Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Face of Evil’s Public Relations’ Agents

By Barry Rubin

In our time, the greatest evils are the viciously dictatorial regimes which preach an ideology of hate, and even genocide, destroy millions of lives, and sponsor terrorism. Iran, Syria, and the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein are examples.

What can one say of their collaborators in the West, who not only justify such actions but gain great material benefit and even are honored for having done so?

Consider Flynt Leverett, former CIA and NSC (fired from there) official. Perpetrator of the phony story about an alleged Iranian peace approach to the United States (it was the creation of the Swiss ambassador to Iran without input from Tehran’s regime). Subject of a fawning personal profile in a leading newspaper recently.

Here is Leverett on “All Things Considered,” June 13:

“Flynt Leverett, a senior fellow at the New American Foundation, says he believes this is a real victory for Ahmadinejad. `I think he's won big,’ Leverett says. `It's going to be interesting to see if Mousavi really persists in his line about election irregularities. You can't explain a margin this big with the kind of irregularities he's citing.’"

“Leverett says Iran watchers in the West were indulging in `an extraordinary amount of wishful thinking’ about the chances for a pro-reform vote. He says Western media didn't pick up on the fact that Ahmadinejad was perceived to be `a very clear winner’ by the public in closely watched debates with Mousavi and other rivals.”

Imagine the perfidy. The results of the Iranian election were announced before the polls closed. The numbers never changed. Two candidates, who did have some real following, were said to have received almost no votes.

But Leverett presents this not as a stolen election but as a bunch of sore losers whining about their inevitable defeat.

What is especially humorous here—in a horrible sort of way—is that the extent of the theft is used as proof of its validity. “You can’t explain a margin this big with the kind of irregularities” Mousavi is citing.

Hey, right! It wasn’t minor vote tampering. It was wholesale fabrication.

At least Roger Cohen, who has set himself up as the Iranian regime's apologist at the New York Times, was a little contrite. Cohen fell for the old tactic of combined "love-bombing" (adulation and false information) that the USSR used to use to persuade visitors that it was a worker's paradise and wonderful democracy.

Cohen wrote:

"I’ve argued for engagement with Iran and I still believe in it, although, in the name of the millions defrauded, President Obama’s outreach must now await a decent interval."

In other words, Obama should presumably do nothing for a while, then engage with Iran. How a "decent interval" would solve anything is not clear.

He adds:

"I’ve also argued that, although repressive, the Islamic Republic offers significant margins of freedom by regional standards. I erred in underestimating the brutality and cynicism of a regime that understands the uses of ruthlessness."

Granted. But what is the meaning of that ruthlessness in international affairs? What does that ruthlessness tell us about its ideology, goals, and methods?

Here is the BBC:

"But it certainly is not in the outside world's interest to have a long period of disorder in Iran. Political chaos in a leading oil-producing country would do more economic damage to Western countries.

"They will surely prefer President Ahmadinejad, with his reputation tarnished, to that."

When the history of this era is written, we should remember the apologists for terrorism and horrendous repression.

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