Michael Ledeen post
: Michael Ledeen of the National Review and the American Enterprise Institute posted a comment in response to the Bruce Laingen quotes below regarding the democratic movement — and revolution — in Iran. And so I’ll bring it out here on the front page, in full, because he’s prominent and his post is well-stated:
First, wasn’t Bruce Laingen one of those who failed to foresee the revolution of 1979? If so, why should we assume that his gifts of prophecy have improved in the past 24 years?
Second, it is getting tiresome to be accused of something I do not believe and have never said. I am wholeheartedly in favor of peaceful change in Iran. But changing the polity from dictatorship to democracy is revolutionary, isn’t it? I mean, by definition? Many peaceful democratic revolutions have succeeded in recent times, beginning with Spain after Franco’s death, continuing with most of Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union, and parts of Africa. It may well happen in Iran. I hope so. I wrote a whole book about this process–”Freedom Betrayed”–and lamented that American presidents had abandoned many democratic movements after the end of the Cold War.
The word “revolution” does not have “bloody” or “violent” automatically attached to it.
Third, I entirely agree that our freedom to defend ourselves against a terror network–with Tehran at its center–cannot be limited by the pleasure of the Iranian diaspora. Did you see the latest poll, conducted by the mullahs themselves, in which 45% of the people said they wanted regime change even if it required foreign invasion?
Now nobody in Washington at least to my knowledge is talking about invasion or any other kind of military action, but that 45% number suggests that large numbers of the people inside feel differently about American support for regime change than some of the political philosophers sitting outside.
The prisoners in the Nazi camps wanted the Allies to bomb the camps. The slaves in the Gulag wanted NATO to bomb the Gulag. Please keep these things in mind–and do not tell me I am advocating bombing or military action. I am not. I am trying to help you think it through.
I find it disgusting that the world is silent when thousands of demonstrators, along with journalists, are rounded up and thrown in jail. It would be encouraging to see some of the bloggers take up this cause, and unleash a torrent of emails and letters on the mullahs demanding the release of the political prisoners, and the enforcement of civil liberties.
And freedom for the Iranian people.
: UPDATES: Ledeen certainly is a lightening rod; there’s a comment complaining about what he has to say, with verve.
: His new column is up:
The mullahs were more impressed. The government itself now admits to having arrested 4,000 demonstrators, of whom some 800 were students. The student movement says the numbers were even higher, and the actual number could well be upwards of 6-7,000. Many were killed….
Regimes do not react this way to a rag-tag bunch. This is the reaction of a regime that fears its days may be numbered. Look at its own numbers: less than a quarter of those arrested were students. The rest came from other walks of life. In other words, the demonstrations were not restricted to a single sector of Iranian society, but were, for the first time, a truly national protest, both sociologically and geographically….
July 9 is coming soon. Nothing would encourage the Iranian people more than a clear declaration that the United States is with them, and against their oppressors.