rights."

President Obama.

ADDED: I'm wondering what Bush would have said... and if perhaps Obama feels he needs to avoid saying what Bush would have said.

IN THE COMMENTS: Meade won't let me front-page him since we're going to get married and it's a Saturday night and we've each had a beer, so I need to tell you to go in there and read Part 1 and Part 2.

95 comments:

John Burgess said...

It's about time somebody remembered Civics class...

Cabbage said...

I'm with Larison on this whole "what should Obama say about Iran thing?"

Lyle said...

I think Obama has handled the protests and violence in Iran well. His lawyer skills are showing. Speak only when you need to and don't say a whole lot.

Teddy Roosevelt would be proud... although I'm not sure how big our stick is when it comes to Iran, cause we can't stop them from building nukes if they want them.

Lyle said...

Cabbage,

I'm with Larison too.

Lawgiver said...

It's about time Obama addressed this issue, the Chinese have been suppressing these universal rights for years.

Oh, he's talking about Iran.

Never mind.

Meade said...

"...the United States stands..."

Standing is fine.

Question is will you take any steps.

Kansas City said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dbp said...

Kudos to the President!

One small gripe though--he should say it on tape and not just put it out through the press office.

But still good--this is progress in the right direction.

Kansas City said...

This is more babble. Why can't he just directly say the U.S. condemns the government and stands with the people?

I think the problems are: (1) Obama's investment in the idea that he could successfully negotiate with the Mullahs, which he cannot let go of; and (2) his fear the Mullahs will accuse us of "meddling." The first is naive and the scond unduly fearful of what the bad guys will say. He should speak with power and purpose in support of the people. It is the opportunity that the world have been waiting for the last 30 years (the toppling of the mad Mullahs) and Obama is weak and fearful in his reponse.

There is the chance that the Bush policy of the last 8 years still might help produce over a 1,000 miles of freedom from Afghanistan through Lebanon.

Jason (the commenter) said...

dbp : One small gripe though--he should say it on tape and not just put it out through the press office.

Will he ever say this on camera? There's something strange about Obama; he's deliberate and yet somehow random at the same time. He never goes all the way, and always leaves you unsatisfied.

rhhardin said...

A sternly worded letter was called for.

Cedarford said...

Lyle said...
I think Obama has handled the protests and violence in Iran well. His lawyer skills are showing. Speak only when you need to and don't say a whole lot.

Teddy Roosevelt would be proud... although I'm not sure how big our stick is when it comes to Iran, cause we can't stop them from building nukes if they want them.


Kissinger endorses Obama's actions, calling it just about dead on right for the situation. Don't take sides. Speak of general principles of rights Iran agreed to - but don't lecture the Regime or the Iranian people. And consult with those nations in the region that are also watching the situation, affected, with some great knowledge of Iran and possible influence - notably Turkey, KSA, Jordan, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Russia.

As for your second point..no, we could stop Iran from nuclear activities with war - but it would be a ruinious war for America, outside our true American vital interests, with casualties, expenses, and economic catastrophe on a scale unacceptable to the American public.

Israel would love us to do their work for them, as we did in Iraq. But the days of the neocons and John McCain threatening war with Iran and war with Russia over Georgia are over..

Cedarford said...

KC - There is the chance that the Bush policy of the last 8 years still might help produce over a 1,000 miles of freedom from Afghanistan through Lebanon..

Despite all present evidence and common sense to the contrary..

EDH said...

The only way I could excuse Obama's reticence is if, covertly, he's sending in lawyers, guns and money.

But then who ever accused Obama of being an Excitable Boy?

bearbee said...

Did Obama feel pressure to follow?

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown had already level criticism on Friday and on tape:

We are with others, including the whole of the European Union unanimously today, in condemning the use of violence, in condemning media suppression," Brown told a news conference after a European Union summit in Brussels

bearbee said...

BTW, I feel slighted.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei denounced Britain as “the most evil” of Iran’s enemies and placing the "Great Satan" in 2nd place.

That stings.

EDH said...

Cedarford said...

Despite all present evidence and common sense to the contrary... [that the Bush policy of the last 8 years still might help produce over a 1,000 miles of freedom from Afghanistan through Lebanon]


It would seem, however, that following the US invasion of Iraq, popular fear of the external threat posed by that US presence and Shia-dominated regime in Iraq is doing less to prop-up the Iranian regime than did Saddam's presence on the doorstep.

No?

Kansas City said...

I just saw the snippet of Obama on the CBS interview and he is even worse.

What is with the "world is watching" theme? I think Obama must have come up with it and so he is sticking to it.

The Mullahs couldn't care less about the world watching them.

Cedarford:

I assume you are in the [large] group of people who will no give Bush credit for anything. But there is a chance that Iraq will succeed, Afghanistan will be a better and more free place, and the Iranians will overthrow their government. I even assume Syria's leader will fall someday in the not too distant future. Iraq and Afghanistan already have more freedom than they have ever had. Why is it so hard to see the possibility of freedom speading through the region as the result in part of the Bush policies?

