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  • Morning Bell: A First Step Toward Freedom in the Middle East

    Despite as many as 100 explosions which killed at least 38 people in Baghdad, Iraqis defied a desperate insurgency yesterday and turned out in strong numbers to choose a new Parliament. According to The New York Times, “turnout was higher than expected, and certainly higher than in the last parliamentary election in 2005. … Sunnis who largely boycotted previous elections voted in force, and an intense competition for Shiite votes drove up participation in Baghdad and the south.” The NYT went on to describe the election as “arguably the most open, most competitive election in the nation’s long history of colonial rule, dictatorship and war.”

    The United States still has much work to do in Iraq, but yesterday’s successful election is a major victory not just for Iraqis, but for everyone who wants to see peace and prosperity in the Middle East. Unfortunately there is still at least one nation in the region that is bent on seeing Iraq’s democratic experiment fail: Iran. The latest National Intelligence Estimate on Iran is set to be released in a few weeks, and many insiders fear it is being tweaked to downplay the danger Iran represents to Iraq, the region and the United States. That would be a mistake.

    As CENTCOM commander Gen. David Petraeus told CNN this weekend, “Iran has gone from a theocracy to a thugocracy because of the citizens who are outraged by the hijacking of the election that took place last June.” And this thugocracy has responded to internal opposition by doubling down on their nuclear ambitions. Nobody wants to live in a world with a nuclear Iran, but too often we are told our choices are limited between the Obama administration’s do-nothing Iran policy and all out aerial bombardment. There are other realistic and effective steps that can be taken. Specifically, The Heritage Foundation has outlined Ten Steps to a Free Iran, including:

    1. Impose and enforce the strongest sanctions.
    2. Drop opposition to U.S. gasoline sanctions.
    3. Target public diplomacy to expose the regime’s human rights abuses.
    4. Facilitate communications among dissidents.
    5. Aid opposition groups.
    6. Reduce Iran’s meddling in Iraq.
    7. Target covert actions to discredit the regime.
    8. Modernize the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
    9. Expand U.S. military capabilities to defend U.S. interests and allies.
    10. Deploy a robust and comprehensive missile defense system.

    None of these ten actions constitutes a silver bullet that could dismantle Iran’s thugocracy, but taken together they give the Iranian people a great hope for freedom. That is what makes yesterday’s Iraqi elections so important. A stable and democratic Iraq offers Shiites an alternative model that helps de-legitimize Iran’s Islamist system. Winning in Iraq can be just the first step to bringing freedom to its neighbor to the North.

    Quick Hits:

    • Secretary of Defense Robert Gates does not see eye-to-eye with President Barack Obama’s nuke-free dreams.
    • Responding to reports the White House is considering trying Khalid Sheik Muhammed before a military tribunal, the ACLU is running a full-page New York Times ad showing President Obama morphing into President George Bush.
    • Democratic pollster Mark Penn explains why the President should abandon his current health care bill for a step-by-step approach that would attract bipartisan support.
    • A Congressional Budget Office report shows President Obama’s bank tax bill would ultimately be paid by you, the consumer.
    • According to a new Center for Competitive Politics poll, Americans do still support the First Amendment and the Supreme Court’s Citizen’s United decision.
    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    38 Responses to Morning Bell: A First Step Toward Freedom in the Middle East

    1. Ken Jarvis says:


      was the worse Foreign Policy Decision

      in the HISTORY OF THE USA.



    2. Dorothy, Colorado says:

      Obama doesn't have time to handle Iran, he's busy being a traveling salesman.

    3. Gary Nevada/Alaska says:

      Thanks to President Bush.

    4. Matt, Tennessee says:

      Should be real simple.

      1. Autorize off shore drilling.

      2. Allow drilling in the Dakotas.

      3. Lift the ban on drilling in Alaska.

      4. Stop sending US Dollars to the Middle East to aid our enemies.

      This by the way has nothing to do with isolatioinism, but wonder if these nations would support us or at least have our back. I think a lot of people get disgusted with the amount of US Aid going to that part of the world when we have better use of it here at home.

