Sunday, December 06, 2009

Kicking the can down the (deadend) road

Mona Charen has a quick review of Michael Ledeen's Accomplice to Evil, which includes:
The failure to grapple with the challenge of Iran is more than a strategic failure, he argues; it’s a moral failure. Just as few in the democratic countries took Adolf Hitler at his word when he repeatedly promised to dominate the world and kill all the Jews; and few could squarely acknowledge the genocidal lengths to which the Communists would go; so today the threat from the radical Islamists is minimized, whitewashed, or wished away.

Of the Carter administration, Ledeen writes, “The failure to comprehend what Khomeini was all about contributed mightily to the American debacle in Iran, and to subsequent failure of American policy, for the policy makers — from Carter down — did not take seriously the possibility that Khomeini might be worse than the shah.” Incomparably worse, as it turned out. During the war with Iraq, Iran sent tens of thousands of children to their deaths “clearing” minefields. Before departure, they were issued plastic keys — to open the gates of paradise.

But Americans have doggedly refused to recognize the nature of the regime or the Islamist movement it spearheads. Ledeen writes of the Carter State Department: “In what was to become a great leitmotif of the next 30 years, American diplomats desperately worked for an agreement at all costs.” When the Iranians presented brutal demands that the U.S. turn over all Iranian “criminals” who had taken refuge in America, an assistant secretary of state — in words that could have been ghostwritten by the current occupant of the Oval Office — explained, “The Iranian suspicions of us were only natural in the post-revolutionary situation . . . but after a transition period common interests could provide a basis for future cooperation.”

Even after the regime had held our diplomats hostage in Iran for more than a year, the Carter administration “approved a series of humiliating concessions” in the hope of securing their release. It was that way to the bitter end. On the day before he left office, Carter issued Executive Order 12283, which immunized the Iranian government from lawsuits arising from the seizure of the embassy.

President Obama deludes himself that “outreach” to the mullahs represents some sort of new departure in American policy. In fact, every administration since Carter’s has repeatedly attempted to “engage” the mullahs. Even the Bush administration “pursued accommodation . . . as vigorously as any of the others.” ...

The Obama administration, seasoning its approach with fawning genuflections, is taking accommodation to a new level — a fact that is not lost on the Iranian people who chant, “Obama. Obama. Either you’re with us or you’re with them,” as they dodge the batons and bullets of the Basij militia.
Read the whole piece here.

1 comment:

Kevin said...

Please recall that the Eisenhower administration deposed the democratically elected Prime Minister and installed the Shah. We are simply reaping what was sown, not by us but by others years before some of us were even born.

What would you have us do? Attack? Iran is huge. Shall we allow Israel to attack? The retaliation would bring on the very catastrophe we would like to avoid.

Diplomacy is the way to get through this. It will not be swift but it will be fruitful.

I ask again: what would you have us do?

Ad Astra Per Aspera,