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June 16th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

How should U.S. respond to Iran’s election controversy?

ALT TEXT

A supporter of defeated Iranian presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi protests in Tehran, Iran. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Obama is walking a fine line when it comes to the controversy over Iran's election.

After several days of a cautious response from the White House - the president came out yesterday saying he was deeply troubled by the violence he was seeing on TV and that free speech and the democratic process need to be respected. Nonetheless, he said he wants to respect Iran's sovereignty and that it's up to the Iranian people to decide who their leaders are. Mr. Obama said he's not trying to dictate Iran's internal politics.

Critics are calling on the president to be stronger in his support of the Iranian protesters. House Republican whip Eric Cantor says the administration's "silence in the face of Iran's brutal suppression of democratic rights represents a step backwards for homegrown democracy in the Middle East." Senator John McCain has called the election corrupt and says President Obama should speak out that this is a fraud election.

Also, other foreign leaders have been more forceful in their condemnation, but experts acknowledge that President Obama is in a no-win situation... strong criticism could backfire, while a muted response gives an impression of weakness.

Also, while the president's message of change matches with that of the Iranian protesters - a young and tech-friendly bunch, much like his own campaign... the president doesn't want the U.S. to become the story in Iranian politics.

Adding to the pressure on Washington was the move by Iran today to severely restrict journalists' access to the protest rallies. That has raised speculation the government plans a violent crackdown... on the order of what happened in Tiananmen Square 20 years ago.

Here’s my question to you: How should Washington proceed when it comes to Iran's election controversy?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Adam writes:
I believe Washington should remain quiet for the time being. The entire world is watching and knows what Ahmadinejad is up to and that the election was rigged. Eventually the truth will surface and if the violence continues, Washington together with the UN should make a clear statement to Iran.

Niousha from San Diego writes:
Dear Mr. Cafferty, I am a proud Iranian-American. What I think many fail to see is that the Supreme Leader, his council and Ahmadinejad are not people to have a dialogue with. The fact that they are blocking the news media and sending the militia to attack the protesters shows that freedom will never be a right in Iran under this government. We must learn from history and the past, we cannot sit idly by and wait and see innocent young men and women being massacred. Please, Mr. Obama, please help my people.

Ali from Vancouver writes:
Hi Jack, Being an Iranian who is in touch with the protesters in Iran, I can tell you that the last thing they want is the United States taking sides. Ahmadinejad would love the U.S. to call fraud on the elections so he can convey his argument that the West is trying to weaken Iran and take advantage of his resources. That argument has been a successful one for 30 years in the regime and it is one that would rally all the clerics who are now undecided under Ahmadinejad.

Vincent writes:
Democratic dissidents now risking their lives to oppose Iran's sham democracy get no support from the Obama administration. What has happened? Where is America’s grand quest of liberating this world from its evil autocracies? I smell similarities with the man who messed it all up in the first place, don't you? Is Obama the new Jimmy Carter? History in repeat.

Mitch from Minneapolis writes:
The administration should respond exactly as they are doing, announcing their concern but not interfering. If there is truly to be another Iranian Revolution, it must be done by the Iranian people.


Filed under: Iran • Washington
soundoff (128 Responses)
  1. Ilona Helwig

    Jack,
    How would have the American people reacted if Iran butted in the American elections in 2000?

    President Obama should stay quiet.
    The republicans are wrong.

    June 16, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  2. Ted Beaverton, OR

    For far too long, we have been sticking our none (and taxpayer money) into the business of foreign nations. Democracy and Capitalism are not the same thing...in fact almost polar opposites. Democracy encourage capitalism through equal opportunnity, Capitalism kills it through greed.
    Many Americans have forgotten our own fight for independence was bloody and long....but it was OUR fight. Let the Iranians engage in their own fight for independence.
    Obams's reaction is 100% correct.

    June 16, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  3. DON IN WESTPORT, MASS.

