They marched, like Martin Luther King, crying out for freedom and democracy against a Holocaust-denying demented dictator who wants to wipe Israel off the map. They were beaten and killed while President Obama, in a Jimmy Carter-type stupor, looked on.
It seems that President Obama is determined to remain aloof to the cries of the people of Iran in favor of doing nothing in order to preserve the possibility of negotiating with the very man who holds the Iranian people under his thumb, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Khamenei is the man who has ordered a bloody crackdown on those who voted for Mir Hussein Moussavi; a man who is so paranoid he has the challenger’s supporters arrested.
The young men and women of Iran, who stood up to Ahmadinejad and had their votes stolen, waited 11 days for President Obama to issue a supportive statement. It came after the death of an innocent bystander from a gunshot wound. Neda, the 26-year-old young woman killed during the protests, had not been part of the street demonstrations.
In his belated statement, Obama offered no support of any kind for the protesters. The French government, on the other hand, responded immediately to the brutal reaction by the Iranian regime. Israel Deputy Prime Minister Lt. Gen. Moshe Ya’alon told me that if President Obama would sanction refined oil and enlist global support, the youth of Iran would eventually overthrow the tyrannical regime.
To add insult to injury, an unidentified U.S. State Department employee confirmed that embassies abroad were encouraged to “invite representatives from the government of Iran” to attend Independence Day events. With his smoke-and-mirror show, Obama has made America an international laughingstock.
The question now: Does President Obama understand that events in Iran today really have nothing to do with the fraudulent election and everything to do with freedom? Men and women aren’t willing to die for a vote recount; they are willing to lay down their lives for the right to be heard. They are not protesting faux ballots; they are protesting the despotic limitations imposed on them by the tyrannical clerics who really run the country.
What will President Obama’s reaction be if the Revolutionary Guard and its rabid voluntary paramilitary force, the Basij, decide to mow the protesters down by the thousands in an attempt to halt the protests? Will he remain aloof? Will he take the side of those who are seeking a true democratic voice in the affairs of Iran? Will he imitate Jimmy Carter and support what he called “vigorous debate” over the “irregularities” of the election?
Mr. Obama took office vowing to extend a hand to our adversaries. Jimmy Carter held a similar worldview of the Soviet Union, promising to “cure our inordinate fear of communism.” Our enemies pushed back at what they perceived as weakness in Afghanistan, Iran, etc.
Carter was forced to hand over $7.9 billion to Khomeini in an attempt to secure the release of the American Embassy hostages. If President Obama cannot use diplomacy to support democracy, his extended hand to Iran’s ruling mullahs had better have a whole lot more money in it.
Will Obama announce that the U.S. will not support those seeking régime change in Tehran? There is a reason their signs are in English; they love the freedom for which America stands. Should the U.S. abandon the “green movement” in Iran we would have the blood of countless men and women on our hands. Do not our basic principles as a nation dictate that we stand with those who oppose a system that is the exact opposite of what we as Americans believe?
As president, Obama seems more intent on negotiating with the sworn enemies of the United States, i.e., Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his purveyors of terror, than with those who seek freedom in Iran. Has Obama learned all too well Carter’s mating dance with terrorists, while ascribing to them altruistic acts, legitimizing terrorism and those who carry out such heinous attacks?
President Obama now has a legitimate chance to support change for good. He has an opportunity to respond vigorously to those whom poet Emma Lazarus described on the Statue of Liberty as “… your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” Will he stand with the freedom-seekers, or has President Obama truly become another Jimmy Carter? He seems to be following in Mr. Carter’s footsteps; it was Carter who recognized the Islamic Republic of the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini with catastrophic results.
The mullahs who are in power seized that power by revolution in 1979. They know what a united Iranian people can do. This is what Khamenei fears and why he has avowed that a “street challenge is not acceptable.”
The mullahs have perfected the art of enmity over the past three decades. In spite of the hatred spewing from their mouths, the youth of Iran are as passionate about freedom as are the mullah’s clenched fists. I support the Iranian people who want to be free from oppression; yet at the same time, I fear for them.
The upheaval that will surely come if they are successful will change the complexion of the Middle East; how dramatically, no one really knows. The challenge is great.
Where is Obama’s support for those who fight for freedom? His silence is most telling. As the Iranian people risk their lives, he refuses to see the country that is “terror central” as an evil empire. President Obama has taken a neutral stance. Dante Alighieri said, “The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in time of great moral crises, retained their neutrality.”