Saturday, June 20, 2009

Who's side are we on is the wrong question

I constantly hear and read pundits, usually liberal ones, advise that Obama is correct to not say much about the situation in Iran. Their theory is that since the United States is seen as an enemy, we would harm the reputation of whichever side we support.

I think this completely misses the point: We should not be choosing sides. We should be forcefully defending the principles we hold dear:

1. The right to peacefully assemble. There is no excuse for beating, shooting or arresting peaceful protesters.

2. Elections should free, open and fair. This means that anyone can run, not just those vetted by the mullahs. The process is open when the process can be witnessed by observers who are not part of the ruling regime. The process is fair when the person who gets the most votes wins.

Who's side are we on? We are on the side of the Iranian people. We are on the side of them getting their god-given right to choose, in a fair, free and open process, who will govern them.

I wish our President would say this too. It might carry some weight.

Update: Kudos to the President! One small gripe though--he should say it on tape and not just put it out of the press office. But still good--this is progress in the right direction.

Statement from the President on Iran

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. The universal rights to assembly and free speech must be respected, and the United States stands with all who seek to exercise those rights.

As I said in Cairo, suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. The Iranian people will ultimately judge the actions of their own government. If the Iranian government seeks the respect of the international community, it must respect the dignity of its own people and govern through consent, not coercion.

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 peoples’ belief in that truth, and we will continue to bear witness.

No comments: