Sins of Omission, Sins ofCommission

ByKenneth R.Timmerman
|September 8, 2006


The U.S. visit of formerIranian president, mullah Mohammad Khatami, has all the makings of afull-blown scandal – except for one: it lacks the righteousindignation of the chattering classes.

This may be the second greatest Sin of Omission the American mediaand our elected representatives have committed since 9/11. (The firstwas their resolute refusal to hold the Clinton administrationaccountable for its failure to stop Osama Bin Laden when it was stillpossible to do so in the 1990s).

Here is a man who as president of the Islamic regime in Tehran:

-¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ýrefusedspecific, written requests from the President of the United States(Bill Clinton) to hand over the ring-leaders of the June 1996terrorist attack that killed 19 U.S. servicemen in Dhahran, SaudiArabia;

-¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ýstoodshoulder to shoulder with top terrorist leaders in Tehran, includingHezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah and Hamas leader SheikhAhmad Yassin, and pledged his country’s financial and militarysupport to them;

-¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ýstoodby and did nothing as Iranian dissidents were murdered by his owngovernment; as reformist newspapers were closed; as Tehran Universitystudents were thrown off balconies to their deaths by regime securityagents; as young women were stoned to death for allegedly havingsexual relations with married men; as Canadian-Iranian photographZahra Kazemi was brutally bludgeoned to death by Iranian governmentintelligence officers; as Iranian government helicopter gunshipssprayed bullets on Kurdish demonstrators in the town of Sanandaj inJuly 2005; as Iranian Jews were imprisoned in Shiraz on trumped upcharges of espionage and as other Jews disappeared on the borders ofIran, trying to flee the country.

In addition to this “moderate’s” abysmal record onhuman rights and individual freedoms, as recorded by the StateDepartment in its annual human rights and religious freedom reports,Khatami also presided over a dramatic arms build-up by Iran, thatincluded the development of long-range ballistic missiles capable ofreaching Israel and the construction in secret of a vast undergrounduranium enrichment plant in Natanz.

These are but a few of Khatami’s crimes. A much longer list canbe found

Republican Senators George Allen, Sam Brownback, and Rick Santorumhave sent letters to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, protestingher decision to allow Khatami to make a propaganda tour of the UnitedStates.

In the House, only Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman of California andRepublican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen raised their voices (and theirpens) in similar fashion against the decision to allow Khatami intothe United States, an act that is both unfathomably disgraceful andstrategically incoherent.

Mainstream television networks have given little coverage to theKhatami visit, and none to his crimes. Only Pat Robertson, in theTuesday edition of the 700 Club, thought to interview former Iranianpolitical prisoners Amir Abbas Fakravar and Roya Tooloui, both ofwhom were tortured viciously under Khatami’s rule.

Fakravar told Christian Broadcasting Network reporter ErickStakelbeck about his time in Khatami’s jail, when he wassubjected to “white torture,” where everything around himwas white - even the food he was served. When he was eventuallyreleased from the white prison, he had to go live in a forest forseveral weeks to regain his sanity, Faklravar said.

Alone among 535 members of Congress, U.S. Senator Sam Brownback andRep. Brad Sherman will join Fakravar, Roya Touloui and other victimsof Iranian government torture this morning at the National PressClub. For this, Brownback and Sherman deserve the gratitude of allfreedom-loving Americans.

So does Massachussetts governor Mitt Romney, who
issuedan order¬ÝonTuesday to all state agencies to decline support, if asked, forKhatami’s September 10 visit to the Boston area, where he isscheduled to speak at Harvard University.

“State taxpayers should not be providing special treatment toan individual who supports violent jihad and the destruction ofIsrael,” Romney said.

This evening, September 7, Iranian-Americans will gather in front ofthe National Cathedral in Washington, DC, where the left-wingEpiscopal bishop of Washington, DC, John Bryson Chane, is hostingKhatami in a festival of shame.

