Back when sanity was in order, fine, decent men governed. Today they stand on the sidelines, hoping against hope that free men will wake up and heed their words of caution, much like Churchill when he too was cast into the wilderness. John Bolton wrote such words yesterday in the LA Times in his exceptional OpEd: The only answer for Iran is regime change, posted at Atlas here.
Today in the Wall Street Journal, Jose Maria Aznar, former prime minister of Spain (1996-2004), takes up the mantle for freedom. Bravo!
The less we protest, the more people will die.
The Islamic Republic that the ayatollahs have created is not just any power. To defend a strict interpretation of the Quran, Khomeini created the Pasdaran, the Revolutionary Guard, which today is a true army. To expand its ideology and influence Iran has not hesitated to create, sustain and use proxy terrorist groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza. And to impose its fundamentalist vision beyond its borders, Iran is working frantically to obtain nuclear weapons.
Those who protest against the blatant electoral fraud that handed victory to the fanatical Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are in reality demanding a change of regime. Thus, the regime has resorted to beating and shooting its citizens in a desperate attempt to squash the pro-democracy movement.
This is no time for hesitation on the part of the West. If, as part of an attempt to reach an agreement on the Iranian nuclear program, the leaders of democratic nations turn their backs on the dissidents they will be making a terrible mistake.
President Obama has said he refuses to "meddle" in Iran's internal affairs, but this is a poor excuse for passivity. If the international community is not able to stop, or at least set limits on, the repressive violence of the Islamic regime, the protesters will end up as so many have in the past -- in exile, in prison, or in the cemetery. And with them, all hope for change will be gone.
To be clear: Nobody in the circles of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei or Ahmadinejad is going to reward us for silence or inaction. On the contrary, failing to support the regime's critics will leave us with an emboldened Ahmadinejad, an atomic Iran, and dissidents that are disenchanted and critical of us. We cannot talk about freedom and democracy if we abandon our own principles.
Some do not want to recognize the spread of freedom in the Middle East. But it is clear that after decades of repression -- religious and secular -- the region is changing.