Accomplice to Evil

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Ledeen: Right now (evening of Sept 2nd) the regime’s thugs are in their fifth consecutive day of besieging the home of one of the Green Movement’s leaders, Mehdi Karroubi.  They seem to have set his house on fire.  Karroubi was in the midst of an interview with our Radio Farda when his phone was disconnected.  So we know that the regime is afraid of the Greens.  Dissidents have lost their fear of torture and death, and my impression–not widely shared–is that the movement has been growing.  Time will tell.

FP: We are at war with Iran, as the Mullahs declared war on us long ago, and yet the Obama administration is in denial about that. What do you think about that and what are the consequences?

Ledeen: It’s not just Obama; every president since Jimmy Carter has come to believe that we could make a deal with the mullahs. The consequences?  Lots of dead Americans (about which nobody seems to care), and our friends and allies.

FP: You are right, every leader since Jimmy Carter has tried to accommodate the Iranian regime and yet this policy has filled over and over again. How do you explain this continuing practice of a policy that not only fails, but kills Americans and jeopardizes U.S. security?

Ledeen: Political leaders are really afraid to take on the regime.  Everybody knows that the regime is killing Americans, but this fact–which to me is central to the whole question of Iran policy–has no traction, either in the media or in government.  All they talk about is nukes.  But the regime doesn’t need nukes to kill our kids.

FP: What are some of the key mistakes we have made in the past when dealing with our enemies? Why do you think there is often so much denial on our side about the existence of evil adversaries?

Ledeen: We deny it because when we admit it, we have to do something about it, and political leaders dread such decisions. Better do nothing and let someone else take the heat.

FP: We need a strategy to win. What does that strategy need to be?

Ledeen: Regime change in Iran. I think it can be done politically, by supporting the opposition. But if we don’t, and the regime survives, eventually somthing terrible thing will be visited on us and we will have to wage a big war. We are parents of children who have been on Middle Eastern battlefields, and we dread that. Especially when support for democratic revolution in Iran is so likely to succeed, and doesn’t risk the lives and bodies of our kids.

FP: How have our governments, and the Obama administration presently, not supported the Iranian opposition and what can they do to support it effectively? What must the administration do to successfully support a democratic revolution in Iran?

Ledeen: Just 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.

FP: Your thoughts on Iran and its nuclear program? It appears that Obama has abandoned Israel and that the Israelis may soon have to act alone. How do you read the situation?

Ledeen: I think that regime change will moot the nuke issue, because I do not think that a freely elected Iranian government will want to attack anybody, including Israel.  The opposition constantly chants “No Gaza, no Lebanon, my life for Iran!”  But if we do nothing and if Iran does develop nuclear warheads on top of missiles, then I think Israel will be compelled to act.  So paradoxically, those who advocate appeasement of Iran are making war more likely.

FP: If Israel is compelled to act against Iran, what could it do that would be effective? What would the consequences be?

Ledeen: Israel, like any other Western country, should help the opposition overthrow the mullahs.  That would change the world, for the better.  Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and the other terror groups–yes, al Qaeda–would suddenly be dramatically weakened, for example.  Iraq would be more secure.  Afghanistan would be easier.  If Israel is forced to attack, they have many ways to do it.  I would be a bit surprised if they launched a big air attack, and I hope to never know the answer…but I think it’s wrong to predict, as some do, that the Iranians would rally round the regime.  Why would they do that?  They hate it, and want it gone.

FP: Michael Ledeen, thank you for joining Frontpage Interview. It is always an honor to speak with you and we consider you a dear friend here at Frontpage.

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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.