Congress strongly condemns Iranian violence, Obama remains silent (UPDATE: O STARTING TO SOUND FIRM?)

And they did so overwhelmingly. It was a “toned down” resolution, of course – toned down by the Obama administration, who are taking the “wait and see” approach on Iran rather than coming out and strongly condemning the violence and murder taking place on the street against those who oppose the current Iranian regime.

I’m fascinated by the liberal belief that Obama’s approach to this is the right one. It’s one thing for him to refrain from commenting on the election results themselves, or demanding a recount or whatever, but it’s another thing all together to sit back and keep quiet when people are being beaten and murdered over political dissent. The violence against protesters has increased, dorms have been burned down, scores are being arrested and will probably never be heard from again – this is what we know from leaked reports because the Iranian government has cracked down on all forms of communication. The leaked reports, videos and photos say it all about what’s happening there.

To make matters worse, the UN, EU, and Britain have all, in the last couple of days, stepped up their criticisms of what’s happening in Iran, with Gordon Brown issuing a strong statement today denouncing the violence and brutality. Can you imagine that? The UN and EU and UK all sound stronger and more committed to stopping the escalating wave of violence in Iran than the United States – the country whose President has long been considered the unofficial “leader of the free world.”

It is simply inexcusable for this administration to keep its mouth shut while the violence increases in Tehran. The world is slowly but surely letting Iran know that they are watching, and they are starting to put pressure on the Iranian regime to stop beating and killing people, while at the same time reassuring the protesters that they support their right to dissent and protest – yet where’s the United States? Lagging far behind countries that normally look to ours for guidance and leadership, and sometimes moral clarity. The United States should be the leader on this issue, not the follower. Once again this President has embarassed this country on a world stage by looking weak and ineffectual.

I repeat again: There is a distinct difference in President Obama condemning violence against the political opposition in Iran versus demanding a recount and calling the elections there a sham. He shouldn’t “wait” until the mullahs make good on their word and things deteriorate into complete chaos before he finally decides to show support for the rule of law and for dissent free from retaliation. How many more have to be beaten and killed before he speaks up?

Liberals have been quick to praise Obama’s speech in Cairo as a deliberate yet subtle attempt to influence the vote in Iran in favor of the so-called “moderate” candidate. So if I get this straight, they’re ok with him trying to influence an election before it takes place, but think it’s presidential of him to stay silent afterwards and watch while the people he tried to influence are beaten and killed for their political beliefs in the streets. A condemnation of that is not the same thing as saying “we believe the election has been rigged.” The Iranian people who are taking to the streets deserve at least that – and not just from the US. All peace-loving countries should condemn the violence and murdering. The world wastes no time slamming Israel for any perceived act of unprovoked violence towards the Palestinians. Why can’t they do that for people who are crying out for moral support, a support they won’t get from the oppressive ruling class in Iran?

Charles Krauthammer puts a fine point on it all:

All hangs in the balance. The Khamenei regime is deciding whether to do a Tiananmen. And what side is the Obama administration taking? None. Except for the desire that this “vigorous debate” (press secretary Robert Gibbs’s disgraceful euphemism) over election “irregularities” not stand in the way of U.S.-Iranian engagement on nuclear weapons.

Even from the narrow perspective of the nuclear issue, the administration’s geopolitical calculus is absurd. There is zero chance that any such talks will denuclearize Iran. On Monday, President Ahmadinejad declared yet again that the nuclear “file is shut, forever.” The only hope for a resolution of the nuclear question is regime change, which (if the successor regime were as moderate as pre-Khomeini Iran) might either stop the program, or make it manageable and nonthreatening.

That’s our fundamental interest. And our fundamental values demand that America stand with demonstrators opposing a regime that is the antithesis of all we believe.

And where is our president? Afraid of “meddling.” Afraid to take sides between the head-breaking, women-shackling exporters of terror — and the people in the street yearning to breathe free. This from a president who fancies himself the restorer of America’s moral standing in the world.

I know, lefties – he’s just like the rest of us who oppose the administration’s tepid response to the violence in Iran: He’s just a “hateful, warmongering neocon,” right? 8-|

What many of the Obama supporters on the left are doing is nothing more than attempting cover for an administration that has proven itself inept on a world stage so far. No matter what the mullahs might end up doing in the end as a result of whatever Obama might say about the violence, that doesn’t mean he’s not obligated to speak up. He’s eloquent enough he could think of something to say that would hit the right note. After all, he – like Bush – has encouraged democracy and moderation in the ME – how dare he not respond when millions of people went to the polls in a show of support for that very kind of democracy only to be beaten and in some cases murdered for protesting the results!

Update – 8:54 PM: Sounds like he’s coming around to showing a little solidarity with the protesters right to dissent, but it’s still rather weak.

Related reading: NeoCon Derangement Syndrome On Steroids

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