By the way, while it will never happen, in a big picture way, one could justify military action to overthrow the Mullahs. The cost would be extraordinary and, of course, it could fail. However, if successful, the result would be more extraordinary and significantly change the world for the better.

All the handwringing about the CIA helping to overthrow the Iranian goverment in 1953 is misguided. It produced a vital ally for 25 years of the Cold War and stopped Soviet encroachment on Iran. Carter unwisely allowed the Shah to fall and, as the result, we have had the last 30 years of Iranian terrorism and tyranny.

Lem said...

OMG. Bush.. I mean Obama is going to invade Iran.

chuck said...

The rest:


As I said in Cairo, suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. The Iranian people will ultimately judge the actions of their own government. If the Iranian government seeks the respect of the international community, it must respect the dignity of its own people and govern through consent, not coercion.



Martin Luther King once said - "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." I believe that. The international community believes that. And right now, we are bearing witness to the Iranian peoples’ belief in that truth, and we will continue to bear witness.


Obama needs to start editing out the I's. The guy just reeks insecurity and it weakens his statements.

Kansas City said...

Aside from speaking in support, which probably would not provide much tangible aid to the Iranian people, is there anything U.S. and other freedom supporting countries could do that would actually help the Iranian people?

Kansas City said...

Why does Obama speak so often in the first person?


Chuck said it "reeks insecurity." Is that true? I thought it reflected some degree of narcisism and a preoccupation with himself -- over confidence if anything. But does it really reflect insecurity?

Zachary Paul Sire said...

He's handled this issue extremely well, and it's moments like this that remind me why I voted for him, despite all my other problems with him.

It is not the United States' job to tell other countries how to run their elections, but at the same time he speaks out for freedom and democracy. It's very smart. He says just enough to stir the pot but can back away and not claim any direct influence or meddling in their sovereign affairs. Brilliant move.

Chip Ahoy said...

I commend Obama making a statement on universal human rights, for whatever my commendation is worth, which is nothing.

Statement. The depth of it all. I can hardly stand it.

The One™ has spoken, and having thus spoken the earth shook, but not with laughter. Even so well spoken, he could be mistaken there. I do not believe the rights to assembly and free speech are universal, not by a long shot. They should be universal but they're not. The Iranians have the government they insisted upon having, one they brought into being themselves through violence with an incredible rejection of modern values, which I'm imagining to include the value of assembly and of free speech. In so doing they held 52 innocent Americans hostage to their violent and depressing backward-moving regime change bullshit for four hundred forty-four days and they've been a noxious pain in the arse since November of 1979, that's twenty-nine years and seven months of straight-up theocracy, the worst most retarded form of government imaginable. I'm rather tired of being referred to as Satan so they can all just bite me, where bite me means go where Dante went and let Charon be their guide across the river Styx.

Jim said...

Obama could do what several presidents have done in the past: hold "naval exercises" off their coast.

It would be a tangible show of support for the protestors; it doesn't cost us a drop of American blood; and it would put teeth in the "world is watching" statement that he put out.

If you're watching Twitter, then you know that the protesters are crying out for the world to do more than just issue written statements. Too bad Obama's too busy getting ice cream to notice.

jayne_cobb said...

I keep having flashbacks to Georgia last August.

Quayle said...

Obama moving in the right direction. Good to see. Seems right. It seems strong.

Lem said...

He's handled this issue extremely well, and it's moments like this that remind me why I voted for him, despite all my other problems with him.

I suppose a president can coast on the loyalty and admiration of the American people. For a while.

Meanwhile.

Zach said...

I like that Obama is moving further from his moral equivalency earlier in the week. But releasing a bland printed statement almost entirely in the passive voice isn't enough. Quoting his own bland speeches isn't enough.

I want some recognition of the moral side of this crisis. For the president, that means personally identifying with the protesters, and personally giving a statement on video. Something the protesters can take some comfort from during these hard times.

How can we stand for democracy without giving moral support for those who suffer in its name? We don't have much leverage to give practical support, but we should do what we can. Maybe we could open the embassy to give medical aid or offer some other kind of humanitarian assistance.

Lem said...

We could start by letting the wounded take shelter in our embassy.

Word is the people are getting arrested at the hospitals.

Lem said...

Somehow let the tweets know the American embassy wont turn them away.

Lem said...

Oops, we dont have an embassy in Iran.

Lyle said...

Cedarford,

We aren't going to go to war with Iran... that's why they will build nukes if they want them, i.e., we can't stop them because we will not go to war with them.

You more or less just regurgitated my argument.

Meade,

There are not steps for the U.S. or Obama to take. What happens in Iran, happens in Iran. He and we can only await the results.

Meade said...

Lyle said..."There are not steps for the U.S. or Obama to take. What happens in Iran, happens in Iran. He and we can only await the results."

Barack Obama said... "Martin Luther King once said - "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." I believe that. The international community believes that. And right now, we are bearing witness to the Iranian peoples’ belief in that truth, and we will continue to bear witness."

