Iran’s mullahcracy is repressive and corrupt, and we have long wished for its demise. In the current crisis, we are on the side of the demonstrators in Tehran. Yet, at the same time, the first duty of any government is to maintain order so that its citizens can go about their business. So I am perhaps a little less willing than some of my friends on the right to assume that because demonstrators take to the streets and the government tries to crack down, it necessarily means that the government deserves to fall. In that, I am influenced, perhaps, by the memory of my own participation in ignoble antiwar demonstrations circa 1970.
The difference is that Iran’s regime is brutal–brutal when it hangs homosexuals, when it stones adulterers, when it drags college students from their dormitories. That brutality has been on display repeatedly over the last three days, as in this video (parental guidance suggested):
Here’s a bright line standard: when your policemen wear ski masks, it’s time for a new regime.
UPDATE: Several readers have pointed out that that video, while uploaded yesterday, apparently was shot during a different protest in 2007. The point is immaterial, of course: the Iranian regime was brutal two years ago and continues to be brutal today, as evidenced by any number of videos and photos from the current demonstrations, like this one: