Republicans Talk, Ahmedinejad Smiles
Anyone who is the least bit familiar with the intertwined history of Iran and the United States — such as every Iranian over the age of five — knows the following: We toppled their last actual leader who was actually elected, Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh, back in the 1950s because he dared to nationalize their oil industry. (Ahmedinejad may be president, but he wouldn’t have got onto the ballot in the first place if not for the Guardian Council, which is where the real power resides in present-day Iran. He certainly doesn’t wield the power Mossadegh did.) We were the best friends and protectors of the Pahlavi dynasty, which ruled Iran for us in an increasingly nasty fashion since the overthrow of Mossadegh. We invaded Iraq largely because Saddam Hussein, who we once supported because he was willing to sacrifice large numbers of Iraqis in a brutal, bloody war with Iran that kept both nations bogged down and distracted, had outlived his usefulness to the US and the multinational oil companies on whose behalf we worked and still work.
This is why it was, in some cases literally, very deadly to the Iranian reformers when George W. Bush, fresh from turning Iraq into a charnel house just to topple Saddam, chose to take them under his leathery wings.
This is why it reverberated around the Middle East when President Obama did what no other US president of the last fifty years would do, which was to admit — and apologize for — our role in toppling the last decent Iranian ruler of the past hundred years.
This is why President Obama, in spite of the good will he’s earned in the Middle East through that speech, his other actions, and simply by not being George W. Bush, knows better than to make the same mistake Bush did and openly endorse the Iranian moderates and reformers. In fact, the Iranian reformers have asked him not to do so, for fear of seeing their foes use any such endorsement to paint them as tools of the Great Satan that keeps overthrowing any leaders of theirs who aren’t totally evil or crooked.
And this is also why the Republicans who attack Obama for not making Bush’s mistake — Republicans like Lindsey Graham (who, being obsessed with issues of manliness, called Obama "timid" and "passive" in a fine display of projectionism) and John McCain (who blew off the worry that Obama would give the kiss of death to the moderates by embracing them) and Pete Hoekstra (who went on FOX News, the GOP’s favorite TV network, to call Obama a chicken for not making the same mistake Bush did) — are stupid, evil, or quite possibly both. Yet nobody in the Traditional Media will dare call them out on their amorality and stupidity.
The more Republicans talk about Iran, the more Ahmedinejad smiles. Way to go, GOP!