And then he said... "In pursuit of our goals, our first imperative is to clarify what we stand for: the United States must defend liberty and justice because these principles are right and true for all people everywhere. No nation owns these aspirations, and no nation is exempt from them. Fathers and mothers in all societies want their children to be educated and to live free from poverty and violence. No people on earth yearn to be oppressed, aspire to servitude, or eagerly await the midnight knock of the secret police.

America must stand firmly for the nonnegotiable demands of human dignity: the rule of law; limits on the absolute power of the state; free speech; freedom of worship; equal justice; respect for women; religious and ethnic tolerance; and respect for private property."

Oops... sorry. That was George Bush who said that.

Pastafarian said...

Compare this weak tea from Obama to the speeches delivered by Kennedy and Reagan in situations like this.

Obama has given these milquetoast statements in support of assembly and free speech and PEACEFUL protest -- always with that sort of qualifier. What exactly does peaceful protest get you against a dictatorship? Did we, at some point, decide that violent resistance to dictatorship is something that we no longer support?

The more the violence ratchets up in Iran, and the longer Obama goes without any meaningful action or statement, the more disgusted I am with him.

Meade said...

President Bush said that at West Point, New York on
June 1, 2002. It was the essential statement of what became known as the Bush Doctrine.

If Sarah Palin had been able to recite those words to Charlie Gibson September 11, 2008, Barack Obama would still be a junior Senator from Illinois.

Duscany said...

Cedarford: "... the days of the neocons and John McCain threatening war with Iran and war with Russia over Georgia are over.."

I can tell you the exact moment when John McCain lost me during the last presidential election. It was when he said "we are all Georgians." I had to look twice to find Georgia on a map and here is McCain telling us that we need to get into a land war with Russia on its own border over a hot-headed little pipsqueak of a country which started the shooting in the first place?

Quayle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeremy said...

Bush would have already had us knee-deep in an invasion or worse.

Why people here have this insane notion that George W. Bush had any idea what the fuck he was doing is strange indeed.

The man carried a 27% approval rating out the door, obliterated our reputation throughout the world, not only with those who didn't like us in the first place, but with our trusted allies as well...yet most here still talk about him like he was some kind of thoughtful, successful President who represented our country with dignity and truth.

Well, I've a got a news flash for you: Other than the rest of the hard core wingnuts and Obama haters...you're about the ONLY people in the world who believe that.

And that goes for the dynamic duo, Ann and Meade, too...

traditionalguy said...

Kissenger is right about one thing: when the Iranian people realize that Obama's USA will not do anything for their freedom but will sell them out for a few years more stability in a poker game Obama wants to play with Isreal in the middle-east, then the USA will actually be hated. Not that there is anything wrong with that. Just ask Ron Paul.

Jim said...

Chuck said it "reeks insecurity." Is that true? I thought it reflected some degree of narcisism and a preoccupation with himself -- over confidence if anything. But does it really reflect insecurity?

You're actually both right. It's calling compensating narcissism. Deep down inside you're insecure, so as a public show you overcompensate with narcissism. For a guy who had to let Bill Ayers write his autobiography, that's probably not a terribly inaccurate description of his mental state.

c w swanson said...

Jeremy,
Bush is very popular in places where people haven't had freedom, but do now, or have better lives because of the principled stands he took while in office, or because of the help he sent when no one else would. Think Africa, where he made a tour to wide acclaim for his work against aids. Think Albania, or Georgia, where they lionize him for the help he provided when the rest of the world was willing to ignore them. And really, think Iraq, where in spite of all the difficulties, there have been multiple free elections, which people widely participated in, in spite of threats of death, and which have left those societies far better off than they were before. Think of the freedom movements in Lebanon, Ukraine and other places, which were at least inspired in part by Bush's stand for freedom, and his willingness to advocate for it around the world. Think of his visit with Christians in China, a persecuted group, in order to show solidity and advocate for tolerance from the Communist government.
All these widely divergent groups have benefited from Bush's principles of freedom, and I believe they do appreciate him beyond any recent president.
Finally, his low approval rating in the US is in large part due to the MSM, and their willingness to ignore his successes, and highlight his failures,and even make up derogatory things about him. Think Dan Rather.
History will judge Mr. Bush far more fairly than you, Jeremy, as others all over the wide world already do.

F15C said...

Pardon the length of this comment, but my wife is Iranian (by way of Iraq) and I lived through the Solidarity movement in Poland and see parallels in Iran. Also, I'm massively tired right now from trying to keep up with her relatives and such.

In thinking about what Obama should do, the situation reminds me of Poland in 1981 when martial law was declared in an attempt to crush the Solidarity movement. He could probably learn something from Reagan - though, sadly, I know he won't...

Reagan reacted unequivocally by calling Karol Józef Wojtyła, the future Pope John Paul II, the very day martial law was declared and stated clear and unqualified support for the people - not the government. His words were made public the next day.