    5. Jeanne Stotler,Woodb says:

      When banning guns was the thing, a bumper sticker said something about outlawing guns and only criminals will have guns. Well the same could be for nuclear weapons, just because the good guys get rid of their arsenal of war heads doesn't mean the bad guys WILL, they might say they will but they most likely hide them in underground tunnels. We need to maintain the means to protect our country. BHO seems to live up to his statement in his second book about following the Muslims, and he would side with them if attacked, well he's allowing a way for them to take over. In his first book he talks about his mother in a bad way, this man is possessed.

    6. Tom Martin,Minneapol says:

      Please keep up the good work,your reporting really gives me hope that this phony in the white house will be taken down with all his chicago thugs.

    7. William Frobe says:

      The last sentence confused me ("Winning in Iraq can be just the first step to bringing freedom to its neighbor to the North.") What does Turkey have to do with anything in this story?

    8. Mary.... WI says:

      I doubt Obama will do anything when it comes to Iran because I believe he doesn't really care and he's too busy figuring ways in wihich to "fundamentally change" the United States of America.

    9. Antonio, Fort Worth, says:

      I agree with the CENTCOM commander General David Petraeus concerning action plans & comments he made to C.N.N. Had the U.S. Administration that was in power some 30+ years ago dealt with terrorist regime forming in Iran then like it should have, there could have been more of a potential for better stability in the region today.

    10. None says:

      It would be lovely to live in a free country, imagine a time when you are able to stroll Freely through downtown DC, Chicago, or Detroit without the probability of being robbed, raped, or killed.

    11. Lloyd Scallan - New says:

      I turst absolutely trust NOTHING from NYT or CNN. Frankly I disappointed that

      Heritage would quote either of these left-wing news outlets.

    12. Warren Lyckman Hills says:

      Iraqui people have once more proved that Democracy works when there is enough desire for it and that there is enough protection to maintain it. The question as to whether it was wise for the United States to get involved so vehemently in Iraqui affairs will never be resolved until if (1) the Iraqui people adopt Democracy and maintain it without out involvement or if (2) they revert back to a religous dictatorship. I believe it will be some years before we actually determine the outcome.


    13. Ken Omaha, NE says:

      You guys are pathetically naive if you think these ten steps to free Iran will work, even taken collectively. Have you not learned from history? The Islamic extremists are psychotic animals that are hell bent on killing anyone supporting democracy. Period. Reason, economic pressure, carrot dangling, ostrasizing, you name it, is not going to work. Force is the only answer. It's the only thing terrorists listen to. Wise up!

    14. Bill Webbe, Durango, says:

      The Congressional Budget Office has a tremendous grasp of the obvious. Any tax President Obama imposes on any industry will be ultimately be paid by the consumer!

    15. Ken Omaha, NE says:

      "Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it!"- George Santayana

    16. Arthur E. Oringderff says:

      you need to get ahead of the curve with respect to addressing the next issue on the Obama administration's hit list, that of amnesty. even now we are allowing illegals to vote by counting them in the census which will in turn direct where and how much of our budget gets spend. this is a huge problem and a clearly illegal procedure to aid redistricting, spending and eventually will serve the purpose of growing the democrat party to a political machine that will become the only party in existence.

      please don't wait until it's too late, although it may very well be too late.

    17. toledofan says:

      I think that General Petraeus has nailed it again, but, it's too bad that his boss won't support the things that need to be in place to bring Iran to it's knees. Obama will talk until he can't talk anymore and then he'll talk some more, all the while Iran keeps getting stronger and poses an even greater threat to the region. It's sad that we are willing to degrade our security in the name of political correctness.

    18. Ben C. Ann Arbor, MI says:

      Ken Jarvis:

      My neighbor is from Baghdad and tells a tale of gratitude for the dismissal of Saddam from Iraq. Just after the invasion he predicted chaos from all of the “idiots” living in Iran and the tribal nature of their society. He said it will take a few years to sort out the problems but he has faith it will happen. Ken, if you have a beautiful daughter who is abused by one of Saddam’s sons you might sing a different tune. While you can argue the presence of “WMD” (we gave him plenty of time to move them out of the country – just as he moved his fighter planes out of the country in the first Gulf War), the fact remains he was an evil man. You may be OK with this but I am not. In the long run Iraq will be a better place – all of my military friends agree. With your position we should have ignored Hitler (which we did at first) and allow him to destroy Europe. History tells us otherwise.

    19. Mary, Cleveland says:

      I wished President Obama would have made comments on the Iraq election and the violence that took place over the weekend, instead of being obsessed with his health care bill.

