Poll: What should the White House do about Iran?

posted at 12:14 pm on June 15, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

With the Iranians protesting by the hundreds of thousands after a rigged election, many of them wonder why the US has not taken a more public stand on their behalf.  Allahpundit has followed Iranian Twitter accounts to get first-hand accounts of the unrest, and has retweeted their frustration about Barack Obama staying on the sidelines.  Typical is this message:

One question to USA, why isn’t Obama commenting anything of this?

Jake Tapper reported on the White House response last night:

The White House has not issued a statement expressing support for the protestors declaring the election illegitimate. But neither has anyone in the Obama administration said a public word accepting the legitimacy of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s reelection.

“We’re reacting to concrete facts,” a White House official tells ABC News. “We’re collecting them still.” …

It’s worth keeping in mind that President Obama expressing concern for, say, Mir-Hossein Moussavi, wouldn’t necessarily be a way to help Moussavi. President Obama on Friday, and Secretary of State Clinton and White House press secretary Robert Gibbs since then, have all spoken about the enthusiasm among Iran’s young people, and in so doing seem to be taking a long-term view.

Tapper has a point … to a point.  Any heavy-handed demands from the US over the Iranian election would play into the mullah’s hands and paint Mousavi as an agent of the Great Satan.  Also, for better or worse, Obama believes he can have a productive dialogue with the extremist theocrats running the show in Tehran, and taking a wait-and-see response allows him to give some indication that the US remains open to engagement rather than just waiting for regime change.  Even those of us who favor regime change as an explicit diplomatic policy know that Mirhossein Mousavi wouldn’t overthrow the mullahs, or else he would never have been allowed to be on the ballot in the first place.

However, we have an opportunity to get the Iranians to use this thick-skulled blunder by the mullahs to press for real regime change.  It wouldn’t take an expression of support for Mousavi from Obama to help increase the momentum in the streets of Tehran and elsewhere for the removal of the theocracy.  An expression of support for self-determination in a free and fair election system in Iran would be plenty.  Obama could use his bully pulpit to point out that the mullahs handpicked all of the candidates, which has obviously left the Iranians feeling manipulated and unrepresented by their government.  Obama could call on the Guardian Council and Ali Khamenei to stage actual elections, without the GC’s interference, and an election with international observers to certify that the Iranian people are allowed to choose their own government.

Only regime change can bring an end to the threat of Iranian nukes.  Only a regime change can end the regional threat the Iranian mullahcracy maintains, as well as an end to the proxy war against the Israelis by Iranian-funded Hamas and Hezbollah.  Barack Obama needs to start pushing in that direction.

What do you think Obama should do?

Update: Bill Kristol warns conservatives to go slow:

The task now is to explain what the Obama administration (and Congress) should be saying and doing, and to urge them to do what they should be doing. Presuming ahead of time that Obama will fail to exercise leadership, and cataloguing this episode pre-emptively as another in a list of Obama failures, would be a mistake. The U.S. has a huge stake in the possible transformation, or at least reformation, of the Iranian regime. If there’s some chance of that happening, and some chance of U.S. policy contributing to that outcome, we should hope Obama does the right thing, and urge and pressure him to do so–because then the United States will be doing the right thing, and the United States, and the world, will benefit.

Agreed, but thus far, the response has been too muted and accommodating.

Update II: David Steven respectfully disagrees. He Twittered me that he would prefer to have the EU play bad cop and the US good cop, which might work if the EU had any inclination to get tougher on Iran. They’ve been demanding US leadership in that role, and so far Obama has not provided it. Read all of David’s thoughtful post.



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Comment pages: 1 2 3

How come there’s no choice for “No confidence whatsoever in this circus “administration” to get anything right”

NoDonkey on June 15, 2009 at 2:08 PM

But Iran is off-limits.

AnninCA on June 15, 2009 at 2:03 PM

And when Israel is glowing those your ilk will be out there screaming that the Jews got just what they deserved. Anything to protect the reputation of the filthy liar in the White House and his henchmen that are stealing my childrens’ birthright in order to pay off organized labor and other socialist causes.

highhopes on June 15, 2009 at 2:08 PM

AnninCA on June 15, 2009 at 1:55 PM

AnninCA, I honestly want to believe you are who you told me, a traditional liberal with some moderate views. However, I really don’t understand how your indifference about Iran fits into your stated world view.

I appreciate your response to my first statement. Yes. Hillary lost, but she is now our Secretary of State.

As to the WaPo article you linked, I have read it. But I have also seen dozens of YouTube clips of brutality being undertaken in Tehran, including at least one murder.