On the other hand, Obama has equivocated mightily so far about the uprising in Iran. Example: "And I want to start off by being very clear that it is up to Iranians to make decisions about who Iran’s leaders will be; that we respect Iranian sovereignty and want to avoid the United States being the issue inside of Iran, which sometimes the United States can be a handy political football — or discussions with the United States."

I feel smarmy just pasting those words...

The words of Lech Walesa, leader of Solidarity, are appropriate right now as they provide valuable perspective on what helped him to help free Poland:

"When talking about Ronald Reagan, I have to be personal. We in Poland took him so personally. Why? Because we owe him our liberty. This can't be said often enough by people who lived under
oppression for half a century, until communism fell in 1989.

Poles fought for their freedom for so many years that they hold in
special esteem those who backed them in their struggle. Support was the test of friendship. President Reagan was such a friend. His policy of aiding democratic movements in Central and Eastern Europe in the dark
days of the Cold War meant a lot to us. We knew he believed in a few
simple principles such as human rights, democracy and civil society. He was someone who was convinced that the citizen is not for the state, but vice-versa, and that freedom is an innate right.

...
I have often been asked in the United States to sign the poster that many Americans consider very significant. Prepared for the first
almost-free parliamentary elections in Poland in 1989, the poster shows Gary Cooper as the lonely sheriff in the American Western, "High Noon." Under the headline "At High Noon" runs the red Solidarity banner and the
date -- June 4, 1989 -- of the poll. It was a simple but effective
gimmick that, at the time, was misunderstood by the Communists. They, in fact, tried to ridicule the freedom movement in Poland as an invention of the "Wild" West, especially the U.S.

But the poster had the opposite impact: Cowboys in Western clothes had become a powerful symbol for Poles. Cowboys fight for justice, fight against evil, and fight for freedom, both physical and spiritual. Solidarity trounced the Communists in that election, paving the way for a democratic government in Poland."

Cedarford said...

Duscany said...
Cedarford: "... the days of the neocons and John McCain threatening war with Iran and war with Russia over Georgia are over.."

I can tell you the exact moment when John McCain lost me during the last presidential election. It was when he said "we are all Georgians." I had to look twice to find Georgia on a map and here is McCain telling us that we need to get into a land war with Russia on its own border over a hot-headed little pipsqueak of a country which started the shooting in the first place?


Yeah, that was one thing that that added to factors that - despite my being conservative - concluding that John McCain was a horrible choice for President. Send advisors and weapons to Georgia to help them fight Russia? Genius!

He was also parading around with his doppleganger, Sen Lieberman, saying that there was a fierce urgency to stopping Iran at all costs - with new sanctions - so that war "may not be necessary". Along with his idiot VP Palin saying that if Israel did a sneak attack on Iran (involving us as complicit if we allowed them to cross Iraq airspace) - it was something that America had to back - because "Yah never 2nd Guess what Israel wants..Yah support them!"

Of course other factors included McCain & Palin knowing little about what to do with the financial meltdown, McCains history of treachery towards fellow Republicans, and both appeared almost incoherent when attempting to discuss issues "off-script".

Pogo said...

Thank God for cowboys.


Obama ain't no cowboy.

NKVD said...

A majority of Americans now hate cowboys and love pussies. Obama is a pussy.

Jim said...

c w -

Jeremy is nothing more than the chihuahua that bites at the ankles of serious people. Just a flick of the leg is all it takes to rid yourself of him.

Leftists like Jeremy aren't any different than the Leftists who were positively giddy when Reagan was term-limited out of office. They pointed to his reduced popularity from the day of his first inauguration and said that it was proof that he was a failure as a president.

They are the same people who were telling us in 1980 that capitalism was dead, that we should give up our struggle against the USSR because we were predestined to lose, that Reagan's tax cuts would destroy the economy and so on. They have always been on the wrong side of history, and then struggle to rewrite their role in it every time they are proven wrong.

As you so aptly point out, it is primarily the Left in this country who hate Bush so very much. The Lebanese who credit Bush with their recent free elections know who was responsible, as do the Iraqis who are alive because Saddam Hussein can no longer commit casual genocide on a daily basis. As do all of the other peoples that you mentioned in your post.

Even Europe's leaders are longing for a return to American foreign policy under Bush. So far Obama has brought them "buy American" protectionism in the stimulus bill in direct violation of our obligations under various treaties, this non-response to the Iranian crisis, inaction in the face of multiple missile launches by North Korea and several snubbings of our allies in Germany, France, England and Israel. Sarkosy famously noted how Obama came to a climate change conference uneducated and unprepared. The British media have dubbed Obama "President Pantywaist."...and this is the Leftist idea of the "smart diplomacy" that only such a sophisticate as Obama could conduct.

And we're only entering the sixth month of his presidency...

traditionalguy said...

Does drill here, drill now have a greater meaning when we see that fear of shuting down the Persian Gulf oil has us paralyzed in today's time to act? The fake CO2 scare is instead being pushed as if true in an attempt to enrich the alternate energy corrupt groups with a tax money rip off. Who was that Alaska Governor who was a mere strong woman? She seemed to understand common sense about energy strength more than all 525 thieves in DC.

