July 09, 2004

18 Tir

Today is the fifth anniversary of the July 9 Iranian student demonstrations. 18th of Tir : Anniversary of July 9, 1999. (Although in the Iranian calendar it actually happened yesterday).


I glad that Bush made a strong statement to commemorate this day and support the student movement. I've heard it said that he is the first head-of-state to mark the event, and if so, I'm proud that he did. (So far, Kerry seems to have not made any reference – if I'm wrong, please let me know).

Pejman Yousefzadeh has several links, including to the BBC retrospective and news from yesterday's protests in Iran.

Andrew Sullivan has more.

As does the Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran.

Posted by richard at July 9, 2004 12:00 PM

Laying it on a bit thick here, Rich. I'm proud of Bush. Kerry is silent. So Bush says there should be freedom in Iran in a speech in Turkey, but Kerry was silent . . .

This is the kind of reporting we've been speaking out against. You don't compare their thoughts on Iran or provide some comprehensive reivew of their foreign policies - only make it clear to the world through your summary that Bush is for freedom and Kerry doesn't care.

Come on.

Posted by: Mike F. at July 10, 2004 01:59 AM

Okay. But I am proud of Bush for speaking out. And I do wish Kerry had – if you have seen a statement from him, let me know. Sorry that those sentiments offend you.

While we're on it, though, Kerry doesn't have a great record on Iran – he has called for more engagement and a softer approach to the Mullahs – but I didn't have time to go into that except to note his absence of support for the anniversary. Could taking money from Hassan Nemazee have something to do with it?

He seems to be suing the Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran.

National Review quotes him as wanting to "explore areas of mutual interest with Iran, just as I was prepared to normalize relations with Vietnam."

That sounds less supportive of the democratic movement than I'd like.

Posted by: richard at July 10, 2004 01:29 PM

What's great about George Dubya Bush is how engaged he was with foreign affairs even before he was President, back when he was Governor of Texas. When students protested in Iran on 18 Tir, 1999, George took due note of the situation and said, "Let me write that down on my calendar, so that I can commemorate it in subsequent years."

In fact, it's a little known fact about George Bush that he's always been a foreign policy buff, even back before he had a gigantic diplomatic apparatus and fully-stocked Department of State to back him up. He was always bursting with ideas, and when he said, prior to his election to office, that he was against nation-building, God bless him, what he really meant was that he was for nation-building.

And not only did Bush, the nation's foremost repository of international intelligence and foreign policy analysis, offer on-the-money assessments of the geopoliticus, he always had a coherent and unimpeachable plan to implement, and since he took office, he has adhered to that vision.

George Bush is, simply put, a genius. And thank God for it. Because if we can't stand a man in front of a microphone to make pointed but ultimately unavailing commemorations of the anniversaries of failed reform protests, we don't deserve to be the hyperpower.

Posted by: Brad A. at July 10, 2004 04:44 PM

Oh, and word is Bush will be throwing a surprise birthday party for Ahmed Chalabi later in the year. Watch for it!

Posted by: Brad A. at July 10, 2004 04:47 PM

Hmmm.... don't recall ever calling Bush a genius. Or claiming he had a ton of foreign policy experience (or expertise) before he was elected. In fact, he didn't, so he put together a team that did (Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell, Rice)... remember?

One of the things about Bush, though, is that he changed his mind, and his tactics, when September 11 proved that the world had changed. Others aren't willing to do that and want, through wishful thinking, to return to an easier time when we kick the terrorism can down the road a few years because it's only 200 Africans here, 17 sailors here, 10 Americans there.

Bush's policy is now (wasn't in the 2000 campaign) one of democracy promotion, and it's one that I believe in morally and pragmatically – so yes, I'm happy that he's sticking to his guns and making strong statements.

Kerry (whose Vietnam experience and years in the Senate are supposed to give him actual foreign policy credentials) should at least say something about this important day. The fact that he doesn't opens him up to the kind of criticism that he's been getting – that he is, and would be, too soft on the ruling Mullahs (not to mention the North Koreans).

Posted by: richard at July 10, 2004 06:22 PM

Somebody should have taken Bush's lectern away after the Tir 18 speech, because he spent the weekend touting the anti-gay marriage amendment. And yes, I could have added a hyphen between "gay" and "marriage" in the prior sentence, but I wanted to be crystal-clear on what I think this amendment is really about.

Does Kerry get points here for not taking a similar position? Sometimes silence can be golden, particularly when the guy talking is a religious bigot — or at least, to be as charitable as is possible here, grandstanding on their behalf.

Posted by: Brad A. at July 12, 2004 12:13 PM

Yes, Kerry definitely gets points in my book for not supporting the FMA.

Posted by: richard at July 18, 2004 12:19 PM