      Let us thank President Bush for allowing such an election event to occur.

    20. Dr. Duck Naples FL says:

      Do you really feel that your 10 step approach wi do the job? I think not! Even an overt military threat will not distract them from their "ways". They, along with Seria are the lightening rods the fuel the tumalt & destruction in the Middle East.

    21. Norm - Jacksonville says:

      Obama's whole life has been made up and contrivedand is a complete lie. Why else is he hiding behind a wall of secrecy when it comes to anything personal about him. Why is he not forthright, as other presidents have done in the past???

    22. Volsense says:

      I agree with Lloyd S. Why would you quote NYT and CNN? Their obvious agendas cannot present anything without reflecting their bias.

    23. PrudentMan, CFA, Jup says:

      Just saw Mike Mullins, Joint Chief of Staff, talking to ROTC students at Kansas State. He is a pathetic prostitute to political correctness. As long as he is at the helm this country is at great risk. This guy is worse than the clowns who screwed up Korea and Vietnam. Fortunately Bush got the surge in Iraq going before he left office as Mullins, like all political Flag officers, is more politician than military man. He will suck up to Obama and Iraq is at risk of losing our gains as a Democracy in the Middle East, and I doubt we will gain anything in Afghanistan with the current "hands off" policy like we used in Korea and Vietnam.

      Hopefully Gen. Petraeus will retire and get on a Presidential ticket. He is being held back by Obama and his pimp, Mullins. That resulted in only 75% of the troops requested by the politically questionable McCrystal.

      Pay attention to the political general and admirals as they are not all strong advocates of superior force.

    24. Lee Birkhead, Heber says:

      Matt,TN is on base as is Ken,NE, We need SDI that Reagan sold out on. I didn't used to be an isolationist, but I'm getting awful close. I'm tired of carrying the rest of the world on our military's back an sick of repairing everybody's infrastructure and just giving away money and jobs in general. What has it bought us? What has the UN done for us? Does charity begin at home? Maybe, let's try isolation for a while and send everybody that doesn't believe in Am. or belong here, home. Let's get back to capitalism, the Constitution and morality. Lee

    25. Louis Levy Dayton OH says:

      These elections are really a victory for Democracy. Let Freedom be patiently and knowledgeably introduced in the very structures of Iraq and Iraqi lives and structures so that they themselves sustain and maintain both Peace and Democracy if a better system is not found in the 21st century.


      I AGREE 100% KEEP THE PRESSURE ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! MARV.

    27. Alan says:

      What a bunch of violent, warmongering sheeple on this board! No wonder america's image looks like a mental house. Petrophile should shut his fat mouth! He is not a politician nor a diplomat, but a soldier. As Kissinger put it nicely: "military men are dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns for foreign policy".

    28. BARB, MN says:

      There are one million Iraqis who will never vote. They are the million civilians who have been slaughtered since the US invaded their country.

    29. joe, Atlanta, Ga says:

      I wonder who made up this Wish List. In reply:
      1. Russia has said they will supply any gas we restrict.
      2. People no longer get strongly upset about human rights abuse
      3. Facilitating communications is a good idea.
      4. Aiding dissidents/opposition groups is a good idea.
      5. Iran sneaks insurgents across the Iraq border at will, and is cozy with the Talaban. We can’t even find these guys.
      6. We have discredited the current regime, the world cares less.
      7. Modernize nuclear arsenal? For what reason, to go to war? Do we need a more precise bomb? For what reason? We have thousands of nuclear warheads we don’t know what to do with.
      8. Expanding US military capabilities. Unless you want to start a national military draft, this is all we have.
      9. We started a missile defense system in Poland, but Obama pulled the plug when Putin objected.

    30. Blair, Franconia, NH says:

      Let me start out by quoting the late Robert A. Heinlein’s Space Cadet: “We could have ended up with the tightest, most nearly unbreakable tyranny the world had ever
      seen, but the human race got a couple of lucky breaks. It’s the Patrol’s duty to see that it stays lucky. But the Patrol can’t drop an atom bomb simply because some pipsqueak Hitler made a power grab and might again someday, when he has time
      enough, build spaceships and other mass-destruction weapons.” Sound familiar?
      Who are today’s pipsqueak Hitlers? Ahamadinejad, bin Laden, who’s said that it was
      every Muslim’s religious duty to get a nuclear bomb, Saddam Hussein, (may he rot in
      hell), the leaders of Hamas and Hezbollah, Mullah Omar, the leader of the Afghan
      Taliban, and the leaders of the Pakistani Taliban. Yesterday’s election in Iraq proved that Iraq is stable enough NOT to be intimidated by Al Qaeda in Mesopatamia. This is a BIG setback for the Islamists.

