Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Lunchtime: Iran edition

Iran introduces new propaganda tactics June 23: NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel joins Rachel Maddow to describe the lengths to which the Iranian government is going to undermine the opposition movement protests.
Albright on Obama's Iran stance June 23: During President Obama's afternoon press conference Tuesday, he refuted suggestions that he is only now getting tough on Iran. Is his measured approach still the right one? Rachel Maddow is joined by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

Sully: Tehran's Unlicensed Protests

Juan Cole makes a sharp point. The mass protests in Iran would not be allowed in the US either. And they weren't allowed in the US under Bush-Cheney:

The number of demonstrators arrested in Tehran on Saturday is estimated at 550 or so, which is less than those arrested by the NYPD for protesting Bush policies in 2004.

When the US government detains people without trial or due process and tortures them and forbids spontaneous public demonstrations in major cities, it has a problem getting on its high horse. Now, of course, Bush-Cheney was not Khamenei-Ahmadinejad. They didn't rig 2008 to get Palin installed. But once you have crossed certain red lines of civil liberties, your scope for criticizing others is somewhat limited.Which is why we should be grateful Obama is in office. Bush's criticism of the treatment of arrested "terror suspects" would have been rightly laughed off the stage.

Sen. Hutchison smacked around on Hardball, reverts to old stand-by - 911, 911, 911!

I thought it was bad when John McCain, asked yesterday whether "there's any doubt what side President Obama is on" in Iran, replied, "I know what side I'm on. I'm on the side of the people. I'm not on Ahmadinejad's side or Mousavi. I'm on the side of the Iranian people and I'm on the right side of history."

Even for a politician whose descent into cheap hackery has been painful to watch, this kind of embarrassing chest-thumping is just ridiculous.

As it turns out, though, it wasn't even close to being the worst Republican rhetoric of the day regarding the administration and U.S. policy towards Iran. No, that prize goes to Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), who happens to be a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and who believes Iranian brutality is President Obama's fault.

The California Republican, appearing on MSNBC's The Ed Show, said that the president "ratcheted up the language a little bit" during his press conference on Tuesday. But, he added, "If [Obama] would have been talking even a little bit tougher a few days ago we might not have seen the violence and bloodshed of this repressive regime in Tehran in the last two days."

This is what it's come to. Senior Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee think Iranian bloodshed might have been diminished if Obama "had been talking ... a little bit tougher."

On Monday night, The Nation's Chris Hayes noted, "There's just a tremendous pathological narcissism on behalf of [neocon Republican lawmakers] that everything revolves around the U.S. and revolves around our kind of preening self-satisfaction. And it's actually really destructive. I mean, if the president was doing what they wanted him to do. We would see things get worse in Iran, worse for the dissidents and protestors. It's very hard to excuse."

And yet, the Republican screeds continue to get even more offensive anyway. Incredible.

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