Freedom and Tyranny

by DR. MICHAEL LEDEEN February 20, 2012

I’m sure Mark Levin would agree that it’s no accident. This president, who so vigorously asserts and imposes state power against Americans, is much more comfortable supporting dissident movements against American friends than against American enemies.

At a certain point, after unconscionable dithering, he announced that Qadaffi must go, and he ordered our armed forces to help that happen. Qadaffi wasn’t killing Americans.

Now he has his feckless secretary of state announce that, while Assad must also go, we will not support–not even from way behind–those fighting against Bashar Assad, who has killed lots of Americans. With one caveat: if Assad says it’s ok, then we might do it. (Really)

Try that again, just to make sure it’s clear: Assad kills Americans, but we won’t lift an armed finger to bring him down. Qadaffi wasn’t killing Americans and our air power destroyed him.

And then there’s central issue, which we all know: Khamenei kills Americans all the time, as has his regime for 33 years, but when the Iranian people rise up against him, the American president assures Khamenei that we still want to make a deal with him.

Remember that this president is presenting himself as a tough guy, because he killed bin Laden, smashed al-Qaeda, and toppled Qadaffi. Actually the defeat of AQ in Iraq was Bush’s fault, but no matter. The important point is that this president isn’t interested in bringing American power to bear on the state sponsors of the terrorists who kill our guys. Obama kills terrorists, the tail of the snake. He doesn’t go for the head, or rather the heads, which feed in Damascus and Tehran.

The whole macabre Kabuki dance around Assad is shameful. Humiliating. Embarrassing. Poor General Dempsey actually confessed to the Senate that we don’t really know all that much about the Syrian opposition. (Can you spell “intelligence failure”?) But then he turned around and said:

The Free Syrian Army, which is, generally speaking, the centerpiece of the opposition, is for the most part domestic, although we also know that other regional actors are providing support. That complicates the situation…

As if we had a clear picture of the makeup of the anti-Qadaffi forces, or, for that matter, of the forces driving the crowds in Tahrir Square, Cairo, the masses who acted in Springtime for Arabia, the failed musical to which so many sang and danced just a few yesterdays ago.

Actually, the “complication” stemming from our lack of full understanding is not a complication, but rather a bit of political misdirection. The one group of dissidents about whom we should have quite a clear picture is the Iranian Green Movement. They want an end to the Islamic Republic. They want an end to Iranian sponsorship of terrorists. They want to reenter the Western world.

This president doesn’t talk about that. He is obsessed with nukes, as if Iran would only be a real threat to us if the mullahs had atomic warheads. Let him come with us to Bethesda Naval Hospital some day, and we’ll introduce him to some wounded warriors who can tell him how evil, how menacing, and how lethal the Islamic Republic is right here and now. Even though it’s nukeless.

Doesn’t logic just grab you by the throat and make you say that Obama consistently acts as if he wants greater tyranny over Americans, both at home and abroad?

If not, how do you explain it? Contributor Dr. Michael Ledeen is the Freedom Scholar at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He is also a contributing editor at PJ Media and at National Review Online.

Dr. Michael Ledeen is the Freedom Scholar at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He is also a contributing editor at National Review Online. Previously, he served as a consultant to the National Security Council, the State Department, and the Defense Department.  He has also served as a special adviser to the Secretary of State. He holds a Ph.D. in modern European history and philosophy from the University of Wisconsin, and has taught at Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Rome.

He is author of more than 20 books, the most recent include: Accomplice ot Evil: Iran and the War Against the West; The War Against the Terror Masters;  The Iranian Time Bomb; Machiavelli on Modern Leadership: Why Machiavelli's Iron Rules Are As Timely and Important Today As Five Centuries Ago, Tocqueville on American Character: Why Tocqueville's Brilliant Exploration of the American Spirit Is As Vital and Important Today As It Was Nearly Two Hundred Years Ago; and, Freedom Betrayed: How America Led a Global Democratic Revolution, Won the Cold War, and Walked Away

Dr. Ledeen regularly appears on Fox News, and on a variety of radio talk shows.  He has been on PBS's NewsHour and CNN's Larry King Live, among others, and regularly contributes to the Wall Street Journal and to National Review Online. He has a blog on

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