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June 15, 2009

Vid of Protesters Setting Fire to Basij Outpost
Update: Obama Official Refuses to Condemn Brutality

Update: A State Department official refuses to so much as condemn the regime's violent crackdown on democracy.

This is the "new JFK"? I rather liked the old one better:

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

This much we pledge—and more.

To those old allies whose cultural and spiritual origins we share, we pledge the loyalty of faithful friends. United, there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided, there is little we can do—for we dare not meet a powerful challenge at odds and split asunder.

To those new States whom we welcome to the ranks of the free, we pledge our word that one form of colonial control shall not have passed away merely to be replaced by a far more iron tyranny. We shall not always expect to find them supporting our view. But we shall always hope to find them strongly supporting their own freedom—and to remember that, in the past, those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside.

Compare that to Obama's statement on the New Iranian Revolution:

Admittedly, it's pithier than JFK's statement.

Back the attack on the Basij hq:


I don't want to say "headquarters," though it is, because that would suggest it's the main hq. I doubt it is.

Nevertheless, here's the crowd attacking the building, shouting "Death to those who killed our brothers."

Via Allah with more. As he says, Iran's Tianamen Square is coming. It's not if, it's when.

The outcome might not be the same, though. At some point the government must panic and decide that a short, sharp burst of brutal violence is their best option for retaining power. Kill enough people to cow the others.

But what if they don't kill quite enough people to cow the others? Or kill so many they send the others into violent revolution?

This is similar to a hostage situation. The hostage takers don't want to start killing hostages, not due to any scruples, but because they fear what the escalation will be once they start indiscriminately killing -- will the police storm in? Will the snipers start shooting?

The cops similarly don't want to storm in, because the hostage-takers will start killing hostages the moment they do.

Both sides, then, have a vested interest in delaying the ultimate confrontation as long as possible, and in avoiding crossing the line into full-on violent resolution. They both hope that less-than-maximum shows of force will cow the other side to back down and that the situation will then be resolved peacefully, in their favor. Either the hostage takers ultimately surrender or the cops given in and pay them off and let them escape.

But at some point, someone has to win. Either one side backs down, or the situation spirals into intense violence, and someone wins just because he's still alive and his opponent isn't.

I'm not seeing a lot of room for the regime to compromise. If it reverses itself and installs Mousavi as president, they have two problems: Mousavi is no longer under their control -- quite the opposite -- and Ahmadinejad and his violent supporters are against them too. And I don't really see what lesser emolument the resisters would be willing to accept.

The "election fraud investigation" announced by the mullahs is, um, ludicrous on its face, and it's being dismissed as such. That's the limit of their "concessions," at least thusfar, and they will not be enough to appease the resisters. (Two to three million at that rally, by the way.)

Meanwhile: Where's the supposedly fascism-hating, democracy-loving left in all of this? Some are following their stated principles and supporting the resisters. But many are following Dear Leader Obama and remaining silent.

Wouldn't want to embarrass Mr. Hope and Chang by daring to criticize him -- or by supporting a Bush-like impulse to actually support democrats and freedom-seekers.

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