Dana Rohrabacher has been out front in yipping about the need for the President to rhetorically confront Iran, a stupid idea given our history in the region, and the opposite of what actual Iranian dissidents and experts like Shirin Ebadi, Trita Parsi and Akbar Ganji suggest. As OC Progressive notes, he is undermining the protests and demonstrations by giving credence to the complaint of the ruling regime that foreign interests are intervening in their election. By saber-rattling, like in the passage of a resolution in support of the protests and then wielding it as a club to criticize the President for not being belligerent enough, you just play into the hands of the regime. And Rohrabacher and his colleagues never had this kind of commitment to human rights when it involved the systematic, needless torture of detainees at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib. In fact, Rohrabacher called those cruel, inhumane and degrading tactics fraternity hazing pranks – when Dick Cheney orders them. When the Iranians or North Koreans order them, it’s a whole different ballgame.
But I have to step back and admire – and kind of marvel – at Rohrabacher’s comments yesterday about the Uighurs, a group of 18 Muslims held at Guantanamo for seven years without charges, despite having been proven to commit no acts of terrorism or crimes of any kind. Several were released to Bermuda this week, amidst clamoring by many conservatives, in particular Newt Gingrich. But Rohrabacher smacked the former House Speaker down pretty hard on this point, decrying him for raising needless fears. It’s idiosyncratic, of course, because it’s Rohrabacher, and it mostly constitutes a conspiracy theory about the Chinese government. But embedded in the madness are some true statements about Republican fearmongering and overhyping of threats.
ROHRABACHER: And also, right off the bat, I’d like to express my deep appreciation to the leader in Bermuda – it’s Premier Brown – for his courage to do what is morally right in this situation. He’s demonstrated, I think, the best of democracy. That’s what leadership is all about: being willing to take such tough stands. I’m sorry that our own leadership here at home, and even in my own party, seems lacking at this moment. […]
Much to my dismay, some pundits in the Republican party have fallen for this bait and are lumping the Uighurs in with Islamic extremists. The Bush administration did not help matters. It held Uighurs in Guantanamo as terrorists, and they did this, I believe, to appease the Chinese government in a pathetic attempt to gain its support at the beginning of the war against Iraq, and also to ensure China’s continued purchase of U.S. treasuries. Many, if not all, the negative allegations against the Uighurs, can be traced by to Communist Chinese intelligence, whose purpose is to snuff out a legitimate independence movement that challenges the Communist party bosses in Beijing.
No patriot, especially no Republican who considers themselves a Reagan Republican, should fall for this manipulation, which has us do the bidding of a dictatorship in Beijing.
In the hall of shame, of course, is our former speaker, Newt Gingrich. His positioning on this should be of no surprise – and is of no surprise – to those of who, during Newt’s leadership, were dismayed by his active support for Clinton-era trade policies with Communist China.
Would that Rohrabacher would listen to his own words when saber-rattling against Iran. That moment of clarity – all right, about 1/3 of a moment – ought to be repeated.