Back in those pre-9/11 days when I identified as a liberal, the one thing I was sure drew all my then cohort together was opposition to fascism, whether secular or religious.
Boy, was I wrong — and never was that more clear than in June 2009 when the Green Movement demonstrators were marching through the streets of Tehran and other Iranian cities, demanding freedom from the mullahs.
The whole world was watching, as we used to say in the sixties, only their cause was purer than ours was then. The horrifying theocrats who ran the “Islamic Republic” regularly raped women in prison before they killed them, hanged homosexuals in the streets and tortured just about everyone else who didn’t comply with the edicts of their Islamofascist regime.
The students and others marching in the streets to overthrow these tyrants desperately wanted America’s help, specifically the support of our “oh-so-liberal-progressive” president. They shouted, “Obama, Obama, are you with us or are you with them?”
Obama was silent.
I can’t think of a moment I was more disgusted by the acts (inaction actually) of an American president. What did he stand for? What did we stand for?
Well, who knows? What we do know is he wanted to deal with Iran his way — whether to get the glory for himself or for other even less attractive reasons we will never know. He was secretly communicating with Ahmadinejad and Khamenei even before he took office, hinting at accommodation.
He wanted an Iran deal and he got it, the Iranian people and the U.S. Constitution be damned. (I have met several of the student demonstrators from that period who spent years being tortured in Tehran’s Evin Prison. Their faces resembled Picassos of the Cubist Period. They were the lucky ones. Their brothers and sisters just disappeared.)
Obama was silent for those students and millions of other decent Iranians. He wanted his deal so much that, as we know, he sent still more millions to the mullahs in cash, so they could use those dollars in any untraceable manner they wished — such as funding Hezbollah and the Houthis in Yemen.
And speaking of Hezbollah, we all know now, due to reporting about Project Cassandra by Josh Meyer at Politico, that Obama was so determined to make his creepy deal that he acceded to the mullahs’ demand to pull the FBI and DEA off a detailed investigation of the Hezbollah thugs’ extensive involvement in the U.S. drug trade. Are we sick yet?
Now, it is being widely reported, the demonstrators are back in the streets of various cities in Iran. We don’t know the extent of the protests or where they are going. I’m a bit skeptical. The time was probably more ripe in 2009, but we can be hopeful.
What we do know is that these demonstrators are complaining that money garnered from the Iran nuclear deal is not going to them, the Iranian people, to make their lives better, as promised, but to carry out the mullahs’ murderous military adventures across the Middle East.
Was anything ever more predictable?
What we also know is that the Donald J. Trump administration has taken the exact opposite approach from the Obama administration to events in Iran. They are unqualifiedly — and immediately — supporting the demonstrators and democracy. Bravo!
Iran is playing with fire – they don't appreciate how "kind" President Obama was to them. Not me!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 3, 2017
To repeat: As President Trump has said, “The longest suffering victims of Iran’s leaders are Iran’s own people.”
When somebody asks me — as they have on occasion — why I am not a liberal anymore, I now have a simple answer: What’s that?
Note: For ongoing updates on Iran, I recommend the Islamic State of Iran Crime Research Center, and the Twitter feed of the extraordinary Omri Ceren.