The inflamed passions of the Iranian people — rising up in rebellious protests against the repressive Mullahcracy that has ruled their country with an iron boot — can be laid at the feet of just one man.
Former President George W Bush.
Eight short years ago Afghanistan stood as a lawless frontier on Iran’s eastern border — a failed state of anarchy in which criminal bands of Taliban preyed upon the people while they plotted world terrorism.
Iraq, a nation with which Iran had waged a long and costly war, stood upon its western border — the madman Saddam Hussein training terrorists from a wide number of nations, while pursuing ever more destructive weapons with which to wage terror on his neighbors.
Meanwhile, the Iranian people, among the most Westernized and educated in the entire Muslim world, found themselves ground beneath the heavy tread of a Theocracy of extreme hatred and repression.
What a difference eight years make — all because of the perseverance and resolve of one man, President George W Bush, to do what he perceived as right.
Despite repeated criticism from the left that Afghanistan was a quagmire that had blunted the ambitions of the greatest armies of their day — the British Army of the 19th Century and the Russian Army of the 20th — President Bush made critical alliances with rebel forces within the country, routed the Taliban and sent Osama bin Laden into desperate hiding in a cave somewhere in the mountains of Pakistan.
While the victory over oppression is not yet complete, a fledgling democracy — a democracy unlike anything we have ever seen in this nation, but a democracy just the same — has taken root in Kabul. Rights for women, unheard of under the Taliban, have come to the troubled nation, and freedom — while still a tenuous flower — is blossoming like a field of poppies in the sparse land.
To the west, again despite cries in this country of quagmire — bumperstickers proclaiming an end to “Endless War” and “Bush Lied and People Died” — another democracy — again unlike anything this nation has observed — has begun to flourish in the nation of Iraq.
The wise pundits who proclaimed that Iraqi Shia, Sunni and Kurds could never reconcile into a real government, have been proven wrong by Iraqi Shia, Sunni and Kurds. Proclamations of defeat — some from within weeks after the initial invasion — have been proven, in the words of Mark Twain, “Greatly exaggerated.”
While a lessor man might have been dissuaded — might have faltered upon the alter of his own doubt — President Bush held the course, and we have seen, in recent months, the emergence of an Iraqi nation divided no more.
These lessons have not been lost on the Iranian people. They have witnessed tyrants deposed and democracies spring up — the first such institutions in the region [with the exception of Israel — of which they will always make an exception].
They have also seen the Bush Administration allocate government resources and money to aid — albeit poorly — the pro-democracy movement in their nation. They have seen an increase in funding for Persian language broadcasting services at Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. [Those allocations have been cut, by the way, from the 2010 Obama Administration budget]
The Iranian people can see that contrary to the experts, democracy can flourish in the Mideast, and they would like to be a part of it. For all of their naivete — allow us to blame former President Bush.
Without his insistence on the pursuit of freedom in Afghanistan and Iraq, the people of Iran would still be surrounded by tyrants every bit as deranged and evil as the leadership of their own nation. Without President Bush, the Iranian people would have no reason to believe that freedom is not only attainable, but within arms reach. Without President Bush, the Iranian people would have nothing other than thugocracies with which to compare their own government and their own lives.
And so, if at the end of this season of discontent, we find democracy emerging — either through peaceful means or violent revolution — we know who to blame.
Blame it on Bush!