Jewish World Review June 20, 2003 / 20 Sivan, 5763

Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
MUGGER
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

An uprising to cheer

http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Pro-democracy demonstrations are convulsing Iran, and the country's theocratic dictators say it's all the Great Satan's fault.

On Sunday, the foreign ministry blasted the United States for "flagrant interference in Iran's internal affairs." Two days later, 217 members of the country's Potemkin parliament signed a statement denouncing "America's strategy regarding Iran" -- a nefarious plan "to take away its independence and turn it into America's slave."

Alas, it is far from clear that the United States has a strategy regarding Iran.

Soon after the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush declared Iran a charter member of the Axis of Evil, and he has repeatedly sided with the brave young Iranians who are defying the Tehran regime. "I think freedom is a powerful incentive," he said most recently, calling the protests "the beginnings of people expressing themselves toward a free Iran."

Unfortunately, his position has been undercut by the State Department, which has spent much of the past 21 months trying to "engage" the mullahs' cooperation in the war against terrorism -- despite State's own designation of Iran as the world's foremost sponsor of international terror. At one point, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage went so far as to label Iran a "democracy" -- a bizarre description for a country where demands for reform or criticism of the fanatical Islamic government can be punished with flogging, imprisonment, or death. This week, Secretary of State Colin Powell finally offered a few tepid words in support of the protesters. Peaceful demonstrations for change, he said, are "proper."

But if the administration's voice has been muddled, others have spoken with admirable clarity. One unwavering advocate of regime change in Iran is Michael Ledeen, an expert on terrorism and the Middle East at the American Enterprise Institute and the author of ""The War Against the Terror Masters," (2002). Over and over, Ledeen has argued that the best way to bring down the "mullahcracy" in Tehran is to encourage and strengthen the Iranian people in their demands for liberation.

Iranians have good reason to loathe the despots who rule their ancient land, Ledeen writes.

"Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and his top henchman, Ayatollah Mohammed Hashemi Rafsanjani have not only stolen billions of dollars from the Iranian people, they have wrecked the economy . . . and reduced a once-proud civil culture to humiliation. There are virtual epidemics of teenage prostitution and drug abuse, an ongoing exodus of able-bodied and talented Iranians, an endless repression of freedom . . . , and a mounting tempo of violence, arrest, and execution, including the revival of . . . sharia punishments such as dismemberment, public decapitation, and stoning."

No less despicable is the mullahs' role in the international terror network. "Iran is not only a participant on the other side," Ledeen notes, "it is the heart of the jihadist structure. If we are really serious about winning the war against terrorism, we must defeat Iran."

Are we serious? The longer we wait to act, the more progress Tehran will make on its crash program to develop a nuclear bomb, the more successful it will be in sabotaging US efforts to rebuild Iraq as a democratic republic, and the more innocent blood its proteges in Hezbollah, Hamas, and Al Qaeda will shed. Americans of every political stripe should be able to agree that a free and tolerant Iran is preferable to an Iran ruled by ruthless bigots. We ought to be doing all we can to make that transformation possible.

What the Iranian people need from us is not a military invasion, but sustained backing for their own self-liberation. That should include:

  • An explicit declaration that it is the policy of the United States to support a transition to democracy, pluralism, and religious freedom in Iran;

  • Financial support for the privately-owned Persian-language TV and radio stations in southern California that for millions of Iranians have become a key source of information and inspiration;

  • Reform of Radio Farda, the US government's Persian radio service, so that it seeks out the views of pro-democracy Iranian exiles and actively promotes human rights and self-rule in Iran; and

  • The seizing of every opportunity to stress that the United States supports the right of Iranians to live in freedom under a democratic and lawful government of their own choosing.

All these provisions would be mandated by the Iran Democracy Act, S. 1082, introduced by Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas last month. The bill -- which is to say, the cause of Iranian liberty -- deserves enthusiastic and bipartisan support. Americans who opposed the war in Iraq no less than those who favored it should be cheering this embryonic democratic revolution. Nearly a year ago, President Bush promised that "as Iran's people move towards a future defined by greater freedom, greater tolerance, they will have no better friend than the United States of America." Let it be so.

