American Elephants

Supporting Liberty is the Most Basic American Value. The Obama Team Can’t be Bothered. by The Elephant's Child

Here at American Elephants, we are especially critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy.  We are big believers in liberty, and if freedom appears at all on the Obama team agenda, it’s way, way down at the bottom of the list.

If you need evidence, I offer the Green movement in Iran.  Afraid that displeasing the Mullahs could mean an end to the hopes of the administration for an opportunity to persuade Iran to give up their nuclear efforts,  the administration could not bring themselves to offer even vigorous verbal support for the dissidents.

Then there is the administration’s support for the legally ousted president of Honduras, lack of support for Georgia, for Israel, for Columbia and South Korea. Casual insults to our closest allies in Europe — and even Australia and Canada are inexplicable.

For another look at ” the freedom agenda,” the Wall Street Journal today has a splendid article on just what it means to make freedom a priority:

No one seems to know precisely who is behind the “Miss Me Yet?” billboard—the cheeky one featuring a grinning George W. Bush that looks out over I-35 near Wyoming, Minn. But Syrian dissident Ahed Al-Hendi sympathizes with the thought.

In 2006, Mr. Hendi was browsing pro-democracy Web sites in a Damascus Internet café when plainclothes cops carrying automatic guns swooped in, cuffed him, and threw him into the trunk of a car. He spent over a month in prison, some of it alone in a 5-by-3 windowless basement cell where he listened to his friend being tortured in the one next door. Those screams, he says, were cold comfort—at least he knew his friend hadn’t been killed.

Mr. Hendi was one of the lucky ones: He’s now living in Maryland as a political refugee where he works for an organization called And this past Monday, he joined other international dissidents at a conference sponsored by the Bush Institute at Southern Methodist University to discuss the way digital tools can be used to resist repressive regimes.

He also got to meet the 43rd president. In a private breakfast hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Bush, Mr. Hendi’s message to the former president was simple: “We miss you.” There have been “a lot of changes” under the current administration, he added, and not for the better.

Adrian Hong, who was imprisoned in China in 2006 for his work helping North Koreans escape the country (a modern underground railroad), echoed that idea. “When I was released [after 10 days] I was told it was because of very strong messaging from the White House and the culture you set,” he told Mr. Bush.

There is much more, and real food for thought.  Do read the whole thing.  Standing up for  individuals who are risking their lives for freedom should not be a partisan issue.  It is he most basic of American values.

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