Randy said...

A majority of Americans now hate cowboys and love pussies. Obama is a pussy.

Unless sexual orientaions have dramatically changed, it seems to that the total of straight men + lesbians remains < the total of straight women + gay men.

Jim said...

traditionalguy -

"She seemed to understand common sense about energy strength more than all 525 thieves in DC."

She also understood the truth of the nature of the Iranian regime when Obama thought that he was so super smart for claiming that he not only make the waters recede, but bring this terror-sponsoring, murderous regime to tea at the White House.

So for all those people who are claiming that Palin is an "idiot," how much lower must Obama's IQ be that he still can't seem to figure it out even in the face of its outright brutality towards its own citizenry?

PWS said...

Meade you sound bitter about McCain's loss. ... I know this is a nice meme Ann has touched on at times that Obama is like Bush, doing what Bush did, etc.

(BTW - I like Obama, but never drank the koolaid.)

So yeah, Obama is saying some things Bush said. So take that quote from Bush you used. That quote is so axiomatic that I would hope you can find similar ones from presidents going back.

I don't think the part you quoted is the Bush doctrine. The Bush doctrine is more commonly used to refer to preventive war and that the United States has the right to secure itself from countries that harbor or give aid to terrorists groups (see Afghanistan).

I think the war was bad and not worth the cost (financially and otherwise).

The worse part of Bush was sacrificing our values in the name of security. Missed the big picture. And I think Obama gets that and that's where they are going to be different.

Jim said...

"I don't think the part you quoted is the Bush doctrine. "

And Krauthammer nailed Gibson's behind to the wall for not understanding the question he asked Palin during the campaign. As Krauthammer noted, there have been several iterations of the "Bush doctrine," and asking for clarification of what Gibson was asking was entirely appropriate. That Gibson couldn't do so and didn't understand the request for clarification says much more about Palin's critics who seized on this and Gibson himself than it does about Palin.

Ralph L said...

all 525 thieves in DC

Do you mean there are 11 that aren't? Please name them.

PWS said...

Well, Palin's critics (and Gibson) may have been wrong on that issue, but that doesn't mean Palin wasn't a lightweight.

Ralph L said...

The worse part of Bush was sacrificing our values in the name of security.

Which values? Considering all the compromises, official and ad hoc, made in previous WARS, this one has been remarkably like peacetime. OK, without Bobby Kennedy taping MLK bonking women not his wife.

1jpb said...

"Axis of evil." And, all the other words Meade loves so much resulted in who being elected and who being rejected as a result of the Iranian election that occurred during the Bush years? You know, the election that occurred after the freeing of Iraq, which was supposed to motivate all sorts of other freedom loving countries in the neighborhood?

Are the Iranians waiting for an American president to talk tough? Er...[removes brain]...yes, of course they are!!! The attack line that BHO must talk tougher is based on a genuine belief that BHO talking tough would cause the Iranian regime to give in. After all Bush's tough talk and Iraq attack resulted in a reformer winning in the last election. And, hundreds of thousands of Iranians took to the streets thanks to Bush's tough talk and his Iraq attack after the last elections while Bush was the P. Riiiiiiiiiiiight. You betcha. [/removes brain]

I heard Pence relay his supposedly clever "this wall is none of our business" line on three different occasions. I can only imagine how many additional times he's rolled out this canned line. I wonder if he thought of it himself. Maybe it was the result of a brain storming session of sleazy Rs eager to use the suffering of Iranians for political gain.

Maybe McCain can roll out an oldie but a goodie; "bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran."

If only Bush or Mr. Bomb Iran were president things would be so much better. You betcha.

Stupid is as stupid does. That so many of you like to participate in and fall for stupid must mean you have too much free time...or you're stupid, and you truly can't see through these R talking points.

Losers either way.

1jpb said...

Out of power losers, I should note. Thankfully this sort of stupidity is out of power.

Pogo said...

Out of power losers, I should note. Thankfully this sort of stupidity is out of power.

Ah. the same words spoken by Mr. Dinner jacket.

Randy said...

Who, pray tell, is "Mr. Dinner Jacket?"

Pogo said...

It's the Americanization/mockery of Ahmadinejad, “I'm a dinner jacket”.

1jpb said...

Pogo,

Right, Ahmadinejad loves that
BHO has taken over. He totally agrees w/, adores, appreciates, and is advantaged by BHO. Things have have really gone his way since BHO took over and changed the language of the American government.

Stupid is as stupid does.

Pogo said...

Gee, good comeback dude.

Is it supposed to mean something?

1jpb said...

Pogo,

It means that I'm saying you're stupid.

Here is an assignment that will help you be less stupid. Learn about the circumstances of the Iranian regime from the time we invaded Afghanistan to the end of Bush's second term. What was the result of Bush's Iraq attack and tough talk (which you and Meade love)? What has been the circumstances for the Iranian regime since BHO reversed the tough talking Bush bluster (which you and Meade love). Obviously Ahmadinejad et. al. had a lot better time w/ Bush in power--Ahmadinejad wasn't even in power until Bush's Iraq attack and tough talk (which you and Meade love).

