“Bearing witness” isn’t enough.
by William Kristol on The Weekly Standard
On June 20, after a week of post-Iranian-election presidential mealy-mouthing, and a day after both houses of Congress had passed resolutions condemning the behavior of the Iranian regime, the White House put out a statement from President Obama. It began:
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.
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 people’s belief in that truth, and we will continue to bear witness.
Leave aside the questionable notion that the “international community” believes the arc of the moral universe bends toward justice. Focus on what is truly startling: The president of the United States apparently believes the government of Iran needed to hear from him that “the world is watching.” Why did he suppose the regime was busy shutting down websites and expelling foreign journalists or restricting them to their hotels in Tehran? What the Iranian regime cared about–what the Iranian regime was worried about–was what, if anything, the world would do.
The answer, the American president told them, was that the world would do nothing.
Almost a half-century before, a young Democratic president had said this:
Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay anyprice, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.
Yesterday I tracked coverage of the events in Iran on Twitter and posted them here. Though it’s late Saturday night in the US, it’s now Sunday morning, 21 June 2009, in Iran. I’ll update this post as events unfold throughout the day.
(scroll down to see most recent videos)
Dawn fires, explosions, and protesters cheering
Screams, sirens, and gunshots in the black of last night
Thousands marching, chanting “We are all together”
Sunday protest in the streets
More Sunday protests
Police beating in Iran
YouTube user claims this is chemical attack
Protesters protect one of their wounded
Police attack protesters
Protesters flee advancing police
(user names not posted for their safety)
11:06 pm CST FROM #IRAN* Tanks have rolled in Tehran … #iranelection
11:26 pm CST RT: There was a military tank in Azadi square last night. #iran #iranelection
11:47 pm CST RT From Iran: basij are beleived to be carrying out house raids, Please RT #iranelection
8:49 am CST Ppl getting ready 2close down main market in Tehran known as “bazaar” Wuld have big effect on Econ. #iran
12:34 pm CST RT from Iran: Still hearing gunshots from Tajrish SQ. People set fire and fired some Basijis motorcycles #iranelection
Finally! At about 2:45 pm CST Saturday, President Obama finally released a statement in support of those standing for Democracy and freedom in Iran! The President refused to make the statement on camera, but included the following in a press release.
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.
Protests continue in Iran, despite the threat of a violent crackdown by the country’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei. I’ll be updating this post throughout the day with videos, photos, and reports from Twitter.
9:01 CST Iranian state run media are reporting a suicide bombing of the shrine of Ayatollah Khomenei
Protesters intimidating Basij militia
More protest video
Huge crowds protest today in spite of crackdown
Protesters running through streets, gunshots heard in background
Woman shot to death by pro-Gov’t Basij militia [GRAPHIC]
Protesters shot on camera [GRAPHIC]
Another protester shot in the street [GRAPHIC]
More protesters clash with militia
Protesters clash with police at Shiraz Unitversity
Police murdering protesters [GRAPHIC]