Saturday, June 20, 2009

For Civilization

In her WSJ column this week on Iran Peggy Noonan--in her typical fashion--is all over the map and throws a lot out there. Much of it misses the mark, but when it comes to what the U.S. should do now, I think she's on target:

What now? Americans, and the West, should be who they are, friends of freedom. Iranians on the street made sure they got their Twitter reports and videos here. They trust us to spread the word through our technology. A lot of the signs they held were in English. They trust us to be for change and to advance their cause, and they're right to trust us.

Should there at this point, more than a week into the story, be a formal declaration of support from the U.S. government? Certainly it's time for an indignant statement on the abuses, including killings and beatings, perpetrated by the government and against the opposition. It's never wrong to be on the side of civilization. Beyond that, what would be efficacious? It must be asked if a formal statement of support for the rebels would help them. And they'd have a better sense of it than we.

If the American president, for reasons of prudence, does not make a public statement of the government's stand, he could certainly refer, as if it is an obvious fact because it is an obvious fact, to whom the American people are for. And that is the protesters on the street. If he were particularly striking in his comments about how Americans cannot help but love their brothers and sisters who stand for greater freedom and democracy in the world, all the better. The American people, after all, are not their government. Our sentiments are not controlled by the government, and this may be a timely moment to point that out, and remind the young of Iran, who are the future of Iran, that Americans are a future-siding people.

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