I'll give you a hint. Bush starts w/ an awful Iranian regime and ends w/ an ultra awful Iranian regime. BHO starts w/ the ultra awful Iranian regime that he inherited from Bush's Iraq attack and tough jabber (which you and Meade love) and he's already got the Iranian regime openly dragging itself through the mud a thousand times more effectively than any Bush bluster (that you and Mead love) ever could have.

So, already BHO has achieved more than the counterproductive (as measured by the circumstances of the Iranian regime) Bush Iraq attack and tough talk (which you and Meade love).

Interesting, don't ya think? And if you don't think, maybe you should start.

Pogo said...

Curious reading, yours. Cowardly and wrong, but curious.

Beth said...

Meade, parts I and II - do you believe we'd be invading Iran right now, under the Bush Doctrine? What, besides stirring words, are you wanting from Obama? And stirring words are good - I would like them, too. But what else?

Jason said...

1jpb..

Do you also credit roosters with making the sun rise, too?

former law student said...

the opportunity that the world have been waiting for the last 30 years (the toppling of the mad Mullahs)
...
Carter unwisely allowed the Shah to fall and, as the result, we have had the last 30 years of Iranian terrorism and tyranny.

Compare this weak tea from Obama to the speeches delivered by Kennedy and Reagan in situations like this.

I wonder why Reagan didn't invade Iran as soon as he took office and Iran released the US hostages. How hard could it have been; the Shah had been ousted only a couple years before?

So how did Reagan respond to the Mullahs' control of Iran? I mean, other than supply them with arms in violation of the arms embargo. His Secretary of Defense even went to prison for his role in this. Until Reagan's VP pardoned him, of course. And of course, St. Ronald O'Reagan knew nothing about any of this. I'm not sure why his Cabinet kept all this from him. Perhaps they didn't want him to be upset, or perhaps they didn't want to wake him from his nap.

And speaking of George H.W. Bush, how did he handle the equivalent of the students' seeking democracy in Iran, the Chinese students seeking democracy in Tiananmen Square?

reader_iam said...

Hell's frozen over: reader_iam thinks rhhardin's 3:55 p.m wins the thread, hands down, and make no mistake about that.

(Which is not to say Meade's posts here aren't excellent, wickedly excellent, and excellently on point: They are, period.

Still, they're about a different thing.)

Lyle said...

Meade,

I'm not sure Obama and Bush have not said the same thing. I think it is clear where Obama, the U.S., and Bush stand on human rights.

I'm with you that people like to pretend that Obama's statements are somehow different than Bush's statements, but Obama is clearly on the side of human rights. It just goes without saying. He has talks about the universality of rights all the time (thank god).

As President he has to deal with the regime, however, whomever that may be, for better or worse, and if we are to have any leverage with them we must respect them at some level, much like with Nixon and China, or like with Roosevelt (Churchill too) and Stalin.

Ralph L said...

Nixon and China, or like with Roosevelt (Churchill too) and Stalin.

Well, except we were helping Stalin defeat Hitler, and encouraging China against Russia, other than that, it's just the same situation we have with Iran. Stalin didn't hold up his end of the bargain, either.

fls, you're rewriting history. Reagan didn't have to attack Iran to get the hostages back--they were too scared of him, not that he'd want go to war with what Carter and Congress (and the Vietnam defeat) had done to the military. He got Saddam to attack them. And Walsh's indictment of Weinberger the week before the 1992 election was the most scurrilous act of the 90's, outdoing all the Clinton Scandals, IMO. He made Starr look like a saint.

bearbee said...

F15C said...

...the poster shows Gary Cooper as the lonely sheriff in the American Western, "High Noon." Under the headline "At High Noon" runs the red Solidarity banner and the
date -- June 4, 1989 -- of the poll
.

At High Noon Solidarity Poster

bearbee said...

And speaking of George H.W. Bush, how did he handle the equivalent of the students' seeking democracy in Iran, the Chinese students seeking democracy in Tiananmen Square?

Many times the US, at least overtly, did not, could not, intervene in popular riots, revolts, uprisings, protests. A few:

1956 Uprising Hungary
1967 Uprising Czechoslovakia
1991 Iraq
1999 Iran
Numerous in various African countries during the 20th century
2007 Burma protests
2008 Tibet

If government-backed violence escalates against protesting Iranians, will the US and other governments petition and demand UN sanctions?

Randy said...

bearbee: Just a minor note of clarification: there was no uprising in Czechoslovakia in 1967. There was a Warsaw Pact invasion on August 20-21, 1968.

Lyle said...

1jpb,

Bush didn't have to deal with Amadi until Amadi was elected. The fact that Iran is revolting has more to do with Bush than Obama. Obama is like the cherry on top, but Amadi's anti-Western stick was long seen through by the Iranian diaspora and many Iranians in Iran. Only now, with a Amadi having to be re-elected could a moment like this have come about. It's just happening on Obama's watch, much like the Berlin Wall happened on Bush I's watch.

bearbee said...