Like this writer's work? Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

06/11/03: Musings, random and otherwise
06/09/03: A growing rift with Europe
05/27/03: Preferences, racial and otherwise
05/23/03: The bottom line for teachers unions
05/12/03: Castro's cheerleaders
05/08/03: In 'enlightened' New England, it hurts to give
05/06/03: Help the living before the dead
04/25/03: The search for the 'smoking gun'
04/21/03: Trading truth for access?
04/14/03: Kerry's abortion litmus test
04/11/03: Meanwhile, in Cuba, the tyranny goes on
04/07/03: Explaining the war to a six-year-old
03/31/03: Empowering a terroristocracy in the name of 'peace'?
03/27/03: America the liberator
03/10/03: THE UNITED NATIONS, RIP
03/10/03: Changing the definition of marriage
03/07/03: Liberate Iraq -- even with unclean hands
03/03/03: Why talk radio tilts right
02/21/03: A boost for Saddam
02/10/03: On outing Kerry
02/06/03: The neverending voyage
02/03/03: This hasn't been a 'rush to war'
01/31/03: Killing the terror regimes
01/29/03: How not to win the war
01/24/03: The UN's moral irrelevance
01/22/03: Musings, random and otherwise
01/17/03: The Sharpton hypocrisy
01/13/03: The fig leaf of 'diversity'
01/10/03: Israeli restraint makes terrorism more likely
01/02/03: The double standard on political hate speech
12/30/02: Good for the spirit, good for the body
12/23/02: The college president who owes a greater duty to a fugitive serial killer than the public or to the law
12/20/02: The death penalty by the numbers
12/16/02: Yes, Virginia, there is (still) a liberal media bias
12/03/02: On the brink of regime change --- in Iran
11/27/02: Light's victory over darkness
11/25/02: A 'Republican' lesson from a Democratic convention
11/22/02: The slippery senator
11/18/02: The campus 'diversity' fraud
11/14/02: MURDER AT A KIBBUTZ
11/01/02: Saddam's shop of horrors
10/24/02: Musings, random and otherwise
10/17/02: Jimma's ignoble prize
10/14/02: New Jersey's bigot laureate
10/11/02: Today it is libs who are most likely to demand the silencing of speech they disapprove of
10/04/02: Learning English from Day 1
09/30/02: The world will follow us to war
09/27/02: The face of antisemitism
09/20/02: Starving time in Zimbabwe
09/14/02: Against moral confusion / 9-12-2002
09/03/02: With 'eternal friends' like these
08/30/02: Enriching survivors was a costly mistake
08/26/02: John Kerry's absent passion
08/23/02: Bonnie, get your gun
08/19/02: A screenwriter's remorse
07/29/02: The real abortion extremists
07/26/02: Another round of Kemp-Roth
07/19/02: Jews among Arabs, Arabs among Jews
07/15/02: Musings, random and otherwise
07/12/02: The new civil rights champions
07/03/02: Riding the rails
07/01/02: The prerequisite to peace
06/24/02: Frisking AlGore
06/17/02: Offense, not defense, is the key to homeland security
06/14/02: Looking at the horror
06/07/02: The cost of a death-penalty moratorium
06/03/02: Executing 'children,' and other death-penalty myths
05/29/02: A real threat?
05/24/02: The message in Arafat's headdress
05/20/02: (Mis)playing the popularity card
05/10/02: Outspoken, Muslim -- and moderate
05/10/02: The heroes in Castro's jails
05/06/02: The disappearing history term paper
05/03/02: Musings, random and otherwise
04/29/02: The canary in Europe's mine
04/15/02: Powell's crazy mission
04/12/02: The slavery reparations hustle
04/08/02: Peace at any price = war
03/26/02: Decency matters most, Caleb
03/22/02: The U.S. embargo and Cuba's future
03/19/02: The keepers of Cuba's conscience
03/15/02: A walk in Havana
02/26/02: Buchanan's lament
02/12/02: What 'peace' means to Arafat
02/08/02: STEVEN EMERSON AND THE NPR BLACKLIST
02/05/02: Antismoking: Who pays?
02/01/02: Turn the Saudis
01/25/02: Making MLK cry
01/21/02: Ted to tax cut: Drop dead
01/18/02: Musings random and otherwise
01/14/02: An ultimatum to Saudi Arabia
