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Appalled and outraged … at last

Posted by Richard on June 23, 2009

More than a week after every major European leader (aren't we supposed to take our cues from the Europeans?), President Obama has finally strongly condemned the brutal repression of dissent in Iran. He's ten days late, but better late than never:

After days of criticism from Republicans, Mr. Obama opened a White House news conference saying he was "appalled and outraged" by the threats and confrontations in the streets of the Iranian capital. He declined to confirm whether a U.S. offer of direct talks with Iran will still stand, instead saying he would wait to see how the postelection crisis there "plays itself out."

"In 2009, no iron fist is strong enough to shut off the world from bearing witness to the peaceful pursuit of justice," Mr. Obama said. "The United States and the international community have been appalled and outraged by the threats, the beatings and imprisonments of the last few days. I strongly condemn these unjust actions, and I join with the American people in mourning each and every innocent life that is lost."

Very good, Mr. President. Very good indeed. Now why was that so difficult? 

It wasn't as forceful as Reagan's support of the Solidarity movement in 1981, but it's a start. Now if only the Iranian people had a Lech Walesa to lead them instead of that mullah-approved sorry excuse for a "reform candidate," Mousavi.

UPDATE: The Spirit of Man and Foundation for Democracy in Iran (June 23, Update 1) had very different reactions than mine. I wasn't aware that Iranian diplomats had been invited to an Independence Day barbecue at the White House and that the invitation still stands. Now I'm appalled. I take back my mild praise — it appears to be undeserved.

UPDATE 2 (6/24): The Independence Day invitation wasn't to a White House event, but to numerous July 4th events at American embassies and consulates around the world. Apparently faced with growing outrage and disbelief, the White House has finally rescinded the invitation. It wasn't exactly an act of great moral courage, since exactly zero Iranian diplomats had accepted the invitation. 

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