@Randy, thanks....fair to say protests to Soviet invasion/crackdown on liberalizing efforts?

Ralph L said...

The refreezing of the Prague Spring.

InternetFred said...

Obama should be doing more; Probably helping stimulate international support for the Iranian reformers.

The US and UN can definitely stop Iran's development of nuclear weapons, with sanctions. The puzzle is why Russia and China are oppposed to this.

If the reformers win, the nuclear weapons issue could become a non-problem. This would be a blessing for all humanity.

And yes, the US could stop the nuclear war that Khamenei seems to want by bombing some of the nuclear facilities.

True, you'd have to re-bomb every 4 years or so until Iran got the message. But it's doable with much less than 1% of the deaths of any nuclear exchange.

The alternative may be a nuclear first strike by either Israel or Iran. Not good. So root for the reformers; it may be a chance for peace.

InternetFred said...

@Cederford

Whatever the Iraq war was about, it wasn't for Israel. If you wanted to do something for Israel you'd do something else.

Israel's closer enemies were a lot more dangerous than Saddam was.

Do you believe Bush thought it was for Israel? If so, why do you think so?

bagoh20 said...

Meade,

No wonder Ann loves you.

reader_iam said...

PatCa: Your comment reminded me of all those who complained about Bush going on vacation, or spending time away from the WH, because of all the various crises going on. I think all the kind of stuff is pretty silly. I mean, these people are POTUS, & there's ALWAYS stuff going on in the world. Should we just chain whoever gets elected to the presidency to their desk for the length of their terms?

Sorry, I just think criticism of this type is petty and trivial.

reader_iam said...

If Obama had made the speech you wanted earlier this week, would you still be up in arms about the ice cream?

reader_iam said...

If it weren't Obama, would you still care about the ice cream?

1jpb said...

Jason,

In truth I completely agree w/ you. Thank you for noticing that I wasn't presenting a scientifically acceptable cause and effect analysis. I'm guessing that you also realize the BHO attackers' (e.g. Mr. Bomb Iran, Pence, et. al.) assertions that BHO can positively effect the situation in Iran by raising the heat of his jabber is also lacking scientific causality.

But, it is fun to look at history and see actions that were coincident w/ the Bush administrations actions related to Iran. You probably remember how Bush strongly took the side of the protesters in 2003, this was after plenty of tough axis of evil talk, and the freeing of Iraq which were supposed to weaken the Iranian government. How did that work out for the protesters? Who became president of Iran after Bush's jabber and Iraq attack? What has happened w/ the Iranian enrichment program and support for terrorism in Iraq and Israel since the Iraq attack and tough talk? Has the new Iraqi government shown more respect for Iranian leaders than the Bush administration at the exact time when the Iranians were arming terrorist who were killing Americans in Iraq?

Likewise it is interesting to look at the things in Iran that have accompanied BHO's rejection of the bluster of Mr. Bomb Iran, Pence, et. al.. At a minimum things have been less comfortable for the Iranian leadership since BHO took over.

It's not possible to calculate a statistical causality. But, there is a clear historical narrative that justifies mocking Lyle et. al. who claim that the eight years of Iranian activity during the Bush years were not creditable to Bush. But, supposedly the current circumstances in Iran are the result of Bush. According to Lyle the axis of evil speech is ripening and really taking full effect now.

Heh.

bearbee said...

Sorry, I just think criticism of this type is petty and trivial.

Current technology makes DC practically obsolete, but of course, face-to-face arm twisting will never go out of fashion.

Meade said...

Jeremy said...
"Bush would have already had us knee-deep in an invasion or worse."

Or worse?

But what could be worse than an invasion (and its subsequent overthrow of a genocidal regime intent on acquiring weapons of mass destruction, sworn mortal enemy of the US and allies, and supporter of suicide bombers)? Is it possible that no invasion of Iraq could have been worse? No invasion of France in 1944. No invasion of South Carolina in 1861. Where would we be if LBJ had not committed federal troops to Alabama on March 20, 1965?

How much longer would the arc of the moral universe be today? And when would it have begun bending toward justice?

1jpb said...

We have a Goodwin's Law winner, or is that loser?

Meade said...

We do?

Why? Did someone bring up Bushitler again?

Beth said...

Meade, I'm not following you. Are all invasions comparable? We invaded France in 1944, so that proves invading Iraq in 2003 was a good idea? And what does either tell us now? Are you arguing that Obama should be gearing up to invade Iran right now? You're being somewhat oblique.

Meade said...

Beth: Thanks for asking.

No, not equivalent but comparable in that all invasions share the element of using military force.

Allied military force in 1944 didn't prove anything beyond the defeat of the Axis. Obviously, it wasn't a good idea for members of the Axis. Some people such as Patrick Buchanan believe it wasn't a good idea for the United States either. I disagree.

I was just pushing Jeremy back. I'm sure Saddam would believe the use of military force against his regime wasn't a good idea. Jeremy seems to believe it wasn't a good idea for the United States either. I disagree.