As a conservative who is very much an individualist, I respect differences of opinion and like to discuss ideas with people who have different opinions. I also respect liberals who are faithful to a set of principles that do not get twisted for their personal financial or political advantage. So, since when do American leaders, liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, NOT do what Senator Lieberman suggested in the face of such brutality in Iran?

ps:

Didn’t mean to butt in, but this seems so obvious.

hillbillyjim on June 15, 2009 at 1:56 PM

This is a posting forum. Please post your points. I think you make good points.

Loxodonta on June 15, 2009 at 2:08 PM

Lox…..she’s no different from Condi. The only way you can evaluate her on a job level is the same as with Condi Rice.

Both are excellent. They represent their president well.

Neither establish policy.

The days where the SOS veers off from the president?

Over and gone, since WWII.

AnninCA on June 15, 2009 at 2:10 PM

Send the greatest son of a goat hearder muslum ever born to Iran so he can preach his gay rights, womens rights and the virtues of a honest election. They are just coming to grip with the fact that he is the Messiah. Don’t think MSNBC or CNN or CBS can be of much lelp for him over there nor do I think he will send a chill up the legs of the Iranian media. They can recognize a forked tongue when they see one with all the asps and cobras. But not to worry O, you have millions of simpletons here that love you and praise you.

bluegrass on June 15, 2009 at 2:11 PM

I’m not an isolationist, Upstater.

But Iran is off-limits.

AnninCA on June 15, 2009 at 2:03 PM

Huh?

LSUMama on June 15, 2009 at 2:12 PM

ROFLOL at ED.

He wants a person that is steeped in fixing elections from the land of chicago. A man that has done an end around the consitutitionally mandated senate confirmation of his cabinets by posting Czars to key positions to be upset at Iran.

hell if anything the Obama admin is taking notes on Iran to see how not to fix elections. Obama and his liberal friends could care less about the will of the people

unseen on June 15, 2009 at 2:12 PM

And when Israel is glowing those your ilk will be out there screaming that the Jews got just what they deserved. Anything to protect the reputation of the filthy liar in the White House and his henchmen that are stealing my childrens’ birthright in order to pay off organized labor and other socialist causes.

\

I think Israel is in real danger, and nobody is recognizing this.

I honestly think they will be hit by a nuclear bomb within 3 – 5 years.

BTW, I am close to a lot of the LA Jewish community in LA, and they voted for O.

I thought then……stupid.

Still do.

Maybe it’s because a close friend has kids in Israel, and she was from there.

But I have a much more hard-line position than my other “liberal” Jewish friends have.

I think they will end up being decimated.

I’m not kidding here. They are seriously in danger.

AnninCA on June 15, 2009 at 2:14 PM

This is a posting forum. Please post your points. I think you make good points.

Loxodonta on June 15, 2009 at 2:08 PM

Thank you for the kind words.

(Anyone who has been here a while will tell you that I’m really not all that bashful.)

:-P

hillbillyjim on June 15, 2009 at 2:14 PM

If we weren’t bogged down militarily in Iraq and Afghanistan we would have more options on the table, but we can only depose so many totalitarian regimes at a time.

Actually… without the war in Iraq and Afghanistan (and all the troops and equipment therein), we’d have fewer military options.

mankai on June 15, 2009 at 12:23 PM

Very true. Did anyone really think it was a coincidence that we just happen to be in two nations in the Middle East, that just happen to be on either side of Iran?

Maybe it’s a good thing so many people thought W was dumb…

tom on June 15, 2009 at 2:14 PM

Huh?

We have no business commenting on their election process.

AnninCA on June 15, 2009 at 2:15 PM

I’d disagree that she ran a hard campaign against the filthy liar who won the White House until it was too late. By the time she perceived the threat from that candidate, it was too late for hard tactics without the filthy liar’s people screaming that the Clintons were racists.

highhopes on June 15, 2009 at 2:06 PM

Remember too that neither Obama nor Clinton won the primaries.

Obama won the support of the Super Delegates or Mullahs, as I prefer to call them.

myrenovations on June 15, 2009 at 2:16 PM

Speaking of Europe playing bad cop, it would appear that Germany has lined up a far better response than us supposed purveyors of Democracy have!

Levinite on June 15, 2009 at 2:17 PM

(Anyone who has been here a while will tell you that I’m really not all that bashful.)

hillbillyjim on June 15, 2009 at 2:14 PM

I’m often clueless, but I’m not blind enough to miss that! Lordy!

