Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review July 16, 2002 / 7 Menachem-Av, 5762

Michael Ledeen

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
James Glassman
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
Jackie Mason
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Bush vs. the Mullahs: Getting on the side of the Iranian freedom fighters | Late Friday afternoon, when all the newsies were headed for the beach and the bars, President Bush issued a statement on Iran. Unlike the "major media," which had downplayed the monster demonstrations in Isfahan, Tabriz, and Tehran (if they reported them at all) on the ninth, the president not only underlined the historic importance of the Iranian people's ongoing struggle for freedom, but threw America's full support behind the freedom fighters. He again denounced the country's "unelected leaders," and called upon the regime to abandon their "uncompromising, destructive" policies. The president went on to spell out the devastating consequences of the repression: misery for the Iranian people, and a massive exodus of students and professionals to free countries.

The president's eloquent call for freedom in Iran went largely unreported in this country, but provoked the inevitable firestorm in official Tehran, as Supreme Leader Khamenei fulminated against this "interference in Iranian affairs," and President Khatami, the phony "reformer" who is the darling of the State Department's office of appeasement (a.k.a. policy planning), indulged himself in a tirade against America and lapsed into the blatant lie that everyone in the Iranian government has been duly elected. This is Khatami's reply to the 120-plus "reformist" members of parliament (more than one-third of the total membership) who called upon him to get some real results in a hurry, or else step down.

Meanwhile, in Isfahan - -the epicenter of the anti-regime demonstrations (just as it was the eye of the hurricane that brought down the Shah 23 years ago)-there have been numerous proclamations and rallies in support of the regime's most visible critic, the Ayatollah Montazeri. Montazeri, who has been under house arrest for years, issued a fatwah some weeks ago, denouncing the practice of suicide bombing as sinful, and was praised last week by Ayatollah Taheri, who resigned as Imam of Isfahan and issued the most violent denunciation in the history of the Islamic Republic of the evils of the regime. The mounting support for this aged cleric is yet another sign of the disintegration of the extremist religious tyranny that has wrecked Iran at the same time it has devoted enormous resources to the support of anti-American terrorism.

Travelers recently returned from Iran tell me heart-rending stories of both material and moral disintegration, of young women driven to prostitution because there are no jobs and there is no future; of young people openly flaunting the strict moral code against sexuality and alcohol, daring the security forces to arrest them; of police and security forces protecting demonstrators against the regime they are paid to protect; of foreigners who do not even speak Farsi being imported to maintain order. It all reminds me of the final days of the Soviet Empire, as the people awaited signs that the Kremlin lacked the will to crack down yet again.

For this is the only issue now. Tyrannies do not fall simply because they have wrecked the national economy, impoverished the people, and rendered their lives miserable. Tyrannies fall when they no longer use all the instruments of terror to maintain their power, thereby signaling the people that revolt can succeed. The crucial turning point is always in the minds and hearts of the tyrants and the tyrannized, and it cannot be measured by social scientists or intelligence analysts. It can only be smelled by those with noses trained to sense that the rot has set in, and the whole edifice is hollowed out, an empty shell of a regime.

This is a moment when those who claim to support freedom must embrace the legitimate cause of the Iranian people, the brave Iranians who lit candles to mourn our dead on the eleventh of September, and who lit fires to celebrate the fourth of July with us earlier this month. The president has done this twice, first in his "axis of evil" speech, and now again in honor of the demonstrators. It is important that his not be a lone voice. If Secretary Powell understands the moral and geopolitical stakes in Iran, he must speak out, and he must insist that his friends and admirers in Europe do the same. Alas, this week the European Union is sending a delegation to Tehran to discuss lifting sanctions and reopening full trade. It is a very bad thing to do, and the Iranian people will certainly remember it when their dictators have been removed.

They will also remember everything that we can do for them now: support for Farsi-language broadcasting, much of it based in Los Angeles and a handful of European cities. Support for some of the representatives of Iranian opposition groups now approaching Western governments, the most important of which speak for Iranian student groups. And surely it must be possible to organize some material assistance to those young Iranians who are being starved and corrupted by this horrid regime.

Faster, please.

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

JWR contributor Michael Ledeen is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and author of Tocqueville on American Character . Comment by clicking here.


07/12/02: The State Department Goes Mute: It's official: State has no message
07/09/02: History being made, but the West appears clueless
06/05/02: Is George Tenet endangering peace in Israel?
06/03/02: Ridiculous, even for a journalist
05/20/02: So how come nobody's been fired yet?
05/14/02: Open doors for thugs
04/20/02: Iran on the Brink … and the U.S. does nothing
04/16/02: It’s the war, stupid … someone remind Colin Powell
04/08/02: Gulled: In the Middle East, Arafat doesn't matter
04/02/02: Faster, Please: The war falters
03/26/02: The Revolution Continues: What's brewing in Iran
03/18/02: Iran simmers still: Where's the press?
03/05/02: We can't lose any more ground in Iran
02/14/02: The Great Iranian Hoax
02/12/02: Unnoticed Bombshell: Key information in a new book
01/31/02: The truth behind the Powell play
01/29/02: My past with "Johnny Jihad's" lawyer
01/21/02: It's Munich, all over again
01/08/02: What's the Holdup?: It's time for the next battles in the war against terrorism
12/11/01: We must be imperious, ruthless, and relentless
12/06/01: Remembering my family friend, Walt Disney
11/28/01: The Barbara Olson Bomb: Understanding the war
11/13/01: How We're Doing: The Angleton Files, IV
11/06/01: A great revolutionary war is coming
10/25/01: How to talk to a terrorist
10/23/01: Creative Reporting: Learning to appreciate press briefings
10/19/01: Not the Emmys: A Beltway award presentation
10/15/01: Rediscovering American character
10/11/01: Somehow, I've missed Arafat's praise of the first stage of our war on terrorism
10/04/01: What do we not know?
09/28/01: Machiavelli On Our War: Some advice for our leaders
09/25/01: No Room for the U.N.: Keeping Annan & co. out of the picture
09/21/01: Creative destruction
09/14/01: Who Killed Barbara Olson?
08/22/01: How Israel will win this war
08/15/01: Bracing for war
08/09/01: More Dithering Democrats
08/02/01: Delirious Dems
07/31/01: Consulting a legendary counterspy about Chandra and Condit, cont'd
07/19/01: Be careful what you wish for
07/17/01: Consulting a legendary counterspy about Chandra and Condit
07/05/01: Let Slobo Go
05/30/01: Anybody out there afraid of the Republicans?
05/09/01: The bad guys to the rescue
05/07/01: Bye-bye, Blumenthal
04/20/01: Handling China
04/11/01: EXAM TIME!
04/05/01: Chinese over-water torture
03/27/01: Fighting AIDS in Africa is a losing proposition
03/14/01: Big Bird, Oscar, and other threats
03/09/01: Time for a good, old-fashioned purge
03/06/01: Powell’s great (mis)adventure
02/26/01: The Clinton Sopranos
02/20/01: Unity Schmoonity: Sharon is defying the will of the people
01/30/01: The Rest of the Rich Story
01/22/01: Ashcroft the Jew
01/11/01: A fitting close to the Clinton years
12/26/00: Continuing Clinton's shameful legacy
12/21/00: Clinton’s gift for Bush

© 2001, Michael Ledeen