01/11/02: Friendship, Saudi-style
01/07/02: Shakedown at Harvard
01/04/02: More guns, more safety
01/02/02: Smears and slanders from the Left
12/28/01: Congress gives to others -- and itself
12/24/01: The littlest peacemakers
12/20/01: How to condemn terror
12/18/01: Greenland once was
12/14/01: Parents who never said ''no''
12/11/01: Wit and (economic) wisdom
12/07/01: THE PALESTINIANS' MYTH
12/04/01: The war against Israel goes on
11/30/01: Tribunals, motorcycles -- and freedom
11/19/01: Friendship and the House of Saud
11/12/01: The Justice Department's unjust monopoly
11/09/01: Muslim, but not extremist
11/02/01: Too good for Oprah
10/29/01: Journalism and the 'neutrality fetish'
10/26/01: Derail these subsidies
10/22/01: Good and evil in the New York Times
10/15/01: Rush Limbaugh's ear
10/08/01: With allies like these
10/01/01: An unpardonable act
09/28/01: THE CENSORS ARE COMING! THE CENSORS ARE COMING!
09/25/01: Speaking out against terror
09/21/01: What the terrorists saw
09/17/01: Calling evil by its name
09/13/01: Our enemies mean what they say
09/04/01: The real bigots
08/31/01: Shrugging at genocide
08/28/01: Big Brother's privacy -- or ours?
08/24/01: The mufti's message of hate
08/21/01: Remembering the 'Wall of Shame'
08/16/01: If I were the editor ...
08/14/01: If I were the Transportation Czar ...
08/10/01: Import quotas 'steel' from us all
08/07/01: Is gay "marriage" a threat?
08/03/01: A colorblind nominee
07/27/01: Eminent-domain tortures
07/24/01: On protecting the flag ... and drivers ... and immigrants
07/20/01: Dying for better mileage
07/17/01: Why Americans would rather drive
07/13/01: Do these cabbies look like bigots?
07/10/01: 'Defeated in the bedroom'
07/06/01: Who's white? Who's Hispanic? Who cares?
07/02/01: Big(oted) man on campus
06/29/01: Still appeasing China's dictators
06/21/01: Cuban liberty: A test for Bush
06/19/01: The feeble 'arguments' against capital punishment
06/12/01: What energy crisis?
06/08/01: A jewel in the crown of self-government
05/31/01: The settlement myth
05/25/01: An award JFK would have liked
05/22/01: No Internet taxes? No problem
05/18/01: Heather has five mommies (and a daddy)
05/15/01: An execution, not a lynching
05/11/01: Losing the common tongue
05/08/01: Olympics 2008: Say no to Beijing
05/04/01: Do welfare mothers a kindness: Make them work
05/01/01: Another man's child
04/24/01: Sharon should have said no
04/02/01: The Inhumane Society
03/30/01: To have a friend, Caleb, be a friend
03/27/01: Is Chief Wahoo racist?
03/22/01: Ending the Clinton appeasement
03/20/01: They're coming for you
03/16/01: Kennedy v. Kennedy
03/13/01: We should see McVeigh die
03/09/01: The Taliban's wrecking job
03/07/01: The No. 1 reason to cut taxes
03/02/01: A Harvard candidate's silence on free speech
02/27/01: A lesson from Birmingham jail
02/20/01: How Jimmy Carter got his good name back
02/15/01: Cashing in on the presidency
02/09/01: The debt for slavery -- and for freedom
02/06/01: The reparations calculation
02/01/01: The freedom not to say 'amen'
01/29/01: Chavez's 'hypocrisy': Take a closer look
01/26/01: Good-bye, good riddance
01/23/01: When everything changed (mostly for the better)
01/19/01: The real zealots
01/16/01: Pardon Clinton?
01/11/01: The fanaticism of Linda Chavez
01/09/01: When Jerusalem was divided
01/05/01 THEY NEVER FORGOT THEE, O JERUSALEM
12/29/00 Liberal hate speech, 2000
12/15/00Does the Constitution expect poor children be condemned to lousy government schools?
12/08/00 Powell is wrong man to run State Department
12/05/00 The 'MCAS' teens give each other
12/01/00 Turning his back on the Vietnamese -- again
11/23/00 Why were the Pilgrims thankful?
11/21/00 The fruit of this 'peace process' is war
11/13/00 Unleashing the lawyers
11/17/00 Gore's mark on history
40 reasons to say NO to Gore

© 2002, Boston Globe