“The Administration’s silence in the face of Iran’s brutal suppression of democratic rights represents a step backwards for homegrown democracy in the Mideast."Joe Lieberman (I –but really an R- CT) scolded
“We as Americans have a responsibility to stand in solidarity with people when they are denied their rights by repressive regimes. When elections are stolen, our government should protest. When peaceful demonstrators are beaten and silenced, we have a duty to raise our voices on their behalf. We must tell the Iranian people that we are on their side.”Sen. John McCain (R – AZ)
“That the United States should make clear that it backs anti-Mahmoud Ahmadinejad demonstrators in their battle against ‘an oppressive, repressive regime.’”WHY: Call me skeptical, but why would the very same Republicans who so thoroughly mishandled an election here in 2000, be so outraged by the mishandling of the election in Iran? To take a longer historical view, why would the very same conservative movement that overthrew "homegrown democracy" in the Middle East when the CIA and Britian's M16 illegally and forcibly installing the Shah in in 1953, possibly give a fig about democracy in Iran? The Conservative support for the pro-Moussavi demonstrators is particularly puzzling given that it will have the exact opposite result. Most national security experts are saying that any American show of support for Moussavi's camp will lead to a much more violent response against them, not just by the state, but by the pro-Ahmadinejad demonstrators. According to the National Security Network,
Calling for the United States to directly support the protests – even symbolically – could place the demonstrators in severe danger. The Iranian regime is feverishly attempting to label the demonstrators as western agitators backed by the United States – Iranian state television even used a clip from FOX News in an effort to make this point. Therefore the calls from Pence, Cantor, and McCain are not only just unhelpful, but they are a total gift to Ahmadinejad.Anyone who listened to coverage of the pro-Ahmadinejad demonstrators yesterday could hear how they felt about Britian, where a long colonial relationship and PM Gordon Brown's recent support of the Moussavi demonstrators has left Iranians with yet another reason to hate the Brits. Given US history in Iran, the Americans should remember that we can easily become THE enemy. WHAT: The Shock Doctrine. This is Naomi Klein's "Shock Doctrine" in action. According to Klein, there is a certain form of global capitalism, most closely associated with the likes of Milton Friedman's brand of economics and the politics of Ronald Reagan, that prays for these kind of upheavals the way farmers in a drought pray for rain. The "pro-business" elite waits for these "shocks" to the system so they can rush in, move everyone out of the way, and start "free-market" capitalism with a clean slate. According to Klein,
The idea of exloiting crisis and disaster has een the modus operandi of... this fundamentalist form of capitalism (that) has always needed disasters to advance.... What was happening in Iraq and New Orleans was not a new, post-September 11 invention. Rather, these bold experments in crisis exploitation were the culmination of three decades of strict adherenace to the shock doctrine."In the more chilling words of "free market" propagandist Friedman,
only a crisis-actual or perceived- produces real change... That, I believe is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies , to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes politically inevitable."WHEN: Only WHEN the press and other members of the chattering classes stop pretending that the US is some John Wayne character, establishing justice and democracy around the world, and take seriously the fact that US foreign policy serves US corporate interests, not the American people (did we want the Shah imposed on Iran? did we support war without cause in Iraq?), will they possibly stop calling for "action." As for really supporting democracy and the demonstrators, the only way to do it is outside the state and the corporations. Call your friends in Tehran (I did). See what they want or need from you. Send messages of support, important pieces of information, and love. But whatever you do, do not send the US military.