Loxodonta on June 15, 2009 at 2:19 PM

Obama won the support of the Super Delegates or Mullahs, as I prefer to call them.

Omigosh……can I still that one?

LOL*

Perfect.

AnninCA on June 15, 2009 at 2:20 PM

Remember too that neither Obama nor Clinton won the primaries.

Obama won the support of the Super Delegates or Mullahs, as I prefer to call them.

myrenovations on June 15, 2009 at 2:16 PM

Also remember that the idiot messiah didn’t really win any of the actual primaries in the primary. He won the caucuses, where his moron supporters and Chicago tactics could work their magic. He had to be carried over the finish line as Shrillary won all of the final primaries, even as she was toast, anyway.

progressoverpeace on June 15, 2009 at 2:23 PM

I can’t decide what the best course of action is, but I do know Obama is totally in the wrong.

And once he takes an official position, that will also be wrong.

e-pirate on June 15, 2009 at 12:38 PM

You think you’re being sarcastic, but you’d be right if you said it seriously.

Except we don’t actually know he’ll do the wrong thing, yet. But that’s definitely the way to bet.

tom on June 15, 2009 at 2:25 PM

Texas and Washington caucus results, which differed from the popular vote, did it for me.

I instinctively knew that the DNC would ignore the obvious.

And so they have.

They will never get another penny from me. My Dem senator, Dianne Feinstein, is pretty moderate. She may still get my vote.

But not Boxer.

Until they address the Democratic primary system, I’m outta there.

AnninCA on June 15, 2009 at 2:26 PM

AnninCA on June 15, 2009 at 2:20 PM

I’m leaving this thread now, but will check back later to see if you have posted your opposition to the points made by Senator Lieberman regarding Iran.

Loxodonta on June 15, 2009 at 2:26 PM

Maybe, as a quid pro quo for the IEDs that the Quds Force and other Iranian proxies saw fit to deploy against our men and women, our “leadership” could see to it that a truckload or three of grenades, anti-personnel mines, etc. find their way to the “underserved” citizens of Iran?

Beats the hell out of sitting down for a nice chat with the demented leadership of that hellhole.

hillbillyjim on June 15, 2009 at 2:28 PM

We have no business commenting on their election process.

AnninCA on June 15, 2009 at 2:15 PM

Not so sure about that. We can learn from any nations history. Also the outcome could affect our troops in the region. Which does make it our business.

LSUMama on June 15, 2009 at 2:32 PM

because that has worked SOOOO well in the past.

Tighten up, Kilroy.

hillbillyjim on June 15, 2009 at 1:32 PM

…And intervening when there was no direct threat to the security of the United States has worked SOOOO well also…(and no I am not referring to Iraq).

TightAggressive on June 15, 2009 at 2:39 PM

Not me, but I live here.

I say we have 4 seasons: Fire, Mudslides, Earthquakes, and Riots. :)

Charming, eh?

AnninCA on June 15, 2009 at 1:59 PM

Ann, leave while you still can!

HornetSting on June 15, 2009 at 2:42 PM

We have no business commenting on their election process.

AnninCA on June 15, 2009 at 2:15 PM

Or ours, apparently, when the Obama-Mugabe regime registers tens of thousands of fraudulent voters or allows thugs to intimidate voters at polls.

Oh wait, we still have freedom of speech here and not just for Obama supporters. The Iranian election was a complete fraud and if we had an actual President instead of a gelded dimwit in the Oval Office, the world would know that the American people support the Iranian people, rather than the dictators in Iran.

NoDonkey on June 15, 2009 at 2:44 PM

We have no business commenting on their election process.

AnninCA on June 15, 2009 at 2:15 PM

Didn’t A-Jad support obama? Or was that just the Castro Brothers? Yeah, the Jewish community should have been aware of what obama was going to do, but with the MSM doing their job, obama was supposed to cure all the world’s ills. And now, the world is on the brink and we have Urkel as president. Urkel, with a big chip complex.

HornetSting on June 15, 2009 at 2:47 PM

What i find confusing is that since 9/11 the USa has worked for this moment in Iran and obama and his “friends” are pissing it away. we have had special forces in Iran working for this moment, we have fought 2 wars aligned our strength on their borders for this moment, we have spent blood and treasure to get to this result and Obama is pissing it away. Idiots all of them. if the revolution succedds the new gov will not be friendly to the USA like it would have if we help them. Obama pissing away the wealth of the USa created by Bush, pissing away the geoppolitical gains made by Bush, pissing away eastern euorpean and Western euorpean allies made by the last 70 years of USA diplomacy. Obama pissing awayour childrens freedom.

