Fiddling as Tehran burns.

Charles Krauthammer, a man who is apparently constitutionally incapable of suffering fools at all (and never mind ‘gladly’), waxed wroth on the implication that the President’s response to the ongoing Iranian crisis was in any way similar to Pope John Paul II’s response to the Solidarity strikers:

The president is also speaking in code. The Pope spoke in a code which was implicit and understood support for the forces of freedom.

The code the administration is using is implicit to support for this repressive, tyrannical regime.

We watched Gibbs say that what’s going on is vigorous debate. The shooting of eight demonstrators is not debate. The knocking of heads, bloodying of demonstrators by the Revolutionary Guards is not debate. The arbitrary arrest of journalists, political opposition, and students is not debate.

And to call it a debate and to use this neutral and denatured language is disgraceful.

Yes. It is.  And if it’s also a surprise, then you haven’t been paying attention to the last six months’ worth of current events. This administration… does not risk its reputation.  It particularly does not risk its reputation on something like the Iranian crisis, which is currently precisely the sort of confused mess that would make any cautious person blanch and hesitate to become involved in.  We have a mass of young, angry people coalescing around a symbol that few in the West want to really look at too closely; and opposing them are aging revolutionaries from a revolution that wasn’t really all that nice to begin with.  It could end very badly.  It probably will, in fact: these things usually do.  In other words, there is no safe answer… which is frightening to any entity as dull and prosaic as this administration actually is.

When it comes down to it, I pity the President right now: he doesn’t have the right personal mindset to handle this mess.  His predecessor the idealist would have picked an answer consistent with his personal moral code and regulated his actions accordingly; and his predecessor’s predecessor the cynic would have at least done something useful.  Instead, we’re going to get detachment.  And no matter what the result is, we will be told that it was for the best, in this best of all possible worlds.

Personally, I won’t need it to sleep at night – I voted for the other guy – but I suppose that some people out there are going to really want that sop to their conscience.

Moe Lane

Crossposted to Moe Lane.