Rob Miller, who blogs at JoshuaPundit, thought that, because I support the protesters in the Iranian streets, I would disagree with his American Thinker article pointing out that much of what’s going on in Iran at the higher echelons is a sham:
Are Mousavi and his followers in Iran an actual reform movement and a positive democratic change in Iran? The pictures of student demonstrators in Tehran being brutalized by the basij and Iranian security forces present a heart-rending spectacle. But there is very little evidence that the label of “democratic reform,” attached to Mousavi and many of his followers, is anything but a masquerade.
Mousavi is not some democracy-minded reformer. All candidates for elective office in Iran are handpicked and only allowed to run for office by the express permission of the Supreme Council of Guardians and its leader Ayatollah Khamenei. All candidates agree to follow orders. On issues that matter to the West — Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons, threats of genocide aimed at Israel, interference in Iraq and Afghanistan, support for Islamist terrorism and any reasonable compromises with the West on these issues — the two candidates were virtually the same.
The contrary is true. I think Rob is absolutely right. But I still support the rioting citizens in Tehran.
While it’s true (as even Obama figured out, and was crude enough to state) that, at the upper echelons, this was all a charade from the first minute, that still doesn’t discount the genuine anti-totalitarian impulse aline in the streets.
What I think happened is that the people who for 30 years have been played for fools with the mullahs’ pretense of democracy suddenly had it. Or, at least the people in the sophisticated urban areas had it. They were willing to go through with phony elections, but they were not willing to have the phony elections than set aside. That was adding insult to injury.
So while Mousavi is as bad as, if not worse than Ahmadinejad, I believe that the uprising on the streets is real, as is the tremendously brutal repression now being used to end that uprising. Rob is also right that, even if the uprising ends badly for those citizens in the streets (as it seems likely to do), there’s still an upside:
Still, if Iran’s genuinely fascist, clerical regime isn’t overthrown from within, the whole sorry mess has had some value: the regime’s true character has been shown to the world. The election debacle might just give the Obama Administration second thoughts about acquiescing so readily to idea of a nuclear-armed Iran.
You should read Rob’s whole article. I agree with him on every point but one: I think the citizen uprising matters and deserves our support.