EDITOR’S NOTE: Part I of “Obama and the War against Israel” can be read here.
Even as the new Obama policies were igniting tinderboxes in the Palestinian territories, their most dangerous effects were being felt in Iran. From the beginning of his presidency, Obama had made “reaching out” to the Iranian police state a major part of his approach to the Middle East. In March 2009, he addressed a special Persian New Year message to the Iranian people and the leaders of what he called the “Islamic Republic of Iran,” itself an ingratiating reference that served to legitimize the totalitarian rule imposed on the country by the 1979 overthrow of the shah. Doubly shameful were Obama’s direct appeals to the mullahs, whom he urged to move the “Islamic Republic of Iran to take its rightful place in the community of nations.” At the time, Iran’s rulers were engaging in surrogate wars against the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan, supplying al-Qaeda and the Taliban with IEDs, which were the principal cause of the American deaths there. The contrast between Obama’s appeasement of this enemy and his aggressive displeasure toward a democratic ally could not have been more striking. It sent a dangerous message to the many other dictatorships and hostile forces in the Middle East.
Obama’s apologists insist that his message was no different from those that President Bush had previously delivered on the Persian New Year. But an actual reading of Bush’s messages
reveals the absurdity of the comparison. Unlike Obama, Bush addressed his words directly to the Iranian people, not to the oppressive Iranian regime, which he condemned for pursuing nuclear weapons and depriving its citizens of the right to “live in a free society.” The word freedom appeared three times in one of Bush’s messages. It did not appear once in Obama’s. Confronting Iran’s defiance of the world community, its determination to build nuclear weapons, and its brutal suppression of its own people would have interfered with the overtures Obama was making toward a criminal regime.
In May 2009, Obama sent a personal letter to Iran’s “supreme leader,” the Ayatollah Khamenei, again disregarding his oppressed subjects. The president’s letter appealed for better “co-operation in regional and bilateral relations.” Khamenei ignored the letter. Then, in mid-June, he mentioned it scornfully in a sermon in which he inveighed against alleged American interference in Iran’s rigged elections that month.
Obama’s acquiescence in the Iranian regime’s brutal suppression of the opposition during its presidential election demonstrated how far the White House was willing to compromise its values in the interests of an elusive “dialogue” that it had come to value above all else. As pro-democracy protesters shouting, “Death to the dictator!” were being brutally crushed on the streets of Tehran, the Obama administration maintained a deafening silence. There was no official message of solidarity with the demonstrators, no serious admonition to the regime about the right of free assembly, no support for changing a regime that was killing its own citizens while threatening its neighbors. There was no stern warning to an aggressive power that was brazenly defying the international community in racing to acquire nuclear weapons.