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US Help Only Hurts Iranians

That is the notion clearly put forth by The Washington Post in U.S. Push for Democracy Could Backfire Inside Iran.

TEHRAN -- Prominent activists inside Iran say President Bush's plan to spend tens of millions of dollars to promote democracy here is the kind of help they don't need, warning that mere announcement of the U.S. program endangers human rights advocates by tainting them as American agents.

In a case that advocates fear is directly linked to Bush's announcement, the government has jailed two Iranians who traveled outside the country to attend what was billed as a series of workshops on human rights. Two others who attended were interrogated for three days.

The article goes on, graph after graph, detailing why finally aiding dissidents in their peaceful dissent is both unwanted and dangerous.

Beaten to the punch by Michael Ledeen, a proper fisking has already been completed.

Some Iranian dissidents attended workshops in Dubai last spring, and, with that ominous vagueness that so often characterizes reporting on things Iranian, at “about the time” that the administration announced it would support pro-democracy forces inside Iran, they were arrested. The Post seems not to have inquired about the treatment inside the regime’s prisons, but Vick and Finkel got a catchy quotation from Emad Baghi: “We are under pressure here both from hard-liners in the judiciary and that stupid George Bush.”

I love the moral equivalence: Bush wants to help them acquire freedom, while the regime (neatly reduced to a couple of bad guys in the Ministry of Injustice) crushes them. And Bush is the stupid one.