First, my usual disclosures.
I voted for Obama.
I like Salon’s Joan Walsh.
I especially liked the cool, calm, collected, and informed way she recently debated—whenever she wasn’t rudely interrupted—a boorish, fuming, huffing and puffing, uninformed O’Reilly on Dr. Tiller’s murder and on O’Reilly’s previous ranting on this subject—prior to the murder.
I also like the way she has been supporting both the brave people in Iran who are protesting the fraudulent election results and President Obama’s cool, calm, collected and informed (have I used this before?) support for the protesters in Iran.
For example in her latest piece, “Neda, Obama, Iran—and the rest of us,” at Salon.com, Walsh says:
I haven’t been able to shake the image of the Iranian martyr, 26-year-old Neda Agha-Soltan, dying, live, on a cellphone video in Tehran on Saturday. The way her eyes follow the camera — follow us, the global bystanders, seeming to demand that we do something — has haunted me ever since.
Paradoxically, I want the world to stand up for Neda — and stand with all the other Iranians, especially the Iranian women, fighting and dying for freedom this week. But I think President Obama has had nearly perfect pitch in his statements on the struggle there.
Then, she talks about how, “deranged neocons and Republican opportunists” are demanding that Obama do more.
Guys like William Kristol and Michael Ledeen, who are wrong about everything. Paul Wolfowitz, who with Kristol and Ledeen sold us the Iraq quagmire, compares Iran to the Philippines, and says we should do what we did to Ferdinand Marcos and tell him it’s time to go. Is Wolfowitz really so blinkered that he doesn’t remember Marcos was our ally? How do we make Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Ayatollah Ali Khameini step down?
Congressional Republicans, though, have been the worst. Neocon grifters are paid well by think tanks and the Washington Post to be wrong; Congress members, who have to face election, should be a little bit smarter and more honest. Sen. John McCain in particular should be ashamed of himself; he really knows better… The Republicans calling Obama “weak” and “passive” have no formula for an effective U.S. reply to the protests.
But not all Republicans have joined the insane chorus:
“In Congress, Sen. Richard Lugar has been the lone informed GOP voice backing the president; we can only hope others listen.”
I have seen others: Henry Kissinger, George Will, Peggy Noonan…
Walsh points to White House statements, mostly ignored by the right, that strongly defend the Iranian protesters and condemn the state violence:
What you’re seeing in Iran are hundreds of thousands of people who believe their voices were not heard and who are peacefully protesting and — and seeking justice. And the world is watching. And we stand behind those who are seeking justice in a peaceful way. And, you know, already we’ve seen violence out there. I think I’ve said this throughout the week. I want to repeat it that we stand with those who would look to peaceful resolution of conflict, and we believe that the voices of people have to be heard, that that’s a universal value that the American people stand for and this administration stands for.
And I’m very concerned based on some of the tenor and tone of the statements that have been made that the government of Iran recognize that the world is watching. And how they approach and deal with people who are, through peaceful means, trying to be heard will, I think, send a pretty clear signal to the international community about what Iran is — and is not.
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.
Walsh then asks, “What more is Obama expected to say?”
Walsh mentions today’s press conference by the President where he is expected to make a statement on the Iranian elections and protests, and concludes:
So expect to hear that Obama was moved, especially by the women of Iran and their bravery. I’m sure some reporter will ask Obama if he watched Neda die, and his answer will be interesting, and likely both moving and circumspect. I think Obama has said all he needs to say on this issue, and he’s right about the bigger stake: The U.S. can’t be seen as meddling. The Iranian story is still unfolding. Stay the course, Mr. President, stay the course.
I would add to that, Mr.President, “Illegitimi non carborundum,” or any of the dozen or so Latin variants. (Yes, I know all incorrect Latin, but one gets the message.)
And I know for sure that Mr. Obama at his press conference will continue to deliver a strong, informed and correct message on the crisis in Iran.
The author is a retired U.S. Air Force officer and a writer.