"There is no nuance, no logical approach, no deft explanation that covers near silence and inadequate, tepid condemnation of the meekest sort," Steve Schippert captioned this unspeakable image (Unscreened version — sickening — here) of a young victim of "Iran's Tiananmen Square." For the American president "to decline any mention of possible repercussions on the regime for these acts 'because we don't know how this is going to turn out' is moral cowardice of the highest order."
"He's behaving as though he's the leader of a small, neutral nation instead of Leader of the Free World," Nile Gardiner of Heritage Foundation told Martha MacCallum of Fox News as "Prez condemns violence in Iran but takes 'Wait and See' approach" bannered across the bottom of the screen yesterday.
"It is the moral equivalence game from the Cold War all over again," writes Lorne Gunter in Canada's National Post, recalling the electrifying effect of President Reagan's "Evil Empire" speech on Soviet dissidents like Natan Sharansky:
Speaking to the National Association of Evangelicals in 1983, president Reagan urged delegates against taking a moral equivalence stance on nuclear proliferation. When voting later in their convention on whether to support a freeze in the nuclear arms race, it would be too easy, Mr. Reagan said, to "label both sides equally at fault." That would "ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire."
Poo-poohed by "the usual suspects — academics, European leaders, special-interest cause pleaders, foreign policy experts, journalists and other assorted appeasers" — Reagan's declaration "before the entire world," in Sharansky's words, that the Soviet Union was "a totalitarian regime" had "made it impossible," explains Gunter, "for other world leaders, and Soviet leaders themselves, to maintain the facade that Russia and its satellites were as righteous as the West":
"It was one of the most important, freedom-affirming declarations," according to Mr. Sharansky, "and we all instantly knew it. For us, that was the moment that really marked … the end of Lenin's 'Great October Bolshevik Revolution' and the beginning of a new revolution, a freedom revolution" …
"A president's strong words would be for the Natan Sharanskys of Iran, not the mad mullahs who run the country," Gunter chides the current president's "Weeny diplomacy," Fausta's delicious formulation.
John Shireman's crumpled-paper evocation of violence (above right) called to mind this crumpled wax-paper-on-pie-dough image from our October 2007 post "There are very few who can think, but every man wants to have an opinion," where we quoted John Tierney: "The notion that fatty foods shorten your life began as a hypothesis based on dubious assumptions and data; when scientists tried to confirm it they failed repeatedly … It may seem bizarre that a surgeon general could go so wrong. After all, wasn’t it his job to express the scientific consensus? But that was the problem. Dr. Koop was expressing the consensus … He was caught in what social scientists call a cascade" of sheeplike belief formation that causes flat-earthers to crowd the cultural ether in every era.
"And his miracles, and his acts, which he did in the midst of Egypt unto Pharaoh the king of Egypt, and unto all his land …"
— Deuteronomy 11: (King James Version)
"Last week on Meet the Press, Chuck Todd reported that administration officials were 'frustrated that they're not getting credit for what's going on in Iran … they think that Cairo speech did help supporters of Mousavi sort of see light at the end of the tunnel in their country,'" writes Mary Katharine Ham, pulling back the curtain on the sausage-making process as the dithering diplomat who is President of the United States — with a 24/7 assist from Mythmaker-in-Chief Rahm Emanuel — gets away once more with having it both ways:
Today, speaking to a group of Washington reporters at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel reinforced that argument by declaring that Obama's speech in Cairo "will go down as one of the most significant foreign policy speeches."
"It was equal to what Kennedy's speech was, what Reagan's speech was," he said. "I think he did 20 years worth of work … for advancing America's interests … We are no longer the issue in that region of the world."
Once more with[out] feeling, in the President's own words:
We knew Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan was a friend of ours. President Obama, you are no Ronald Reagan.
This just in: President Ahmandinejad is accusing Obama of interfering in Iran and demanding an apology for saying he is "appalled and outraged" by the recent violence there.
Update: Maggie's links with a question: "When did the US renounce 'Leadership of the Free world'?"