Accomplice to Evil

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Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Michael A. Ledeen, a noted political analyst and a Freedom Scholar at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. He is the author of The Iranian Time Bomb, Machiavelli on Modern Leadership and Tocqueville on American Character, and he is a contributor to The Wall Street Journal. His latest book is Accomplice to Evil: Iran and the War Against the West.

FP: Michael Ledeen, welcome to Frontpage Interview.

I would like to talk to you today about your latest book, Accomplice to Evil.

Tell us about the main argument of your book.

Ledeen: The main argument is simple: when we deny the existence of evil, we become its accomplices. I recount many instances where we, America, have done just that: abandoning our soldiers captured by North Korea and the Soviet Union; appeasing Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin and Castro; failing to prevent the Rwanda genocide; and failing to respond to Iran’s 30-year war against us.

FP: Sorry, I don’t want to steer us off the discussion on Iran, but can you expand a bit on how our soldiers were captured by the North Koreans and the Soviet Union and how we abandoned them?

Ledeen: It’s a terrible story, and there is quite an extensive literature on it.  I have a friend in the Pentagon who has spent the last twenty years trying to get some cooperation from the Soviets/Russians, but to no avail.  Neither the Koreans nor the Russians want these poor souls to leave, and thus to be able to tell their stories.

FP: I did an interview on the POWs that we left behind with Lynn O’Shea last year — it really is heart-breaking and infuriating. Is there anything ordinary citizens can do to help the American POWs that are still locked away in these tyrannies? What would you recommend to those who want to learn more and do something about this, at least to even have the truth told, etc.?

Ledeen: I doubt there is anything to do, alas.  But there is a detailed book about it:  The Forsaken by Tim Tzouliadis and the great Hank Holzer wrote a fine essay about it some years back.

FP: Ok thank you. Let’s get back to Accomplice to Evil. You discuss a prophecy you made about Iran that was fulfilled. Share it with us. Why do you think you alone among Western observers got this right?

Ledeen: I said that the Iranian people would take to the streets against the regime if the electoral results were falsified. Nobody believed it. But it was obvious, or so I thought. Most Iranians hate the regime; all you have to do to prove that is watch how the regime behaves.

FP: What is the status at the moment of the Iranian protests on the streets? What were your thoughts on how the Obama administration handled the Iranian protests and the regime’s crackdown at the time? And as we know, the Iranian Gestapo continues to pull Iranians off the streets and to torture them, and yet the administration and our media are not saying much about it.

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  • 911Infidel

    And lets also recall that on 9-11, the only pro-American protest in the Islamic world that day occurred in Iran's streets. And we're not helping these people with regime change?

    It was the Greens who said during their street protests appealing to Obama…you are with us, or against us. Which is it?

  • proxywar

    The will ask me for help and I will look up and say NO!

  • Beverley

    Michael Ledeen – you are so right Political leaders are really afraid to take on the Iranian regime. Unfortunately as you say there is worse to come … eventually some terrible thing will be visited on the world and then action will have to be taken.

    It is just a matter of WHEN. They are definitely the head of evil.

  • David Holmes

    It is sad that diplomacy and treading softly with this regime has achieved next to nothing in 30 years.
    It is a bit like the debate as to whether spanking your child is acceptable. Well, if you had a child that continued to spit in your face for 30 years I reckon you have the right to discipline it. Look what happens when you let this regime continue on its merry path of threatening the annihilation of Israel and a continual rhetoric of hate for the west; it gets more confident of its ability to stand up to you and continue with its wayward behaviour.
    Sooner or later the Iranian people will rise – hopefully with our outspoken and overt assistance. Let's not keep it a secret and try to soft peddle around this issue. Make it our number one agenda to rid the world of these theocratic Islamic terrorists.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Evil does not attack evil, it does not take away support
    from it's own, maybe somewhat different on the outside
    but rotten, depraved and anti-good on the inside. How
    can we expect any help from our American political elite
    when they fear to act against the dark side. Politically
    the effete elected took the lesson of Winston Churchill
    to heart, be a hero and go into retirement. They say elect
    me again and again and promise to continue the fraud
    that all is well, all is well, all is honkey dorey, all is just
    as good as it gets, elect me again, but we go deeper into
    the well of dissolution and loss. It is the American people
    that need to stand up and I see that happening as Obama
    joins Carter in the hall of the anti-hero, sons of evil…………
    We know how to wage war but our politicians sell us out
    every time, time to make war on the politicians………….William

  • Seek

    What's the general view on the Ron Paul phenonemon? Many on the Right bitterly oppose American involvement in foreign affairs as much as the Left does. The Llewellyn Rockwell/Ron Paul view is that we have no business sending troops anywhere but home.

