"It's a fine line to walk. We don't want to appear to be meddling."
That Caspar Milquetoast refrain was uttered and re-uttered by the Obama Administration this weekend as Iranian's who are desperate for freedom and willing to put their lives on the line for it, are dying in the streets in Tehran.
While protest leaders are defying authority and begging President Barack Obama to actually support their cause rather than to simply acknowledge it, he first remained silent and then gave such a bland response that I can't even tell you what it means. "Govern through consent, not coercion," was our Chosen One's primary message to Iranian authorities.
What? Explain that will you Mr. President.
Meanwhile the Iranian secret police and plainclothes "militia" known as the Basij (sounds like Ba Siege) are shooting, stabbing, beating, and torturing Iranians. (Real torture, not candy-assed water boarding or making people 'uncomfortable'.)
They are flying over in helicopters and dousing demonstrators with caustic fluids, killing people right on the streets in broad daylight, and dragging others off, presumably to torture chambers from which it is unlikely that that they will ever emerge.
What the hell is wrong with America? We, who are supposedly the beacon of hope and freedom throughout the world are too timid to say who we are and why we have principles and beliefs? This is our government? These people are our spokesmen?
Not mine they aren't!
The Supreme Leader in Iran, whose name is never supposed to be spoken, demanded that everyone shut up and go home after people began protesting last week's bogus election. It was bogus from day one, in that the Supreme Leader (doesn't that remind you of Boris and Natasha's Fearless Leader in the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon?) decided who would be on the ballot.
Guess who wouldn't be? That's right. Anyone who would upset the status quo. (The whole scenario is eerily like the elections in the US last year.)
Nonetheless, after the government was blatant in deciding who would win, the people rose up and took to the streets. Whereupon Supreme Leader issued the shut up and go home - or else - directive. In response, young Iranians are chanting "Death" in his name! In a police state that takes guts!
The death toll is in the dozens, the injuries in the hundreds and Tehran is now experiencing its own Tiananmen Square where Chinese Communists, who have been very supportive of the Iranian police state, shot and killed similar pro-democracy demonstrators in 1989.
Back then despite the Chinese government shutting down outside news sources, reports claimed that 2,500 people were dead and 7,000 - 10,000 people were wounded when the Chinese tanks rolled in to shut the protests down. The violent suppression of the Tiananmen Square protest caused widespread international condemnation of the communist Chinese government.
Big Deal. What the hell is international condemnation? In what way has the Chinese government suffered from INTERNATIONAL CONDEMNATION? It hasn't. China owns more of the United States today than just about anyone else, and every country in the world kisses its ass.
Unfortunately, without a major shift in tactics the protesters in Iran will suffer the same fate as their Chinese brethren, for the same reason - the government has the guns, the people do not.
Repressive governments hate an armed populace. In Iran the populace has long been disarmed and those who are courageously taking to the streets are paying for it. They are throwing rocks, which makes for good television, but won't produce lasting results.
If this is revolution there are several direct actions that must be taken. First, the fighters must deploy as a guerrilla army, not as roving, disjointed bands of dissatisfied youth. They must unite, with a common goal and purpose.
They must win and maintain the support of the general population. They must arm themselves if they are going to have any chance whatsoever of defeating the secret police and basij.
Reports over the weekend said 250,000 demonstrators had gathered at one point in Tehran, but that the authorities had fielded a half-million secret police and militia members, or roughly two for each protester.
If the pro-democracy forces want to gain parity on the battlefield, then they each must have be armed, and they each need at least three bullets - two of which they must use against the government forces. Each must shoot two secret police or militia members and each must be prepared to die to accomplish this.
I am not advocating the death of municipal or local police forces who may well sympathize with the demonstrators. But I am saying that if this movement has any chance of going beyond street protests to an organized resistance capable of overthrowing a repressive regime, it must be armed, it must wage war, and its initial objective should be the elimination of the secret police and militias.
Why three bullets? Because many will be killed, many more will be wounded and among that number many will be captured, either while fighting or dragged out of their homes in the dark of night. It will happen. Count on it. When it does, those who hold out hope for survival will be tortured to a degree and with a methodology that goes far, far beyond what has been seen thus far on the streets.
The captured will tell all they know; they will reveal names, tactics, locations, everything. This is not a slap at their character, this is simply acknowledgement of the effectiveness of the tactics that will be used against them. The level of pain they will experience is beyond the ability of most people to even comprehend and in the end, when they are of no more value, they will die.
Under such circumstances, it is far better to keep one bullet for yourself.
Nonetheless, if the Iranian demonstrators can organize into an effective guerrilla army, their next job will be to gain the support of the Iranian armed forces. It is reasonable to expect that there are disaffected members of the military. The armed forces are a composite of the country, and most of the real whackos are already in the secret police and the basij.
No grassroots, groundswell, guerrilla movement can dominate without weapons, support of the populace, and the eventual support - or deterioration - of the conventional forces.
But first, the people on the streets need firearms. They need to organize and become effective.
Most of all they need to understand one basic fact about America's government. It no more represents the American people than the Supreme Leader represents the average Iranian.
The American government will sit on the fence, because it is peopled by wishy-washy, egotistical, self-absorbed invertebrates who will not declare their intentions until they know for a fact that they won't be on the losing side. The American government is useless.
But the American people are with the demonstrators. Count on support from America's populace, but don't count on the government. All you have to do is look at what the US Congress did to the South Vietnamese through the Case-Church Resolution in 1973. Millions died as a result.
Tap into support from the people, and keep a wary eye on the American government. If the protesters take these actions there is hope for success. But if the demonstrators stay scattered and chaotic, they will go the way of the protesters in China two decades ago and the Iranian government will do what the Chinese communists did.
Thousands disappeared, their supporters and sympathizers went with them, the ruling party was purged, and in the end, nothing changed. Change will take hard thinking and hard fighting.
It will be difficult, seemingly impossible at times, but it is within reach, if those who chant for change and chant for democracy, are willing to take the risks to obtain it.
Sunday, June 21, 2009