Thursday, March 17, 2005

I don't suppose you can speed things up?

Michael Ledeen is getting impatient with the Bush Administration's lack of will against Iran. On March 15, there were sizeable demonstrations throughout Iran as people flocked to the streets to celebrate the Zoroastrian New Year. Zoroastrianism was a major religion in Persia and is remembered by current Iranians. But it is banned in that nation. Nonetheless, revelers celebrated and clashed with the Iranian internal police -- a precursor to revolution? Here's part of Ledeen's take:

The most dramatic events took place in Shiraz, where the demonstrators directed a chant toward Washington: "Bush, you told us to rise up, and so we have. Why don’t you act?"

Which is precisely the right question. The president publicly promised the Iranian people that the United States would support them if they acted to win their own freedom, and the Iranians are now calling on Bush to make good on that promise.

The problem is that the administration may have outwitted itself, as has happened in the past. It seems that our current tactic is to set a series of traps for the Europeans and the terror masters. The Europeans are told that we will support their nuclear negotiations with the Iranian regime for the time being, but they must join with us in strong action if the talks fail. The Syrians are invited to leave Lebanon, and Hezbollah is invited to abandon terrorism, and are warned of harsh consequences if they do not. The president quite clearly doesn’t expect the negotiations to succeed, doesn’t expect Syria to accept a free Lebanon, and doesn’t for a minute think that Hezbollah can renounce its terrorist essence. In each case, we have convinced ourselves that, by taking a sweet and reasonable position today, we will be in a stronger position for tough action tomorrow. It will make it easier for at least some of the Europeans to join with us, whereas they would oppose tough action right away.

All that may well be true, but even so, it is the wrong thing to do.

Justice delayed is justice denied.

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