    31. Peter Heide says:

      For diplomacy, we need a strong, consistent policy that draws the line on what constitutes acceptable international behavior for Iran. Stick with it because the alternative is not very appealing. We should not attempt to police the world. Europe, Israel and eventually Iraq have to stand on their own and act in their own best interest. Whatever diplomatic or covert means are available should be applied to free the people of Iran, but in the end they have to want to be free. True public participation in selecting a government and affecting public policy; the consistent rule of law supporting a free market economy; and educated women are the basic necessities of a truly free society. Anything the US can do, diplomatically or covertly, to support these changes in Iran we should do.

      Now for the alternative: Beyond diplomacy we should be prepared to act if the US is threatened. It should be clear that any nuclear terror attack originating in Iran on the US will result in the destruction of the people and nation of Iran in the most heartless and inhuman way. It should be clear to Iranian leadership, as it is clear to me, that any pain and suffering inflicted on the US by the Iranian nation will be answered by a level of brutality that can be measured only against the history of those that have tested this country. The example of course is WW II in the Pacific and the recipients the Japanese military and citizenry. I don’t think the core beliefs of this nation in self-preservation and revenge have change a bit since then.

    32. Lee White Tanks AZ says:

      Your list of “Ten Steps….” are excellent but for one little detail. “It ain’t gonna happen” with this President in power.

      I feel that no matter what you think of Obama politically, He has shown an amazing affinity to anything and anyone Muslim. He is every bit as delusional with respect to Islamic Fascism as he is to the Socialist programs he is “ramming” down the throats of unwilling Americans.

      PC is Thought Control

    33. Linda, Louisiana says:

      I am very disturbed that President Obama doesn't see the terrorist nauture of Iran. He is letting them build up their defenses while he is destroying ours. His attitude that the United States should apologize to the World is outrageous. I cannot think of any one good thing he has done.

      Yes, he is too busy making speech after speech after speech, which is usually a lie. He must not remember the things he has said because sometime later he will reverse himself. Can't someone stop him, and I don't mean in a violent manner. He needs to be removed from Office along with all his cabinet members, aides, etc. Only one person spoke out to call him a liar. Surely there are others who could/would say the same thing. What I have obseved, he has never been confronted, face to face.

    34. Ken C., San Antonio, says:

      I get sick of all the lefties singing the same song: "Where are all the WMD's?" Ok, for argument sake let's imagine there are no WMD's (even hidden ones or ones moved to Syria or elsewhere). Ok, let's add to that the idea that perhaps there are no WMD's because Sadaam complied with sanctions and got rid of them. Even given all that WMD's still justify us going in, because not only was he supposed to get rid of them, he was supposed to prove he had done so. This last thing he refused to do, so we went in to make sure he had gotten rid of them. So those of you on the left, even if your right, your still wrong!

    35. Randy Dutton, Washin says:

      Drill for our own oil and drop the price of crude and natural gas! Reducing the income Iran gets from exports will sap their strength to fund radical elements, and will lead to more social reform. America has the oil and natural gas. Read the report http://www.naruc.org/News/default.cfm?pr=183. Being energy independent is our strongest weapon.

      Further, air Radio Free Iran, and establish radio transmitters just outside the Iranian border. Broadcast the truth and let the Iranian people take control of their government.

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    37. Kathy, Minnesota says:

      I am very proud of the Iraqi's, they are a brave people now, and I must say it is thanks to the American Military that they were able to be brave. I thank you for writing this column and I thank both our Military and the Iraqi's. God Bless you all. Respectfully yours

    38. Kathy, Minnesota says:

      Hello, I just want you to know that I appreciate Freedom, and the Morning Bell, The Heritage Foundation, and all who stand up for Freedom. I am a conservative, I love my country, and I pray for all people everywhere. God Bless us everyone!!! Thank you for your time.

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