Smoky Mountains Sunrise

Sunday, June 21, 2009

America's Betrayal of the Iranian Freedom Fighters

President Obama has been handed a huge opportunity to contrast the ideals of American freedom, democracy and self-determination, with the fascist terror regime ruling Iran. The freedom fighters bleeding and dying in Iran would welcome America's leadership in galvanizing world opinion and supporting an end to that tyranny. Such leadership would also make reparation for the policies of Jimmy Carter that did so much to bring the current regime to power.

Unfortunately, when Obama finally spoke, his statement was so ambivalent it was not clear whether he was condemning the violence of the government, the freedom fighters, or in his usual way, seeing moral equivalence between the mullahs and those risking their lives in the streets.

We should not be surprised. We can hardly expect one who is embarrassed by, and apologetic for America's role in the world, to understand the aspirations of young freedom fighters in Tehran. Obama's indifference to their struggle was even too much for members of his own party in Congress, which has passed a resolution supporting the freedom fighters.

In the following article, Paul Kengor contrasts the ambivalence of the current administration with President Reagan's support for freedom-loving insurgents around the world.

I frequently get asked how Ronald Reagan would react to certain situations. I've gotten those questions a lot lately given the penchant for central planning by the new team Americans elected in Washington.

But nowhere is there a Reagan lesson that needs heeded as desperately as in Iran right now. The desperation is more apparent daily as President Obama doesn't seem to recognize -- or doesn't know how to support -- the huge historical opportunity before his eyes, and quickly slipping through his fingers.

What would be Reagan's reaction to what's happening in Iran? That's a slam-dunk: He would have responded as he did to every cry for freedom suffocating under the last global scourge America battled -- Soviet communism. Wherever those resisting the despots resided and raised their voices, in Afghanistan, in Nicaragua, in Poland, Reagan was consistent, never missing the opportunity, always staying on theme. He called these people "freedom fighters."

He did so unequivocally, boldly, proudly, loudly, with the left often trashing him and undermining him, contesting whether this or that group met their criteria as legitimate "freedom" fighters. Reagan was undeterred. He recognized the historical imperative, what he called the March of Freedom. The freedom marchers needed America and its president to urge them on.

The total Reagan statements promoting these freedom fighters are literally uncountable. I know this well, as I collected them for research purposes. Reagan didn't simply step to the microphone to encourage these people at certain crisis moments; he called them out routinely, regularly, including in special, newly created ceremonies with names like Afghan Freedom Day, Solidarity Day, Captive Nations Week, and honoring things like "Observance of the Afghan New Year" or speaking at the annual Pulaski Day Banquet in New York City. In these statements, the president of the United States and unapologetic leader of the free world -- Reagan took that task to heart -- mercilessly blasted the tyrants with just about every name in the book.

Reagan didn't play footsies with dictators. He knew human nature. He knew evil. He knew who was wrong. He knew the dictators were bad regardless of whether we were nice. Not condemning them wouldn't make them behave better.

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