George W. Bush talking about unrest in Iran in 2003:
I believe that some day freedom will prevail everywhere, because freedom is a powerful drive for people to… and it’s the beginnings of people expressing themselves toward a free Iran, which I think is positive.
Barack Obama on the current protests:
Well, that’s not exactly the case, but it’s close.
One of the things Obama has said is that whatever happens, there isn’t a hell of a lot of difference between Moussavi and Ahmadinejad. “Either way,” Mr. Obama said, the United States is “going to be dealing with an Iranian regime that has historically been hostile to the United States, that has caused some problems in the neighborhood and is pursuing nuclear weapons.”
Guess what? Obama’s right about that. Conservatives rant and rail about that all the time saying things like, “There’s no such thing as a ‘moderate’ in that part of the world.” (Of course that doesn’t stop them from hammering Obama for making the exact same point.)
But that doesn’t mean Obama gets to sit on the sidelines in silence and not voice support for a pro-democracy uprising in a theocratic state that considers the U.S. the Great Satan. And it certainly doesn’t mean he should be referring to violent oppression as “debate” and actually calling the true leaders of Iran, the “Supreme Leader.”
That stated reason for the silence is that he’s keeping his eye on the nuclear talks with the true powers in Iran. As much as I admire a bit of real politik, the truly delusional thing here is believing those talks are ever going to amount to anything other than a lake of glass somewhere in the Middle East — whether it be Israel, Iraq or Saudi Arabia.
We don’t have to bomb Iran. We don’t have to be bellicose. A statement of support from the United States would show that our government actually cares about the PEOPLE of Iran. God knows that Americans of all stripes–via Twitter and other media–are making that clear.
The thing is that if enough people keep bitching at him about it–even Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden are reported to be pushing him to take an actual stance–he probably will change his mind.
As someone said yesterday, “He’s trying to vote ‘present,’ but he can’t.”
He’s the president now, not a junior senator from Illinois. He should act like it.