I know why some believe that the president should speak out forcefully in defense of the resistance in Iran. I don't have to explain why a great part of me wants that as well. But I think the impulse should be resisted for the moment. Ahmadinejad is waiting for such a statement to portray the revolutionaries as agents of a foreign power - in league with Iran's enemies. This is standard agitprop for him, and it could hurt rather than help the resistance. But I don't like this vibe from the White House:
"The point is this is not about us," said one administration official, who has been working on the issue of Iran. "The point here is we will continue to monitor the situation to see how it, in a sense, resolves itself over the coming days. The pressure is on them to demonstrate to the world that this was a legitimate election and that the outcome reflects the will of the Iranian people."
Almost right. But the evidence of outright fraud is now overwhelming. And the infliction of violence against defenseless protesters should be condemned forcefully.
The administration should, in my view, resist the grandstanding of the neocons - who remain almost autistic about the world they seek to remake - but insist that no violence be used against peaceful demonstrations. The truth is: if these crowds continue to grow and the regime does not massacre them, there's a chance they could topple the regime. By focusing on government restraint, you can empower the resistance without giving Ahmadi's thugs an opening.
Oh, and the president should wear a green tie from now on. Every day. He need say nothing more.
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