The Daily Show with John Stewart is one of the best sources from satire and criticism of the American political/media establishment, but it is often lacking in its occasional attempts to offer civics lessons to its viewers.
Monday’s show offered a surprising change in that pattern as it dealt with the current situation in Iran. In the opening segment, critiquing the government/media calls for the Obama administration to “say something” backing the protesters, Stewart makes the observation that, of course, the protests were, “All about us.” And, in a hilarious serious of interviews by Jason Jones, from Iran, with Iranian critics of the country’s revolutionary regime the common theme presented was of being critical of both the Iranian regime and U.S. policy toward it.
The other segments can be seen here.
At the end of the second segment Stewart welcomes the son of Ebrahim Yazdi, one of the interviewees, who was recently arrested by the Iranian regime. He offers advice echoing that of Justin Raimondo, Matt Barganier, and Alan Bock from yesterday’s Antiwar.com, as well as that of Iran expert Trita Parsi, Iranian human rights lawyer and Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi, and many others.
Yazdi’s son agrees that the U.S. government backing the protesters will only add credence to the Iranian regime’s claim that the protests are being orchestrated by the U.S., Great Britain, and France. He believes that American civil society should take the lead in writing letters to the Iranian government and showing support for those demonstrating their dissent and fighting for the democratic rights. There are millions in America sympathetic to the plight of reformers in Iran and those feeling the wrath of the Iranian regime’s security forces, and, if they so chose, those people should exercise any means they feel necessary to back the people of Iran. Those means, though, can and should be undertaken absent the government coercion that so many call upon President Obama to deliver.
For his part, President Obama has shown admirable restraint in the face of calls from the likes of Paul Wolfowitz, John McCain, Lindsay Graham, and The Weekly Standard to deliver strong American support for the protestors, thus painting them as puppets of American imperialsim — in the same vein as those protesters paid by the CIA during the coup against Iran’s elected prime minister, Mohammed Mossadegh, in 1953.
Given this history, and the fact that those who are advocating American “action” of some kind are the same people who so confidently asserted that U.S. troops would be greeted as liberators in Iraq, there is a strong possibility that U.S. government support for the protesters will backfire and lead to a situation along the lines of the 1956 Hungarian uprising where Soviet troops were sent in to put down those seen merely as American puppets. Supporting those wishing to exercise their rights is a good thing and those who believe in freedom have every right to support those seeking the same in any country, but the U.S. government’s authority, limited as it should be, is confined to one country, and it should refrain from becoming involved in the internal affairs of others.Published in