Are Giuliani, Ridge, Mukasey & Townsend Terrorists?

Glenn Greenwald makes the case that they are.

Imagine if a group of leading American liberals met on foreign soil with — and expressed vocal support for — supporters of a terrorist group that had (a) a long history of hateful anti-American rhetoric, (b) an active role in both the takeover of a U.S. embassy and Saddam Hussein’s brutal 1991 repression of Iraqi Shiites, (c) extensive financial and military support from Saddam, (d) multiple acts of violence aimed at civilians, and (e) years of being designated a "Terrorist organization" by the U.S. under Presidents of both parties, a designation which is ongoing? The ensuing uproar and orgies of denunciation would be deafening.

But on December 23, a group of leading conservatives — including Rudy Giuliani and former Bush officials Michael Mukasey, Tom Ridge, and Fran Townsend — did exactly that. In Paris, of all places, they appeared at a forum organized by supporters of the Mujaheddin-e Khalq (MEK) — a group declared by the U.S. since 1997 to be "terrorist organization" — and expressed wholesale support for that group. Worse — on foreign soil — they vehemently criticized their own country’s opposition to these Terrorists and specifically "demanded that Obama instead take the [] group off the U.S. list of foreign terrorist organizations and incorporate it into efforts to overturn the mullah-led government in Tehran." In other words, they are calling on the U.S. to embrace this Saddam-supported, U.S.-hating Terrorist group and recruit them to help overthrow the government of Iran. To a foreign audience, Mukasey denounced his own country’s opposition to these Terrorists as "nothing less than an embarrassment."

Iran, 2009 vs. U.S., 2000

Just wondering how Republicans, who are now clamoring for Obama to speak forcefully in favor of the the Mousavi’s supporters, would have felt in 2000 if Iranians were criticizing them, suggesting they were stealing the election and voicing strong support for the Democrats.  Do you think the GOPer might have said, “It’s none of your damn business”?  Or maybe, “How dare you criticize the greatest democracy in the world!” 

No, Republicans always feel they can criticize other countries but take affront when other countries criticize us.

Obama, the Wily Fish?

The American right has been criticizing President Obama for not interjecting himself into the Iranian elections.  They say he should show support for Mir Hussein Moussavi’s bid to become president, bolstering democratic forces in the Middle East, and thereby acknowledging President Bush’s “freedom agenda.”

But Obama, always taking the long view, knows that to do so would only enflame the supporters of Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Robert Kagan takes it one step further,  He claims in a Washington Post op-ed today that Obama is siding with Ahmadinejad.  He claims that Obama is being silent because he wants to convince the Iranian mullahs that he does not embrace “regime change.”

If you find all this disturbing, you should. The worst thing is that this approach will probably not prevent the Iranians from getting a nuclear weapon. But this is what "realism" is all about. It is what sent Brent Scowcroft to raise a champagne toast to China’s leaders in the wake of Tiananmen Square. It is what convinced Gerald Ford not to meet with Alexander Solzhenitsyn at the height of detente. Republicans have traditionally been better at it than Democrats — though they have rarely been rewarded by the American people at the ballot box, as Ford and George H.W. Bush can attest.

You’ve got to wonder at times, if neocons like Kagan would prefer Obama attack the current leaders of Iran, just so they would, in turn, escalate the rhetoric so as to bolter the neocon’s contention that the only way to deal with them is to bomb them into oblivion.

Tom Friedman suggests they aren’t the only ones who would prefer an Ahmadinejad victory

Israel was taken by surprise by events in Lebanon and Iran. And Israeli officials have been saying they would much prefer that Ahmadinejad still wins in Iran — not because Israelis really prefer him but because they believe his thuggish, anti-Semitic behavior reflects the true and immutable character of the Iranian regime. And Israelis fear that if a moderate were to take over, it would not herald any real change in Iran, or its nuclear ambitions, but simply disguise it better.

Let’s hope Obama continues to resist the bait.

UPDATE:  It was just a matter of time before the neocons got their wish.

An Twist in a Series of Turns

What to make of this?

Iran’s supreme leader ordered Monday an investigation into allegations of election fraud, marking a stunning turnaround by the country’s most powerful figure and offering hope to opposition forces who have waged street clashes to protest the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.