After President Obama made a long overdue statement condemning the beating and killing of Iranian protesters, Major Garret asked “What took you so long?” As we have seen time and time again, Obama rewrote history and said he has been clear all on this along and to track what he has been saying.
OK. Lets do that. (The Wall Street Journal has done the work for me.)
June 15, The Rose Garden: “It is up to Iranians to make decisions about who Iran’s leaders will be; that we respect Iranian sovereignty and want to avoid the United States being the issue inside of Iran.”
June 16, The Rose Garden: “It’s not productive, given the history of U.S.-Iranian relations, to be seen as meddling, the U.S. President meddling in Iranian elections. What I will repeat, and what I said yesterday, is that when I see violence directed at peaceful protestors, when I see peaceful dissent being suppressed, wherever that takes place, it is of concern to me and it’s of concern to the American people. That is not how governments should interact with their people.”
June 16, CNBC: “The difference between [Iranian President] Ahmadinejad and [opposition candidate] Mousavi in terms of their actual policies may not be as great as has been advertised. Either way, we’re going to be dealing with an Iranian regime that has been hostile to the United States.”
June 19, CBS News interview, White House: What you’re seeing in Iran are hundreds of thousands of people who believe their voices were not heard and who are peacefully protesting and – and seeking justice. And the world is watching. And we stand behind those who are seeking justice in a peaceful way.
June 20, Formal Statement: “The Iranian government must understand that the world is watching. We mourn each and every innocent life that is lost. We call on the Iranian government to stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people. The universal rights to assembly and free speech must be respected, and the United States stands with all who seek to exercise those rights.”
And that leads us to today’s remarks:
First, I’d like to say a few words about the situation in Iran. The United States and the international community have been appalled and outraged by the threats, the beatings and imprisonments of the last few days.I strongly condemn these unjust actions, and I join with the American people in mourning each and every innocent life that is lost.
I’ve made it clear that the United States respects the sovereignty of the Islamic Republic of Iran and is not interfering with Iran’s affairs.
But we must also bear witness to the courage and the dignity of the Iranian people and to a remarkable opening within Iranian society. And we deplore the violence against innocent civilians anywhere that it takes place.
Quite a leap to say he’s been clear all along. Of course he denies that today’s shift in tone and rhetoric had anything to do with his critics calling his previous remarks weak and timid, but you can be sure he took note.