What The President Should Have Said To The Iranian People
posted at 11:01 pm on June 15, 2009 by Doctor Zero
I am speaking tonight to the people of Iran. I am well aware of the hostile relationship you have maintained with my country for the last three decades, and under no illusions that you intend to dramatically revise that relationship at this moment. I will keep my remarks brief and direct, and ask nothing of you in return, save for a moment’s consideration. The nations of the West have been attempting to negotiate with the government of Iran for years, with nothing to show for our efforts. It’s high time we looked past the regime, and spoke to the people.
For many years, America has indulged in the fantasy that we could confer honor and respect upon the dictatorial regimes of the world, by addressing those regimes as equals. We have been compelled by diplomatic necessity, and economic reality, to pretend that rogue nations and police states have stature equivalent to free democracies on the world stage. We allowed the neatly tailored emissaries of brutal thugs to address us as peers. We created an international institution, the United Nations, which was intended to promote peace by giving every nation a chance to air its concerns in a global forum, but we didn’t take the time to review that institution through the cold and heartless eyes of the dictator. If we had, we might have realized that our global form would instead become a megaphone for tyranny, because by legitimizing those regimes, we dimmed the hopes of the people suffering beneath their boots. We received little cooperation in return for our efforts, and very little improvement in the human-rights records of dictatorships granted seats at the parliament of freedom. We should have known that such tyrants can speak the language of democracy, in order to manipulate the hopeful and gullible… but they do not understand a single word of that language.
The rulers of Iran are a perfect example of this principle. They appreciate the usefulness of painting a thin veneer of democracy over their iron rule, so they offer their people an electoral charade, in which two “candidates” selected by the theocracy conspire to create the illusion of a legitimate democratic election. Now we have witnessed the final insult delivered to the Iranian people by their squalid ruling class, invalidating even this mockery of an election, without even the delicacy to make the rigged results look plausible. The anger of the Iranian people has been met with clubs, blades, and bullets.
It has been suggested that America should remain silent while this crisis erupts into bloodshed. It has been proposed that our strained relationship with Iran will make it difficult for us to encourage the budding democratic revolution, so we should rely upon others to speak in our place. However, we cannot remain silent. The United States has a unique duty, to speak as the herald and defender of freedom around the world. It was an American president who stood before the captive people of East Berlin and demanded its walls be torn down. This was not a polite request given with a timid whisper – it was a thunderclap that shattered stone and melted barbed wire. It was an American president who carefully laid out the crimes Saddam Hussein had perpetrated against the people of Iraq, and plotted against other nations… then dug the old monster out of his spider hole and dragged him to justice. America’s place in this world is not to stand as the silent guardians of a Liberty Bell kept under glass. It is our duty to sound that bell, without reservation or apology.
America’s fondest wish is to see freedom ring across the width of the Middle East, for we know that free men govern their destinies far better than any cabal of elites. The great tragedies of the past century were not conceived by hard-working citizens, trying to do the best for their families and live with honor and dignity. Instead, they were engineered by power-hungry elites, who perfected the dark arts of tyranny and came to see their people as merely ammunition, to be expended in wars of conquest or ideology. The lawfully elected leaders of a free democracy would not be able to squander the wealth of their nation, and the goodwill of the world, in a mad and futile quest to obtain weapons of mass destruction, knowing that the hour of their use would be the final hour of their nation. All the truly awful ideas of recent history were designed by small groups of sinister men. The people of Iran have taken to the streets in protest of the latest truly awful idea, and Americans are united in praising their courage.
We cannot know where history will take Iran from here. It is my duty to report honestly that the path of freedom is not an easy one. There has been bloodshed, and if the will of the Iranian people does not break, there will be more. Even if the Iranian people prevail over their oppressors, the West is under no illusions that a free Iran would immediately become our friend. We only know in our hearts that freedom might bring the chance of such friendship… and no matter how long the odds, that is a chance we are always willing to take.
Without regret or qualification, the United States of America condemns the cowardly tactics of the vicious regime clinging desperately to power in Iran, salutes the Iranian people, and honors those who have died in the name of liberty in these dark and turbulent hours.
Recently in the Green Room: