The shame of the neocons continues. Now it’s Iran.
Democracy Now broadcast a terrific news segment today with Hamid Dabashi, an Iranian academic, who has an op ed in today’s Times, Looking for Their Martin Luther King.
Amy Goodman includes in her report two horrifying quotations from John McCain and Lindsay Graham:
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM: Why don’t we take a UN resolution, lead it, author it, condemn this regime for the way they treated their people and the way they foster terrorism, take it to the Security Council of the United Nations, and ask for a vote? Why don’t we call for tougher sanctions on this regime, because it will help the people down the road? Even though it may hurt now, it will help them later. We can do what we can—I can’t promise you an outcome, but I can promise you this, that as the leader of the free world, the President of United States, when he speaks, people listen. And we need to not only speak more forcefully, we need to act more forcefully.
SEN. JOHN McCAIN: We should marshal the world’s opinion and forces and maybe enact sanctions or other measures that need to be taken. Let’s hope and pray that this tyrannical government will draw back some. You know, there are defining moments, Larry. And what happened to this brave young woman Neda, as we—millions of us have seen her death on the street in Tehran, is—I think may be a defining moment and may signal, in the view of historians, the real end of this tyrannical regime.
There are a few important points to be derived from these statements. First, the neocons are coming perilously close to advocating actual intervention in Iran. Note McCain’s use of the term “or other measures.” Beyond sanctions, what other measures can there be but intervention? In fact, McCain calls for the end of “this tyrannical regime.” How would he bring that about if not through intervention? He appears to believe that the death of Neda will signal the end. But he can’t possibly believe that the death of one person, no matter how powerful a symbol she might become, will bring the end of the regime. No, that will require some Cheney-like interventionist machination on our part.
In my opinion, the Republicans have taken overdoses of testosterone when it comes to Iran. They’re subject to this “mine is bigger than yours” syndrome in regards to Obama’s carefully nuanced Iran policy. It’s a game of oneupsmanship as far as they’re concerned. The goal is to change the terms of the debate so Obama has to engage on their terms rather than his own. I hope to God they fail and Obama doesn’t sink to that. If he does, he’ll be down in the mud with them and not representing either America’s or Iran’s reformers’ best interests.
Here is the voice of a real Iranian patriot, Prof. Dabashi. Compare his wisdom with McCain-Graham bellicosity:
…It’s very hypocritical of the US Congress. The night before the presidential election in Iran on June 12th, they called for increased sanction against Iran…The day of election, that translates into “Vote for Ahmadinejad.” That translates into economic hardship for already those demonstrators that now they pretend they want to support. Any support for these demonstrators, for this green movement, on part of official American officials is a kiss of death.
What this movement needs—anything is—from the United States is, because I see it as a civil rights movement, is the support of civil rights icons. Reverend Jesse Jackson, Reverend Al Sharpton, these are the people who should come to its support, not official Americans. And as a result, President Obama’s position has been very pitch perfect, very calibrated. That is, he endorses the civil liberties of these demonstrators, without taking sides, and consistently insisting that this is a domestic Iranian affair, because the fact is he may have to deal with Ahmadinejad.
And I repeat what I wrote in Comment is Free today: the interventionists don’t give a shit about Neda or the “brave Iranian youth attempting to topple the tyrannical regime.” The former need to score points against Obama and this is just as good a way as any. Go the way of McCain-Graham and you’ll kill the Iranian reform movement. In fact, I believe the Republicans would be just as happy if thousands of them would be killed in the streets of Teheran. That would only prove their point better and draw the world that much closer to armed conflict with Iran and regime change.
All this is music to Israel’s ears. Bibi too wants regime change because that is how he sees ending the Iranian nuclear threat. It’s no coincidence that the talk of punishing sanctions against Iran comes from sources like the Israeli foreign ministry, Aipac, Dennis Ross and now McCain-Graham. They’re like birds singing in the choir. You might be forgiven for asking why Republicans are singing from Israel’s songbook. I naively thought that Israel and the U.S. ought to have separate interests concerning matters like this. Little did I know…
The US and Israeli “democracy” demanding forces should be now careful. What do they say then when an equal process as we see in Iran starts (eventually they will) in Egypt, Saudi Arabia or other loyal Arab client state. Or in China. Not to mention Palestine, where people have very limited rights and possibilities even to demonstrate. Surely there could not be double standards for not liked states and liked states (even we know this hypocritical stand exists).
Well we know that the US administration has never been very honest with their democracy, equality, civil rights etc demands. Much more important than those basic rights have been access to cheap raw materials and cheep labour besides lucrative weapon trades and markets. Control has been more important than the human rights in the target countries. US and Israeli necon circles would have no difficulties to tolerate a new Shah, who like his predecessor would not respect human rights or favour social equality.
McCain and Graham must have a constituency which benefits from US policies adverse to the interests of the general public both at home and abroad. We need “regime change” in the US. Vote these people out!
We did vote them out— we could have had McCain Palin.
Did you see this pitiful interview of McCain?
The usefulness of McCain and Graham’s neanderthal criticisms are that it gives Obama more opportunity to show the American people and the world how different he is from our previous and at a time when Ahmadinejad is just now saying there is no difference.
Perhaps it needs to be spelled out again and again to those who can’t evolve passed “kick ass” that change has to come from within these countries, not imposed… as it did here.