Saturday, June 20, 2009

Iran: It's Go Time

Andrew Sullivan has been doing a tremendous job collecting and collating reports from a variety of sources through his blog on the Atlantic website, including putting up links to some photos and videos that are, frankly, difficult to watch. Perhaps having the ability to witness brutality and suffering will frame it properly for the world audience and pull off the clean, white sheet of the mainstream media that's been masking the consequence of war and protest and oppressive governments for far too long.

Roger Cohen of the New York Times has an excellent piece from Tehran where he demonstrates some of those old-school reporting chops, describing vividly the events that are unfolding while painting a clear picture of both the stakes and the costs.

In this country, a wise and patient president shows courage and restraint in his comments about the Iranian situation. How refreshing to have such a person in charge, one that understands that this is a problem within Iran that will only be solved by Iranians, and the last thing they need is the 800-pound bear that is America somehow asserting itself on their behalf.

Republican leaders wail and cry that the administration is failing to announce, to Iran and to the world, that we support the goals of those who seek freedom and that America frowns upon a government that steals elections, squashes protest and dissent, curtails communication, then maims and kills its populace when they won't shut up and go home.

Do Republicans think that everyone doesn't already know that?

Finally, here's what President Obama had to say this afternoon:
The Iranian government must understand that the world is watching. We mourn each and every innocent life that is lost. We call on the Iranian government to stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people. The universal rights to assembly and free speech must be respected, and the United States stands with all who seek to exercise those rights.

As I said in Cairo, suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. The Iranian people will ultimately judge the actions of their own government. If the Iranian government seeks the respect of the international community, it must respect the dignity of its own people and govern through consent, not coercion.

Martin Luther King once said - "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." I believe that. The international community believes that. And right now, we are bearing witness to the Iranian peoples' belief in that truth, and we will continue to bear witness.

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