    President Obama's has already done something.
    His response was that it is up to the Iranian people to decide who their leaders are. I would take that as meaning keep doing what your doing (protest) and fight for what's right.
    I think that the People of Iran have come to the crossroads of having real freedom and unfortunatley it's their time to stand in front of the tank of reprresion like Tiananmen square. Hopefully, though they will accomplish much more with less violence.

    June 16, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  4. Deb (New York)

    Jack the US should continue to do as they are doing. President Obama should not be involved. The statement he made yesterday was perfect. I don't think Iran or the Middle East would take kindly to the US meddling in their affairs. I am so impressed at the way the young community has come out fearlessly to protest for their rights.
    Very impressive and I think a direct result of President Obama's Cairo speech.

    June 16, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  5. Cory West

    Jack, the programs that President Obama is proposing only allows for the people without jobs, healthcare, etc...with a chance for new opportunity. While it may seem to a few that the government is putting their hands where it not ought to be allowed, its actually trying to give people a chance to get back on their feet. It always amuses me Jack that when people speak about taking these programs away (Republicans), they usually will seek them when they are in need of them themselves.

    June 16, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  6. michael LV,NV

    Obama can denounce the bad election but he can not tell IRAN how to run their country. There isn't much the U.S.A can do. The people of IRAN must stand up to Tyranny.

    June 16, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  7. Judy, Exeter, Calif,

    It's times like these that I am grateful Obama is our president. I believe he is handling it correctly, and with sensitivity to Iran's Sovereignty. I don't think we want a political bulldozer running amok, and waving American flags. I fear diplomacy has fallen by the wayside for too long, and I believe Obama intends to resurrect it.

    June 16, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  8. Michael Monahan

    Watch and wait. While we certainly have an interest in the outcome, this is not our fight...it is the Iranians'. I cannot see that Washington openning its mouth will be a positive contribution and will more likely work against us than for us. Patience, prudence and preparation...to deal with the outcome, whatever it is.

    June 16, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  9. Jay, Denver

    We should just wait and see.

    June 16, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  10. cherry

    Jack, I don't think America should say anything in regards to Iran's election. We seems to forget that our last two general elections were taken away from us and no one did anything so we should butt out of their business we have more pressing things at home to take care of like healthcare for everyone in America.

    June 16, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  11. James Nortey (Austin, Texas)

    President Obama is doing the right thing by respecting Iran's sovereignty and sitting quietly on the sidelines. Just as America once violently revolted against tyranny, the Iranian people must now do the same because "it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security."

    James Nortey
    Austin, Texas

    June 16, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  12. Bee

    I believe the response that President Obama has given has been sufficient at this point in time. We can't just say that it was a complete fraud when we don't really know anything. After the investigation is finished and we hear what Iran's leaders say about the election, we can then make a comment on whether it looks to be a fraud or not.

    June 16, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  13. Chris

    Send Jimmy Carter and have him run a new election with the world watching.

    June 16, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  14. David

    He's doing exactly what he needs to do. The biggest duty in democracy is the people to stand up for their freedoms, which is exactly what the Iranian people are doing. We just need to sit back and let it all play itself out.

    June 16, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  15. Mel in NC

    The reaction to the election in Iran is both frightening and exciting. Technoglogy has obviously helped the people of Iran become more worldly and aware of the cloistered world they live in. I appreciate that President Obama is not preaching democracy on everyone in the world. What is working for us, may not work for others. I respect others principals and beliefs and am proud that our president is appearing to feel the same.

    Our president has proceeded carefully and low key. He obviously thinks before he speaks unlike our former president.

    June 16, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  16. Brad Pepper

    President Obama is so afraid to appear as meddling in Iranian affairs that he will likely miss a golden opportunity to support and express unity with the brave people who are risking their lives to change the repressive political system of their country. By choosing to bury his head in the sand, President Obama will alienate those who are pushing for reform. In the future those brave people will be asking why America was silent during such a crucial hour.

    June 16, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  17. carolyn

    Don't say anything. Let the people work it out.

    June 16, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  18. Larry

    Stay out of it.

    What are we going to do? Attack them TOO!