Perhaps Bishop Chane, an advocate of ordaining gay bishops in theEpiscopal church, could ask mullah Khatami if Islam expresses similartolerance toward sexual “diversity”?

Since we all know the answer, perhaps Bishop Chane can tell us why,in that case, he felt it was right and good to invite Khatami as anhonored guest to the National Cathedral?

In a letter he sent to Chane deputy John Peterson at the NationalCathedral on September 1, Rev. Keith Roderick noted that “theAnglican Church in Iran was decimated during [Khatami’s]presidency.”

Roderick has worked for many years with ethnic and religiousminorities in the Near East and is the only Episcopal Canon toPersecuted Christians.

“During the last year of his presidency,” Rev. Roderickwrote, “legislation was introduced into the Iranian parliamentto adopt a strict Islamic dress code, which not only reversed theprogress of individual expression, but also was designed to segregateJews, Christians, and Zoroastrians by assigning colors that they mustwear, reminiscent to the yellow stars Jews were forced to wear underthe Nazi regime in Germany.”

For their invitation to Khatami, Bishop Chane and Rev. Petersondeserve a permanent place in the Hall of Shame.

Condoleeza Rice and her top Mideast advisor, Undersecretary of StateNicholas Burns, also deserve a dishonorable mention for havinggranted the
G-4diplomatic visa¬ÝtoKhatami to begin with.

“They did this under the radar,” said Pooya Dayanim,president of the Iranian Jewish Public Affairs committee in LosAngeles.

Dayanim and other activists tell me that Khatami and his StateDepartment handlers were so effective in setting up Khatami’stwo-week speaking tour that regime opponents were virtually taken bysurprise when the State Departement announced that it was grantingKhatami a visa just two days before Khatami arrived in the U.S..

“It was particularly demoralizing to see the bureau ofDiplomatic Security provide bodyguards” throughout Khatami’strip, Dayanim said. “The impression this gives is that Khatamiwas sent here to negotiate, and that the administration was ready tonegotiate because they were losing the war in Iraq. Thisinterpretation might be wrong but this what the Iranians believe.”

President Bush gave a rousing defense of his administration’swar against the Islamo-fascists
onTuesday before theMilitary Officers Association. The Washington Times called it “oneof the best speeches of his presidency.”

This latest Bush speech is a must read for all Americans. In it, thepresident quotes extensively from captured al Qaeda documents “thatthe terrorists have never meant for us to see,” as well as frompublished statements.

“We know what the terrorists intend to do because they've toldus -- and we need to take their words seriously,” Bush said. “Theterrorists who attacked us on September the 11th, 2001, are menwithout conscience -- but they're not madmen. They kill in the nameof a clear and focused ideology, a set of beliefs that are evil, butnot insane&. It is foolish to think that you can negotiate withthem.”

The President spoke of both Sunni and Shia terrorists, and had nokind words for the Iranian regime.

“This Shia strain of Islamic radicalism is just as dangerous,and just as hostile to America, and just as determined to establishits brand of hegemony across the broader Middle East” as BinLaden’s Sunni-dominated al Qaeda organization, Bush said.

“And the Shia extremists have achieved something that al Qaedahas so far failed to do: In 1979, they took control of a major power,the nation of Iran, subjugating its proud people to a regime oftyranny, and using that nation's resources to fund the spread ofterror and pursue their radical agenda.”

Despite all this, Bush then pulled an about-face, and evoked therecent U.S.-backed offer to negotiate with Iran over its nuclearprogram – precisely what he just said the United States mustnot do with terrorists.

“So far, Iran's leaders have rejected this offer,” thepresident said. “It's time for Iran's leader to make adifferent choice. And we've made our choice. We'll continue to workclosely with our allies to find a diplomatic solution.”

The president’s unmistakeable capitulation to the StateDepartment, which clearly opposes his view of taking the war to theterrorists, not negotiating with them, is inexplicable.

This inability, or unwillingness, to confront the bureaucracy thatpretends to act in his name may be the greatest – and mostdeadly - sin of omission of this president.

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