From: "Pedro Martori"
Subject: The Blind Leading the Blind
charset = "utf-8"
Date: Sat, 23 Nov 2002 21:36:41 -0500
NNTP-Posting-Date: Sat, 23 Nov 2002 21:36:52 EST
Organization: Bell Sympatico
The Blind Leading the Blind (the NYT)
, 23 de Noviembre de 2002 06:59 a.m.
The Blind Leading the Blind
The New York Times and the Iranian crisis.
here are none so blind as those who will not see, and the New =
Times refuses to see what is going on in Iran. Just two days ago, as
protests spread from college campuses into the streets of all major =
cities, the newspaper's editorialists bloviated "Iran's pro-reform
majority...is bravely pushing back," and then pretended that the massive
demonstrations were simply aimed at a "redress (of) the balance between =
popularly elected government and the self-appointed religious
establishment," mainly through restraining "judicial extremism" and
"religious extremists." The Times ended by calling on parliament to pass =
reform bills. Get it? We have our Ashcroft, and they have theirs.
The students now risking their lives in Iran are not calling for =
legislation; they are demanding an end to the regime of the Islamic
republic. Each time the thugs of the regime charge onto University land, =
students chant "Death to the Taliban, in Kabul and Tehran," not "pass =
laws, pass the laws." And as the demonstrations have grown larger, from =
women marching in Tehran to workers striking in several cities around =
country, they repeatedly demand a national referendum on the entire
The demonstrators don't want reform at all; they want revolution, =
the frightful violence with which the regime is responding shows that =
Supreme Leader, the Ayatollah Khamenei, fully understands the situation,
despite his widely rumored recourse to abundant quantities of opium to =
his spirits up. He sees his authority under lethal assault, and not just
from young students. On the 12th of November, for example, a 21-year-old =
was hung from a crane in the holy city of Qom - the stronghold of the
country's religious authorities - and the body was left in public view =
full ten hours. It was the first time in years that such a thing had
happened, and was clearly intended as a warning to the religious leaders =
Qom, many of whom have been openly critical of the regime.
The tempo of public executions is increasing daily, along with =
beatings, mass arrests, and other forms of intimidation, suggesting that
this regime is prepared to kill anyone who stands in its way. But there =
also signs that the mullahs' will to power may be beginning to weaken.
The catalyst for the latest demonstrations was the remarkable =
handed down in Western Iran against a history teacher named Hashem =
He received a death sentence, a prison sentence, and a sentence to 74
lashes, a punishment so preposterous that it made the judiciary a
laughingstock. In the face of the protests, Khamenei suggested that the
sentence might be reconsidered if Agajari appealed the decision.
It was the first time the regime had blinked under pressure, and
Agajari refused to give them a convenient way out: He will not appeal. =
will have to make their own decisions. He will die rather than ask that =
sentence be reconsidered.
Days after the protests swept the country, our secretary of state, =
had been shamefully silent about the evils of the Iranian regime, =
bemoaned the refusal of the mullahs to listen to the voice of their =
and expressed the hope that relations between the two countries might
improve if the regime were more responsive to the people's wishes. =
words were reiterated on Wednesday by departmental spokesman Philip =
who noted that the Iranian people "are sending a message that they're
looking for a change in the way they're being governed, and an =
for a different or a better life."
An understatement worthy of the New York Times.
Meanwhile, the administration has decided that it's time to junk =
Farsi-language broadcasts of the Voice of America, and it's going to be
replaced with something called "Radio Tomorrow," featuring popular music
interspersed with occasional news items. One cannot imagine more =
timing. We should be increasing our substantive broadcasting to Iran, =
diminishing it. And we should support the Iranian people in their =
struggle for freedom.
National Security Adviser Rice has spoken of a democratic
transformation of the Muslim Middle East. Iran is the key country in the
region, and it is bubbling with democratic desire, but this =
is responding with carefully chosen diplobabble and resolutely refuses =
engage in the real battle. To what end her excellent words, if she =
get serious action out of her colleagues?
The war against the terror masters - of whom the most-lethal =
the Islamic Republic of Iran - is a war against tyranny, a revolutionary =
whose main component should be political. President Bush understands =
but he has so far failed to insist that his administration take concrete
steps to accomplish it. We are gearing up for a military campaign =
Iraq, which, even if it is necessary is only a part of the strategy for =
broad war in which we are engaged. Iran can be liberated without firing =
shot, dropping a bomb, or risking the lives of American soldiers. It is
everything this country should stand for, even without the background of
September 11 and the constant threat of renewed terrorist attacks =
and our allies.
Faster, please. A free Iran will change the world.
- Michael Ledeen's new book, The War Against the Terror Masters, =
just been published by St Martin's Press.