Recounting Iranian votes, discounting Iranian desperation
It was all too predictable what the recount of Iranian presidential votes was going to show. Hey presto, Allah kazah, Allah kazam: A Guardian Council recount of 10 percent of the vote confirms the June 12 election results.
So what? The reason to support the Iranian protestors wasn’t because they were saying “Where’s My Vote?” It was because they were also and much more importantly saying “Death to the Ayatollah!” It was because they were saying “We Want Freedom!” It was because they were saying "Death to the Government" to a government who urgently needs a bullet.
Principled government is not built on majority rule, but on individual rights. Hanging your hat on the verisimilitude of a vote is not the way to bring freedom to Iran, or to anywhere. Freedom is not a popularity contest, it’s a human birthright.
That was true last week and it’s just as true today, even if the protestors have now been shot off the streets of Tehran (and are now being pursued by the more sophisticated brutality of the secret police), just as their protests have now been swept away in a recount as bogus as the original count.
And where was Obambi Obama? As Debi Ghate says at the Voices of Reason blog:
As the protests in Iran begin to dwindle, and the usual accusations of “American interference” are launched by Tehran, I can’t help but wonder what today’s news would have been had America responded differently to the situation. I can’t help but wonder what a different message from President Obama would have led to.
The following is a fictitious speech. It is the speech that only a President acting on a foreign policy that properly defends the rights of its own citizens – a foreign policy of self-interest – could make.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, I am here to address events of great significance to the American people. Over the past few days, we have borne witness to the murdering, beating, silencing and intimidation of the Iranian people by a theocratic regime clenching its iron fist to retain power. I strongly condemn these unjust actions of the Iranian regime.
It is time for us to be unequivocal. It is time for America to recognize its past errors. It is time for the United States to make it clear that it does not recognize the sovereignty of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Its current Supreme theocratic leader and his sub commanders are not a legitimate regime. The fact is that Iran has not had a legitimate government worthy of our recognition for decades. The country has been ruled by a series of murdering clerics who seized power, outside of any legitimate political means. They were not chosen through any representative process. They are dictators of the worst kind.
Yet the Iranian regime deserves our immediate, uncompromising attention. This theocracy has repeatedly, for decades, declared itself an enemy of America and has openly acted in violence against our citizens. It is a standard-bearer of Islamic totalitarianism, the movement that Osama bin Laden and others, avow to kill us, and themselves, for. We’ve known it of Iran since they took our embassy staff hostage in 1979. The regime in Tehran is the spiritual inspiration for the ideology behind the horrific attacks on our soil on September 11th. Americans have not forgotten those attacks and who is ultimately responsible for them. We have nothing to say to the Iranian regime except to say that we will no longer repeat our grave errors of the past. We know what you stand for. And we will never again forget what we stand for.
But we do have much to say to the brave men and women in Iran who have taken to the streets to voice their opposition to the self-appointed Supreme leader. We have much to say, and offer, to the people of Iran, who are now declaring to anyone who will listen that this regime does not represent them.
To those among you who have stood up in the face of threats and intimidation; to those among you who have said “We will continue to speak even if you, Supreme leader, claim that Allah forbids it”; to those among you who are saying that it is time for freedom in Iran—we say you have our support. You have our encouragement, and our sanction. We will help you – and we will offer you our moral and financial support. And yes, if it comes to it, we will offer you military support to the best of our ability. You see, we share your goal of ending the theocracy in Iran and of eliminating the threat it poses to freedom-cherishing nations, including our own. We have had the moral right to end it for decades; you not only have the right, you have the moral fortitude to finally end it. We will help you do what we were unwilling to do ourselves, for both of our sakes.
To those in Iran who genuinely, and desperately, seek liberty: you have the opportunity to fight for the creation of a freer nation, a nation founded on principles that protect the rights of each individual. As America once fought for its independence, so can you. Life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness: these are your inalienable rights and the time is now to fight for the creation of a nation that upholds these principles.
It will not be easy and our thoughts are with you as you face imminent danger and uncertainty. We know it will take courage and conviction. But to you, the true friend of freedom, we say that you have taken an important first step. You have rejected the iron fist that smashes you down through religious rule. You have spoken; stand firm, and we will stand with you.”
Sadly, those words were never spoken. While Iranians were chanting “We Want Freedom!” the putative leader of the free world was looking the other way; while they were shouting “Death to the Ayatollah!” apostle of “change” was still trying to talk to the apostle of Islamic totalitarianism; while they were saying, at risk of their own lives, "Death to the Government" he was seeking a way to appease that government – a government responsible for brutalising its citizens -- and the rest of the Middle East.
And now the opportunity of a “Tehran Spring” has gone, possibly for ever. Pissed away in the meek capitulation of appeasement. A small, flickering light of liberty appeared in the east, was ignored, was snuffed out, and is now gone. Perhaps for good.
But in years to come when Iran’s ruling mullahs are rattling their nuclear sabre in the name of the darkness they represent, remember this moment when a small flame of freedom could have lit up that darkness, but you were too busy to notice and you turned away instead.