Freedom's faithful are right now assembling in Tehran to mark the revolution that for three decades ate away at the ever-fewer rights that they had. So this is a protest not only against the regime, but against its seizure of power three decades ago. We had always known that there was an enlightened and democratic cohort in Iran. But, for years, it was silenced and, so, remained silent. Still, the boot on the human face can not last forever. Now we know that this cohort is enormous.
And they are Abbas Milani, Nader Mousavizadeh, a few others, amongst whom there is the controversial but very insightful Michael Ledeen. The conventional wisdom, frankly, is almost never a conclusion drawn from facts, but a conclusion drawn from temperament. I suppose this was the case with Barack Obama, who was sure that the ayatollahs and their president would negotiate on the basis of his sweet reason. Here’s a piece posted by Michael Ledeen on the Web at 8:25 p.m.
I believe that the Iranian regime is trembling, trembling from fear of its own people. Not all of its people, of course. But those whose minds are on the future rather than those whose souls are in the past. That is a history-making majority whether the Basiji beat the crap out of demonstrators or not. Look at this dignified demonstration, a manifestation of courage and of hope. Maybe it has somehow eluded me.
When I took over The New Republic in 1974 one of the first people I recruited--on a trip to Rome, as I recall--was Michael Ledeen, a scholar of Italian fascism. I think it was his doctoral supervisor and my friend, the great German Jewish historian, George Mosse, who suggested that we meet. But it actually was Claire Sterling, the brave journalist of uncomfortable truths, who introduced us. Michael was then working on a book about Gabriele d'Annunzio, the futurist poet, artist, fighter pilot, political theorist and neo-fascist adventurer who led a march on Fiume to keep it in Italian hands. Th
They Knew They Were Right: The Rise of the Neocons By Jacob Heilbrunn (Doubleday, 320 pp., $26) Can I get a show of hands?
Andrew awards Michael Ledeen a "Poseur Alert" for the following bit self-involved flim-flam: Barbara and I went to Indianapolis for a Toby Keith concert, where we partied with something like 25,000 happy rednecks, most of them young, most of them wearing boots and cowboy hats (and cheering Keith's great song "I Should Have Been a Cowboy"). It's a great show, and he's a wonderful performer, not least because of his deeply moving patriotic songs like "American Soldier," "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue," and " The Taliban," etc.
Michael Ledeen is unhappy. He has a "very bad feeling" about Gordon Brown. Well, in many respects so do I, though not, I suspect for the same reasons. Anyway, like his fellow happy warriors at The Corner Mr.
Most political activists can point to one catalyzing event, an episode in each of their lives (or, more often, in the life of their country) that shook them from their complacency and roused them to change the world. You can find many such stories if you troll through the netroots, the online community of liberal bloggers that has quickly become a formidable constituency in Democratic politics. But the episode that seems to come up most often is the Florida recount.