"You cannot bring democracy to a country by attacking it."

Iran's most famous dissident Akbar Ganji has declined an invitation to visit the White House. He cited the fact that U.S. intervention in Iraq has only served to encourage Islamic fundamentalism in the area, while crippling democratic movements. "You cannot bring democracy to a country by attacking it," he said.

This is a high-profile snub, from an articulate journalist who once received vocal support from the White House while incarcerated and dizzy from a hunger strike. But Ganji is no ingrate: he's telling Americans (since the rest of the world already knows) that the U.S. presence in Iraq is about power, not principle, and that all the soundbites and window dressing will come to nothing in the long run. Let's face it: appearing alongside President Bush -- who barely comprehends what Ganji represents -- would only serve to hamper the cause of Iranian democracy. Not to mention democracy throughout the Middle East.

Free Ganji is a blog dedicated to translating Ganji's writings and speeches: a fascinating read if you want to see what democratization and liberalism mean to someone opposed to both fundamentalism and effete radical-academic théorie.


If right-wing bloggers were photo editors

NY TIMES: U.S. Marines of the 28th Regiment, 5th Division, raise the American flag atop Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima on Feb. 23, 1945.

RIGHTWINGER: Traitor! This idiot moonbat photographer is revealing the location of these soldiers and should be imprisoned. Better yet, nailed in the crossfire. Nice flag though.