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June 15, 2009

Comments

I wonder what would have happened here if people had taken to the streets when Bush and Company stole the election?

Publius, with all respect, how do you know that they are fighting for a better society, and not just fighting in an attempt to overturn the result of an election which they lost? The latter situation is not uncommon, and considerably less noble.

I feel more or less the same way. But I'm uncomfortable with the "there but for the grace of God goes the US" line of rhetoric, as if we just happen to have a more stable system than Iran.

After all, whether or not you believe the US was made safer and more stable by a half century of meddling in Iranian affairs, the state department and CIA folks who did so certainly believed it. When Teddy Roosevelt's grandson helped engineer the coup in 1953 that overturned Iran’s democratically elected Prime Minister, he did so because he thought it would America safe. When the Shah’s secret police crushed dissent for decades, the USA not only looked on with approval, but we actively enabled them to do so; it was in, they thought, the best intersts of the United States to do so. And when in 1979, the Shah’s government was facing a political Islamist revolution, Jimmy Carter assured the Shah of American support (making him all the more intransigent to reform) while his state department actively worked to support and establish ties with Khomeini’s government.

In other words, you can argue about the extent to which our involvement in Iran was to blame for what happened, and certainly the blame is not all on our side (as the joke goes, the fact that revolution succeeded in 1979 is a pretty good argument that the CIA was not in the driver's seat), but the thing you can't do is pretend we are merely lucky to be blessed with a political stability that they lack.

Crup... Iran's Press TV is down.. ("Server Busy")
http://www.presstv.ir/default.aspx

Now all we need are the CIA sound trucks to circle the capital playing machine gun fire over the loudspeakers and it's Mission Accomplished!

fair point zz. i'm not really blaming. i meant it more just as statement of gratefulness that we don't have to endure things like that to enjoy basic freedoms.

i have no doubt that we caused some of iran's stability problems. that's a different point to me, but still true

Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful too. But something stinks in the false choice between involvement or non-involvement that seems to frame so much of the discussion of this issue (here less than other places really), and it's this inability to see what is happening now as part of a long history of undermining Iranian democracy at every stage. Not that acknoweldging that history necessarily solves anything, of course, but those who ignore history doomed to repeat it, etc, and one of the things I'd like to see is more emphasis on reinforcing democracy as such and less discussion of which side we should support.

In America, our political fights -- which can get quite nasty -- take place upon an invisible foundation of legitimacy and stability... It's only when you see the alternative -- when you see the cruel and brutal repression in Iran -- that our own underlying framework becomes visible.

Obvious conclusion: publius is white.

(Cruel and brutal repression? Intended to interfere with the democratic process? Well, there's certainly been nothing like that in the US!)

The March is happening, in defiance of edict.Estimates put the crowd at 3,000,000, with the riot police deciding, for now, not to start anything.

This is ... I have no words. You have to see the videos; go to Skynet and the BBC. The Brits, at least, still know how to cover global breaking news.

Sully and Huffpo have been invaluable for following this story - not for doing their own reporting, of course, but for providing links to Skynet, BBC, and of course the tweets.

It's just jaw dropping to me how Twitter's been used in Iran. Absolutely gobsmacking. I can't make fun of Twits anymore: if the revolution does succeed, there's no question Twitter will have enabled it.

Casey, I agree with a lot of your comment, but I'd like to see a source for your 3,000,000 crowd estimate. Wikipedia puts Tehran's population at 8,000,000, and getting almost half of them in the streets would present rather a significant challenge; and BBC News's top story, headlined "Iran poll loser leads huge rally", cites AFP to say "tens of thousands" - tens, not hundreds, let alone thousands of thousands.

Tens of thousands of people defying a threat of live ammunition is incredible, but there's no need to gild the lily.

Warren - I'm repeating what I've seen/heard on BBC and Twitter. Have you seen the videos? People are coming in from all over the country - and yes, 3 million would constitute quite a challenge to the ruling Council, now, wouldn't it?

That's why this could, indeed, be a revolution. Those are the kinds of numbers the Greens need if they're going to pull this off.

CaseyL, no BBC story I've seen puts estimates of the crowd at 3 million. Perhaps you can supply a link.

I have no trouble believing that the announced results bear very little relationship to the votes cast. But this essay by an Iranian expatriate rings much truer to me than most of the news accounts, or of any thoughts that what's happening is a revolution.

And, while I'm grateful to the BBC for the footage of the pro-Mousavi demonstration, I'm not bowled over by it, or their coverage -- only by comparison with the thinness of everyone else's. They have yet to report the rather significant development that Point posted in another thread, now also reported in the NY Times' main story, that Khamenei has ordered an inquiry by the Council of Guardians into the election procedures.

No, I can't find the 3 million crowd estimate again. I know I did see such an estimate somewhere, since I didn't pull the number out of thin air or my own nether regions, but it could have been a tweet or a sidebar on Skynet.

In short: never mind.

zz:

"Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful too. But something stinks in the false choice between involvement or non-involvement that seems to frame so much of the discussion of this issue (here less than other places really), and it's this inability to see what is happening now as part of a long history of undermining Iranian democracy at every stage."

How exactly is the US undermining Iranian democracy right now? How?

I'm not sad like Publius. In Burma not too long ago you had the futile Buddhist monk protests against the junta which responded harshly, when the monks showed up at the charismatic Aung San Suu Kyi's house and she met them out front and shed some tears because she knew it was futile. That was heartbreaking.

During the Cold War yes the US would undermine democracy in the name of fighting communism and there was some of that in the war on terror - like Musharraf who was later pushed out - and people said the CIA funded the "color revolutions" but I never saw any evidence. I think people like zz are projecting the Cold War mindset on to today. They say things haven't changed but I see no proof.

During the Cold War yes the US would undermine democracy in the name of fighting communism and there was some of that in the war on terror

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