I also disagree with Henry Kissinger on the sufficiency of Obama's rhetoric regarding current events in Iran. I'd like to hear him express stronger solidarity with the people of Iran who are in rebellion against the theocratic tyranny of the mullahs.

But no, I'm not arguing that Obama should be planning to invade Iran right now. He should, however, be taking necessary steps to never rule out the use of military force if military force is needed to prevent genocide or if military force is the key to securing human and civil rights.

Otherwise, Obama might someday find himself making further apologies for American (in)action similar to Clinton's apology for failing the people of Rwanda in 1994.

As JFK could easily have said: Pacifism in the appeasement of tyranny is no virtue. And military force in the defense of liberty and human freedom is no vice.

I hope I've been less oblique.

Lyle said...

1jpb,

Do you actually believe this revolution/reformation in Iran is all to do with Obama? Do you think Iranians are stupid? Were they not paying attention to the conversation Ahmadi was having with a Bush led U.S.? Did they not see Saddam Hussein fall at the hands of liberated Iraqis?

Lyle said...

1jpb,

Do you actually believe this revolution/reformation in Iran is all to do with Obama? Do you think Iranians are stupid? Were they not paying attention to the conversation Ahmadi was having with a Bush led U.S.? Did they not see Saddam Hussein fall at the hands of liberated Iraqis?

Beth said...

Thanks, Meade. Yes, sorta less oblique. I am not persuaded that our invasion of Iraq was meaningfully comparable to our liberation of Europe, so we diverge there and after that, I'm not sure what the point is.

I don't think Obama has done anything to indicate that our military is not an option in any event, anywhere, anytime, so I won't assume there aren't discussions underway. But I seriously doubt that invading Iran would be the right approach - how would that help the protestors? Do you think they want us to do that?

I'd like to hear more passion from Obama, and from other Western leaders, and I'd like to know that we have more options - for example, what about economic sanctions, or is it wise right now to hold our cards a little close to the vest? I don't know, and I suspect most of us don't know, despite bellicose and romantic avowals about Reagan and Bush and whomever.

Jim said...

Beth -

Not that I'm advocating an invasion or even the use of military force in Iran, but you asked a hypothetical that I think deserves an answer:

What good could an exercise of American military force do the Iranian protesters?

As we demonstrated on the first night of the invasion of Iraq, the combined logistical command of the US military is extraordinarily efficient at knocking out the command and control centers of an opposing country.

Right now, the balance of power favors the mullahs because they have the ability to move forces at will and can coordinate strategic attacks on the protesters. They have superior armaments, and the advantage of their military training.

Again assuming the hypothetical, in even a single evening the US is fully capable of wiping out the vast majority of the mullah's power base through the use of stealth aircraft, Predators and Tomahawk missiles. No invasion. Just some surgical bombing at known military or government sites. Not only would it destroy a good deal of the mullah's ability to attack protesters, it would also create utter chaos in the command structure of the mullah's in power.

An invasion is a "last resort" of military options. There are a whole lot of other options available which could be precisely targeted and have far greater strategic value than an overland invasion would risk.

Just something to think about.

As far as other options that don't include the military that are within the grasp of the US:

1) Encourage countries with embassies in Iran to take in the wounded protesters so they don't wind up getting arrested when they're taken to the hospital.
2) Publicly announce that the US will not negotiate with the current government of Iran even if it succeeds in putting down the protesters. There is widespread agreement that, given what has transpired in Iran - even if you completely put aside their past history of abrogating treaties and terror-sponsorship - no negotiations are possible with this regime that could produce any results that they could be trusted to live up to anyway. Engaging in sham negotiations for the sake of being able to say that you're negotiating are worse than not talking at all. So it would cost us nothing to say so upfront while sending a strong signal to protestors.
3) Requesting that a meeting of the UN Security Council be held to discuss real sanctions against the current regime if they don't immediately cease hostilities against their own people. This includes blocking gasoline shipments: Iran has plenty of oil, but no capacity to refine it into gasoline. The protesters are effectively pinned down without the ability to travel by the government anyway. The ones who would be most hurt by this would be the mullahs who would no longer be able to transport Hezbollah and Hamas thugs from place to place.

All 3 of these items could be initiated tomorrow if Obama were serious about supporting the protestors. It would cost this country nothing, and yet say everything to the protestors (and the regime).

I came up with these 3 off the top of my head as I was composing this post. Surely all the foreign policy "experts" that Obama has at his disposal could come up with similar ideas and a much longer list over the week that this has been going on. Don't you think?

Beth said...

Jim, those are three good things - but the second one may be impossible. We'll have to see what transpires. The first one has been in the "tweeting" going on from Iran, and it seems the militia simply surround the embassies and arrest or attack protestors trying to get to them, so that's not so good. I like the third option.

Meade said...

I like all of Jim's three options, especially the first with its added symbolic reversal of the crimes committed against the U.S. embassy in Teheran and its American diplomats 30 years ago.



Time for Obama to reach deep and tap into his inner Reagan.