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June 15, 2009

Unmasking of Iranian Regime Leaves Roger Cohen Exposed

Roger Cohen.jpg
Roger Cohen

What a difference five days can make.

Just a few days before Iran's presidential election descended into chaos, New York Times columnist Roger Cohen, waxed poetically about a "green revolution" in that country. In his June 10, 2009 column, Cohen wrote:

Iran, its internal fissures exposed as never before, is teetering again on the brink of change. For months now, I've been urging another look at Iran, beyond dangerous demonization of it as a totalitarian state. Seldom has the country looked less like one than in these giddy June days.

I wandered in a sea of green ribbons, hats, banners and bandannas to a rally at which Ahmadinejad was mocked as a "midget" and [Mir Hussein] Moussavi's wife, Zahra Rahnavard, sporting a floral hijab that taunted grey-black officialdom, warned the president that: "If there is vote rigging, Iran will rise up."

Cohen can invoke the quote from Zahra Rahnavard as a bit of prescient reportage, but his writing over the past few months has not prepared his readers for the conflict currently coming out of Iran. Cohen has encouraged his readers to look at the robust debate amongst the Iranian people while at the same time overlooking the evils of the regime that governs them. "The problem with Iran caricatures, like Benjamin Netanyahu's absurd recent description of the regime as a "messianic, apocalyptic cult," is that reality -- not least his campaign's -- defies them."

Five days later, Roger Cohen is singing another tune, telling his readers that he made a mistake, writing "I erred in underestimating the brutality and cynicism of a regime that understands the uses of ruthlessness."

The facts coming out of Iran are a bit sketchy, but enough information has come out to indicate the regime that governs Iran is quite willing to use force to stay in power, regardless of the robust debate that preceded the recent voting.

The Iranian regime, which stands accused of stealing an election, has denied the people it governs access to the internet, the use of their cell phones and text messaging systems. It bullied and intimidated foreign reporters intent on covering the protests. It has attacked university students in their dormitories. The BBC reports that its satellite broadcast signal into Iran has been jammed.

All this has prompted Cohen to write, "A harsh clampdown is underway. It’s unclear how far, and for how long, Iranians can resist."

Now he tells us.

Cohen's pre-vote writings in the New York Times, one of America's most prestigious newspapers, gave the people opposed to the implementation of democracy in Iran every reason to think that that American journalists would either miss or ignore their underhanded methods of maintaining power. Portraying Iran as a totalitarian state is not dangerous, nor is it demonization, if in fact, Iran is a totalitarian state.

Posted by dvz at June 15, 2009 09:56 AM


Oh come on! And how much better did you do?

Posted by: Joel at June 16, 2009 06:57 PM

You can look at our website and judge for yourself. It's not as if we were "soft" on Ahmadinejad.

Posted by: Dexter Van Zile at June 17, 2009 03:01 PM

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