    • brenanc

      I fear that the present administrations may send troops to our homes so as to negate the coming elections. Why would Obama protest falsified elections? Time and time again the Democrats steal elections. Can you say Senator Franken?

      I'll breath on 4 January 2011 after a new Congress has been sworn in.

  • USMCSniper

    Favid Holcberg says: an attack on Iran to destroy its nuclear program and regime is long overdue. The purpose of such a strike would be to end the mounting threat from Iran, which has been waging terrorist war on the West for decades, and is now seeking even more powerful weapons. Retaliating against Iran doesn't mean embarking on an Iraq-like crusade to bring the vote to Iranians; instead, it means using military force to make the regime non-threatening — for the sake of defending American lives and if there is civilian casualties as collateral damage, so be it.

    Diplomatic attempts to persuade Iran to give up its quest for nuclear bombs have been going on for years, and produced no results other than to buy time for Iran's nuclear program and confer on that hostile and tyrannical regime unearned legitimacy as a peace-seeking nation. Iran's leaders are committed to a global Jihad against Western civilization; no negotiations are possible with those who seek its destruction. The West's only moral choice is to defend itself from this deadly threat.

    • brenanc

      Striking Iran's military targets would certainly be satisfying. And, as you say, they certainly deserve it.

      I worry about Iran's retaliation. I believe there are likely Hizballah cells across the United States that will bring terror to us on a more personal level than we experienced on 9-11. I'm not saying that possibility should deter us, but we should go in with our eyes open–and muscled-up.

      It is this possibility that makes people want to support the Iran's Greens and their efforts to change their country's regime. Regrettably, the soonest we're likely to see such a policy might be in 2013 when the Obama Administration is consigned to history's dustbin.

  • Wesley69

    "Follow the template of our support for Soviet dissidents and the Solidarity movement in Poland: they need some money, they need our public support (from the president on down), and they need some communications technology, from satellite phones to ways to beat Internet censorship, to ways to broadcast TV and radio. They do not need a military attack." This strategy of regime change could work if Obama would get behind it, but he isn't interested in a democratic Iran. Obama is a follower of Saul Alinsky. Obama wants to have his own revolution here. Instead of the Mullahs, rule will be in the hands of the leader of the "have-nots." Liberty will be a forgotten word. Because of our own political mess, we can be on no help to the Iranian people. We need regime change.

    • ajnn

      This strategy of regime change could work if Obama would get behind it, but he isn't interested in a democratic Iran.

      A solid point.

  • Wesley69

    As long as terror is maintained and people fear organizing in secret due to exposure, the Mullahs will be in charge. However, the religious fervor has gone out of the Iranian revolution as the Mullahs have been corrupted by power. The Greens need the support of the biggest democracy in the ways mentioned. Unravel this regime and the nuclear threat becomes mute. We must avoid war. War would be just the diversion the Mullahs need to unify their country against the attacking nation.

  • Sprocket

    Unfortunately, we, the US were responsible for the current state of Iran. Ledeen points out how we do not denounce evil, we become that evil. When the CIA overthrew a democratically elected leader, Mosedagh, in the 50's, we put the Shah in control who was just as big a thug as the Iranian Mullahs are now- except he was anti-Soviet.
    The people, tired of his secret police, SAVAK, and his repression overthrew him when Carter was president- and we, the US didn't see it coming. Hence we get the opposite swing of the pendulum- instead of an autocratic evil, we got a religious one.
    We forgot that the PEOPLE of a country are more important than short term political goals.

  • CanadConserv

    It was more the British that overthrew the Mossedagh regime, and it was widely considered that it was turning iran into a Soviet client state.

    And the Shah was a thug insofar as that was the only way he could control the Communists and Islamists working to overthrow him. In the meantime he modernized the country, provided rights for women and minorities, and otherwise tried to steer the country towards liberalization.

  • Reason_For_Life

    I rarely agree with Ledeen but he has nailed this one down perfectly.

    Every Iranian that I have met in the US hates the mullahs. Most use VoIP systems like Skype to communicate with their relatives in Iran.

    Bush never supported the anti-mullah forces and I've always believed it was because they were in favor of a complete separation of state and mosque. So solid are their separationist views that by comparison the ACLU are theocrats.

    Ledeen is right, we don't need an invasion. The Greens need secure communications and perhaps small arms but most important, they need the knowledge that we will immediately recognize and support a new government when they form one.

    Watching the candle light vigils that they held in Tehran to memorialize our victims of 9-11 brought tears to my eyes. They were risking life and limb to show sympathy and support for us. They deserve far more from us than they have received.