- It's not our election. It's all Iranian, all the time.
- We don't have any skin in the game. We don't even have formal diplomatic relations with Iran.
- If he did want to act, what could he do? We can't send in the Marines - they're busy in Afghanistan.
The situation there is volatile enough without giving the theocrats any excuse to accuse Mir Hossein Mousavi of being backed by the CIA. There's plenty of history of CIA skullduggery in Iran - ask anybody in Teheran about Mohammed Mossadegh, who really was overthrown in a CIA coup in the early 1950s (after trying to nationalize the oil industry; some things never change).
We've all suffered in the last few years from the Bush administration's insistence on "exporting democracy." Democracy isn't something you can "export," like a crate of ball bearings. It's a delicately balanced series of agreements among the citizens of a country, and the version that exists in the U.S. and Britain now took centuries to develop. But while the English were fighting the Civil War, in the 17th century, asserting the right of the people over the monarchy, the Persians were ruled by the Safavid dynasty of Shiite shahs (some things really never change - details of Persian history taken from the timeline at From Ancient Persia to Contemporary Iran).
If democracy isn't exportable, though, it seems to be contagious; and I think the Iranians may have caught it. Not only have they just had an election, they're now furious because the election was obviously rigged. And that anger really is a democratic urge.
I wonder if the people in charge of those election results really thought anyone would accept them, when they're statistically so extremely unlikely. And I really wonder what the results of a fair count would have been. You never know - Ahmedinajad might have won. He might even have won by a wide margin. But we'll never know, because they decided to fake a result.
I wish the Iranians all the best; my heart aches for them, because the democracy in Iran right now is a paper label over a theocratic tyranny, and if they really want a democracy, they'll have to fight for it. But if they're willing to fight, they may just end up with a truly democratic Iran. Reuel Marc Gerecht, in a N.Y. Times op-ed piece (The Koran and the Ballot Box), thinks we may be seeing the start of "the final countdown on the Islamic Republic." I hope he's right.