In his famous speech of November 1936, Winston Churchill characterized the preceding years during which Britian and France failed to respond to German rearmament as the years the locusts ate. Churchill was seizing on the Biblical locution first applied to the period by Minister for Co-ordination of Defence Sir Thomas Inskip. In The Gathering Storm, Churchill describes Inskip as “well versed in the Bible” and shortens the formulation to title chapter 5 “the locust years.”
In his look back at 2009, Charles Krauthammer doesn’t invoke Churchill, but he makes clear that the year is one the locusts ate. Churchill disavowed “pry[ing] too closely in search of the locusts who have eaten these precious years.” Krauthammer is not similarly constrained. Referring to the dramatic emergence of opposition to the regime of clerical fascism in Iran in the wake of fraud in the presidential election, Krauthammer writes:
Obama responded by distancing himself from this new birth of freedom. First, scandalous silence. Then, a few grudging words. Then relentless engagement with the murderous regime. With offer after offer, gesture after gesture — to not Iran, but the “Islamic Republic of Iran,” as Obama ever so respectfully called these clerical fascists — the U.S. conferred legitimacy on a regime desperate to regain it.
Considering that Iran is an irreconcilable enemy of the United States and its allies, this is “a strategic blunder of the first order.” And to failure it has added an element of humiliation that is apparent in a story such as Reuters’ “Iran’s Ahmadinejad mocks Obama, ‘TV series’ nuke talks.”
Reuters quotes Ahmadinejad’s response to Obama’s “extended hand” to Iran: “Which hand did he extend? His right hand or left hand?” Ahmadinejad asked. Actually, it was both hands, like a beggar working both sides of the street.
It would be easy to miss in today’s news, but resistance to the clerical fascists continues in the streets. The New York Times reports “Tehran protesters defy ban and clash with police.” The Wall Street Journal reports “Fierce clashes in Tehran.” The Journal cites “unconfirmed reports that four protesters – including the nephew of Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi – were killed in fighting.”
Glenn Reynolds links to Internet updates on the events in Tehran. R.H. Potfry posts two messages from Tehran, the second concluding: “We are about to free Iran. Pray for us.” In Washington the locusts are clacking.
UPDATE: Reader Bud Wendt points out the Islamic allusion in Ahmadinjad’s disparagement of Obama.