Obama pissing away our future.

unseen on June 15, 2009 at 3:04 PM

We have no business involved in this. We can safely mumble supportive words.

We are NOT responsible for Iranian election processes.

That’s the same old mindset.

We are NOT in charge of the world.

AnninCA on June 15, 2009 at 3:05 PM

Obama pissing away our future.

\

How? I’m not following you.

AnninCA on June 15, 2009 at 3:06 PM

How? I’m not following you.

AnninCA on June 15, 2009 at 3:06 PM

considering that Iran has been our DELCARED enemy since 1979. That this regime declared war on the USA in 1979 as never sought peace has funded every terrorist cell, has activitly undermined peace in lebenon in palaistine. Has formented unrest in Iraq and fought a war with Iraq for 8 long years killing millions in the process. Iran has been the thorn in the side of world peace more than any other country in the last 30 years. And now we have a chance to help overthrow this regime and Obama does nothing? votes present. and you don’t understand the ramifications of him pissing this oppurtunity away for middle east peace and world peace?

and moving from geopolitics to domestic policy. Obama is in the process of destroying the greatest health care industry in the world for what? political power. that is pissing something away for little in real vaule. then he is also in the process of destroying decades of wealth building over some belief that everyone didn’t benefit enough form the explosin in wealth over the last 30 years.

Obama is acting like a spoiled little child when faced with facts refuses to see reason and instead prceeds to burn down the house until he gets his way no matter the consequences. and you stilldon’t follow?

unseen on June 15, 2009 at 3:15 PM

We have no business involved in this. We can safely mumble supportive words.

We are NOT responsible for Iranian election processes.

That’s the same old mindset.

We are NOT in charge of the world.

AnninCA on June 15, 2009 at 3:05 PM

do YOU not understand HISTORY?????

We tried it your way for decades and we got 2 world wars and the death of 100′s of millions of people. It was not until the USA decided after WW2 to become the policeman of the world that the world wars stopped.

If not us who? Yeah thats’ right. Nobody. and that leads to tinpot egomanics becoming powerful enought to drag the world into a blaze of gloryful world wide war. Only 4 months of doing it your way under Obama and already we see signs of the 30′s returning. Kim in Korea openly threatening nuclear war. Japan starting to rearm, the arab world starting to arm to counter Iran. Isreal thinking of taking steps on its won for its own survival leaving the USA behind.

Even europe is starting to awake with the vote last week of conservatives and nationalists EU members.

unseen on June 15, 2009 at 3:21 PM

unseen on June 15, 2009 at 3:21 PM

Look at what AnninCA is doing to other Hot Air threads. For example.

Loxodonta on June 15, 2009 at 3:25 PM

“We’re reacting to concrete facts,” a White House official tells ABC News. “We’re collecting them still.” …

As opposed to non-concrete facts?

BuckeyeSam on June 15, 2009 at 1:04 PM

Yes. Didn’t you get the memo? Some of those non-concrete facts, the POTUS and his Administration simply accept without any question whatsoever.

For example, consider the statement by Obama in his Cairo speech that there are “nearly 7 million Muslim Americans” all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding.

The recent Pew Charitable Trust study on that very question concluded as follows:

The Pew study projects approximately 1.5 million adult Muslim Americans, 18 years of age and older. The total Muslim American population is estimated at 2.35 million, based on data from this survey and available Census Bureau data on immigrants’ nativity and nationality. (my emphasis.

And while the Pew Study emphasized that it was only an estimate, his number was nearly 3 times the size of the best available evidence.

So, reacting to “non-concrete” facts – otherwise known as lies – is perfectly okay with Obama.

Trochilus on June 15, 2009 at 3:32 PM

He needs to get some operatives into the field and perform some wetworks. Take out Khomeni and Achmadinajadapoopipie. Forget wars and nation-building. just kill any jerkwad that causes us headaches at this point. Bullets for bastards.

chicagojedi on June 15, 2009 at 3:41 PM

It would be a perfect time to move on Iran and liberate it’s people. However, Obamugabe would hate to lose an ally.

TheSitRep on June 15, 2009 at 3:41 PM

Look at what AnninCA is doing to other Hot Air threads. For example.

