Tuesday, June 16, 2009



In his “Capital Journal” piece in today’s (i.e., Tuesday, 6/16/09’s) Wall Street Journal, Gerald Seib argues that the Obama administration has “little choice” but to deal with Iran as if the current unrest in the wake of last weekend’s election will result in no fundamental change in modern Persia. One of the reasons he advances for this contention is that

“…it was less than a decade ago that many people thought they saw a similar start to an uprising against the clerical establishment led by young intellectuals…..early in the presidency of George W. Bush, top U.S. officials were intrigued by the possibility that some kind of regime change might unfold. It didn’t.”

True enough. But Mr. Seib conveniently leaves out perhaps the major reason why “some kind of a regime change” didn’t take place: Mr. Bush’s reckless and senseless invasion of Iraq, supported ceaselessly and breathlessly by Mr. Seib’s paper, gave the mullahs in Iran a rallying point, the common enemy every dictatorial regime needs in order to make its people forget the problems largely imposed on them by the regime and concentrate on the whipping boy that is just about to make things far worse if the people don’t rally behind their current tormentors.

Mr. Seib also is wrong in arguing that Mr. Obama has “little choice” in this manner. The President currently has plans to ramp up the war in Afghanistan, noble in its original purpose but so badly botched by the aforementioned Mr. Bush that the only logical course for the United States now is as rapid an exit as possible. If Mr. Obama continues on this course, which will result, if it has not already done so, in Afghanistan becoming “Obama’s War,” he will give the mullahs yet another rallying point for the Iranian population: The Great Satan has us surrounded and has shown no compunction about using military force to take whatever it wants. You’d better get support us or we’ll be next.

As hard as it is for the editorial page staff of the Wall Street Journal to understand this, the whole world does not see the United States as a benevolent force wishing to spread freedom, democracy, sweetness, and light to the world’s benighted masses, especially after the havoc we have wreaked on Iraq and Afghanistan.

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