TCS Daily

The Ledeen Doctrine: Iran and the Future of Freedom

By James K. Glassman - October 30, 2001 12:00 AM

NEW YORK, Oct. 30 - On the top of your reading list today should be the piece by my American Enterprise Institute colleague Michael Ledeen on the op-ed page of The Wall Street Journal. The headline: The Answer to Terrorism? Revolution. He points out that, under the radar screen of our pitiful press, huge demonstrations that have involved young people from all walks of life and of both sexes are taking place in Iran against the murderous Shiite theocracy that has oppressed them for the past 22 years.

While our media are concentrating - as the terrorists wish them to - on relatively small demonstrations in Pakistan, the real story is in Tehran, where young men and women are taking to the streets not in support of radical Islam but against it and have been arrested and hospitalized by the religious regime.

Ledeen writes: Tellingly, Islamic radicalism flourishes in corrupt, pro-American countries in the Middle East, but is hated in an anti-American, fundamentalist country like Iran. The Iranian people have been vaccinated against radical Islam; if they succeed in freeing themselves from its evil oppression, they will send a message of hope throughout the region.

He goes on: The lesson to our policy makers could hardly be clearer: The future of freedom lies with the Iranian people, not with the Islamic regime in Tehran, just as it lies with the Syrian, Palestinian and Iraqi people, not their ruling tyrants. Unfortunately, to fight the current war on terror, the State Department is arguing that we should ally ourselves with the ruling mullahs in Iran (not to mention the tyrants in other parts of the Middle East). This is dead wrong. The U.S. should be on the side of democratic revolution.

Imagine what the success of such a revolution would mean in Iran, what a blow it would be the retrograde radicals who want to bring not just the Middle East, but also the rest of the world, back to the Middle Ages. Yes, we should be fighting to overthrow the Taliban and destroy the followers of OBL. That will happen. But, simultaneously, we should be doing all we can to support the freedom fighters in Iran, Iraq and elsewhere.

Ledeen concludes: On Sept. 11 tens of thousands of young Iranians lit candles in the streets to mourn the innocent Americans murdered by Islamic terrorists. The tyrants, meanwhile, show in their panicked behavior and mounting repression that they fully understand their survival is now at risk.

It is time for the U.S. to take the offensive. This is not just a war against terror. It is, as the President said last month, a war on behalf of freedom. Policymakers should read Ledeens piece, see what is happening in Iran, and act on it. A campaign against Middle East theocratic tyrants would inspire the vast majority of Muslims to rise against their oppressors. Lets get on with it.

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