Will Obama continue to watch passively? That’s what FrontPageMagazine’s, Ben Johnson is asking: Will Obama at long last clench his fist in the face of brutal totalitarianism?:
Tianenmen Square, 1989.
Each of these surprise flashpoints in history’s long march against totalitarianism proved as dazzling at its outset as it did hopeless at its extermination. Each of them left a trail of broken bodies, but the last was different than all its historical forebears in one way: the president of the United States kept silent while it was unfolding. Barack Obama, and the world, saw police beat and gas protesters and kill 27-year-old music students and nine-year-old children; and Iranian reports indicate that those arrested were viciously tortured in a secret prison. All the while, the president maintained a reticence that helped enable the secret police. The young protesters who continue filling Iran’s streets this weekend to renew their revolt against corruption offer Barack Obama a unique opportunity: a chance to redeem his previous, disastrous inaction. Will he act this time to prevent hundreds more of their fellow citizens from meeting a similar fate?
His predecessors, who faced the actual threat of nuclear annihilation, greeted oppression with resistance. President Johnson called the Soviet invasion “patently contrived” and threatened United Nations action. Reagan, unable to garner NATO support for an effective response, imposed the economic sanctions at his disposal. George H.W. Bush, who was overly cozy with Beijing, verbally denounced the massacre and temporarily suspended diplomatic relations.
President Obama met crisis with equivocation, choosing to “withhold comment” about the transparently rigged election and standing idly by as Iranian secret police brutalized and arrested 2,500 democratic protesters, so as not be seen as “meddling.” Republicans John McCain and Lindsay Graham condemned his actions as “timid,” and even both houses of the Democrat-controlled Congress passed measures condemning the abuse more stridently than Obama. Finally, on June 20, Obama released a statement a week later calling on “the Iranian government to stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people.”
Like his invitation for Iran to “unclench its fist” on nuclear weapons, his plea was ignored, as the mullahs’ enforcers murdered Neda Agha Soltan and rounded up hundreds more to a then-unknown location.
We now know their fate: torture and death in Iranian secret prisons. One person detailed the vicious beatings in a Kihrizak prison, where “at least 200 people in one room, and everyone was getting beatings with sticks…The walls were all bloody.” The police allegedly turned off the lights to thrash the protesters for half-an-hour in pitch black. Among those killed was Mohsen Rouhalamini, a nine-year-old boy and coincidentally the son of an adviser to one of Ahmadinejiad’s opponents.
Ahmadinejiad’s opponents could use a little help and encouragement from Obama, but so far he’s blowing it. This weekend will give him a second chance.
Meanwhile, as the Honduran government resists leftist totalitarianism, the Obama administration has sprung into action…to support the leftist totalitarian. It’s almost as if Obama has a soft spot for totalitarianism.
See the NYTs for a great report about the latest round of protests w/picture and videos.