Loxodonta on June 15, 2009 at 3:25 PM

thanks was think she was a Ron Paul support and their believe that if we just withdraw from the world the wrold will be a better place crap. the world and humans have shown in every decade of every centery their inate ability to visit war and murder on their fellow humans. the only think that has stopped this from happening in the last 60 years on a grand scale as been the USa ii would rather fight 17 Iraqa then one world war. a battle on the DMZ in korea would killed 10,000′s in a day not over 4 years.

unseen on June 15, 2009 at 3:50 PM

He needs to get some operatives into the field and perform some wetworks. Take out Khomeni and Achmadinajadapoopipie. Forget wars and nation-building. just kill any jerkwad that causes us headaches at this point. Bullets for bastards.

chicagojedi on June 15, 2009 at 3:41 PM

Yes, but did you forget you are talking about ,the One who now insists terriorists caught get miranda rights read to them?

LSUMama on June 15, 2009 at 3:56 PM

The people that did this to their own are the people Obama trusts with a nuke.

http://twitpic.com/7hlsf

Obama is a menace to our security.

elduende on June 15, 2009 at 4:48 PM

EZ answer:
These pix are a good start- they should be rebroadcast into Iran. We should begin dumping small/med arms to their civilians from Iraq. Civilians should be encouraged to attack police while there is near anarchy, gain weapons and police support. Black ops to encourage and help organize- turn their cells on the rep guard and security forces. Try to subvert the military. Train teams to rob the banks and govt.- buy the military and access to more weaponry. Turn opinion against racist/sexist mullahs. Watch it spreading on CNN and hit the nukes.

Reality Check on June 15, 2009 at 5:38 PM

Obama could use his bully pulpit to point out that the mullahs handpicked all of the candidates, which has obviously left the Iranians feeling manipulated and unrepresented by their government. Obama could call on the Guardian Council and Ali Khamenei to stage actual elections, without the GC’s interference, and an election with international observers to certify that the Iranian people are allowed to choose their own government.

While your criticisms of the Iranian election system are true, I dont think it would be wise for Obama to shove it in their faces.

Basically, you want Obama to say “Hey all you reform-minded Iranians! You just felt national pride in voting the other day and now you’re feeling betrayed because your vote didnt count. Well, guess what – none of that mattered anyway, since the election was never fair to begin with. All of that stuff that you care so deeply about? It’s really unimportant. What you need to do is have a new election the way that I think you should have an election. The massive grassroots protests you’re having now are pretty silly since all your candidates suck.”

Yeah, that would go over well.

orange on June 15, 2009 at 6:42 PM

In answer to the question in the article title; Take notes for use here in the United States against dissenters and protesters.

Cybergeezer on June 15, 2009 at 7:01 PM

“They’ve been demanding US leadership in that role, and so far Obama has not provided it.”

That has always been Obama’s mode of operation. In his first elective job, Illinois Senator, he voted present over 150 times. He is never wrong because he never takes positions on issues which might be controversial. It is central to his success.

burt on June 15, 2009 at 7:04 PM

AnninCA and others defending Obama’s silence:

We don’t want him to take sides, we want him to deplore the violence and encourage a fair and timely investigation of any voting irregularities. The mullahs could give a flip, but it would still be supportive of the students. And Ann, were you also critical of Obama’s comments about the “robust” election process earlier?

JackOkie on June 15, 2009 at 7:49 PM

“Take another quarter million dollar date-vacation” should be one of the choices.

We all know the DINC (Dolt in Chief) aka Dink is thinking about it.

viking01 on June 15, 2009 at 9:58 PM

We have no business commenting on their election process.

AnninCA on June 15, 2009 at 2:15 PM

I think Israel is in real danger, and nobody is recognizing this.

I honestly think they will be hit by a nuclear bomb within 3 – 5 years.

AnninCA on June 15, 2009 at 2:14 PM

How do you square this?

Won’t Iran be the one hitting Israel?

If you care about Israel, then you have to support “meddling” in Iranian affairs.

mockmook on June 15, 2009 at 10:58 PM

Where is the ‘Check With Cheney’ option?!?!

NO ONE expects the POTUS-in-training to have the right answer. :oP

DannoJyd on June 16, 2009 at 12:16 AM

“He Twittered me that he would prefer to have the EU play bad cop”

Wow. THAT would work. They’re pretty scary.

LtE126 on June 16, 2009 at 8:25 AM

Plus, O’chimpy would never speak ill of fellow muslims.

LtE126 on June 16, 2009 at 8:26 AM

We need a member of the administration to start singing Bomb-bomb-bomb bombbomb Iran. And then to deny it was anything but a joke. Better yet, start a rumor about someone singing it. Don’t respond to questions for three days, then deny it without actually denying it.

njcommuter on June 16, 2009 at 5:55 PM

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