    Larry
    Cincinnati, OH

    June 16, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  19. Esco

    The U.S. should stay out of this. Obama is right, and i think people needs to understand he is dealing with our problems at home and overseas in a constructive diplomatic manner with countries that we have ties with. The U.S. has no ties with Iran...so where is he going to far in his address?

    Washington should not interfere in these elections at all...i don't see where they have the authority to do that. Besides, this will only stir more problems to the U.S. including more spending to help the Iranians cause...not that we don't want to help or cannot afford to, but this is a matter of their own. If they came to the U.S. and told us what to do, i bet Cheney would be the first to blow a gasket.

    June 16, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  20. Ed Woodbridge,Va.

    Mind our own business and stay out of it! I love my country dearly, but this country has a bad habit of involving themselves in other countries affairs! Vietnam, Iraq,Afghanistan to name a few, and the only thing to come out of it are several thousand dead American troops!

    Both Iranian Presidential candidates are still going to be anti-American in their policies, so what is the point of poking our nose where it does not belong!

    June 16, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  21. Linda in Arizona

    I always think it's a good idea not to meddle in other countries' elections. Even if there was fraud, who are we to preach? What could we do anyway, invade and occupy another huge Islamic country? We can guess how that would work out. I think the president is doing the right thing so far. It's not an easy call. People like mccain and cantor are just trying to undermine President Obama as usual. They don't have any better ideas.Goopers never do.

    June 16, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  22. Joe in MO

    Ahmadinejad stole the election fair and square. We should support him. And if you believe that, I have a bridge I'd like to sell you.

    June 16, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  23. John in Columbus Ohio

    The best thing we can do is leave them alone. They can handle themselves, and this is far from a similar situation to the Tiananmen Square incident. Ahmadinejad and Khameni know that if they tried a stunt like that, they would totally lose control of the country. Iranian's aren't used to being silent members of a faceless bureacracy like the Chinese are. Any attempt to silence them would just make them louder.

    The best action the US can take in this is no action. And when the Second Iranian Revolution happens and when Ahmadinejad and the religious leadership is overthrown, the best thing we can do is to support the new and fledgling nation.

    June 16, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  24. Dan of Arkansas

    Maybe or maybe not. For sure, we don't need another agency to "oversee" anyone or any agency until "those that exist and are already being paid" to protect us form being taken advantage of are investigated and corrective actions taken. The facts are, that the system has failed or is corrupt. Until those we elected, or were appointed have been investigated to get at the bottom of "HOW" we were and still are being ripped off, WE THE PEOPLE don't need to spend anymore of our hard earned money on continued lies and deception from those We count on to protect our way of life.

    June 16, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  25. D. in NH

    Let's get this straight....The Republicans are saying the President isn't being bellicose and belligerent enough? Please, we've had enough of that from the former President. It's nice to see a guy in there that has the knowledge that his words have much more of an impact than almost any other person in the world.

    However, if things get much worse and a real crackdown ensues, I think the President will speak out and speak out loudly as well he should.

    June 16, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  26. John Independent

    President Obama is doing exactly what he is supposed to do. Mind our Business. Let the Iranians take care of their problems. What about that Jack.

    June 16, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  27. vinodh narayanan

    Iran's election is an internal matter of Iran. I dont understand what Washington has to do about it. We have lot of this to worry about here in the states.

    June 16, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  28. Jenny from Nanuet, New York

    Republicans apparently still don't recognize the difference between weakness and intelligence. Obama is doing exactly the right thing by expressing concern for the people's safety and will while not meddling in another country's election.

    June 16, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  29. Brad

    Jack, we should all know and understand that the Republican party could care less what happens to the citizens of Iran, this is just there latest attempt to oppose every position of the President. I think that unless there is violence perpatrated by the Iranian military, we should let them handle there problems. When we wanted freedom we fought for it. It's not are job or is it smart foreign policy to force democracy on everyone.... We should NEVER forget the lessons of the still on going Iraq war.

    June 16, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  30. elaine price

    Proceed with cauction-just as Obama is doing -stressing open debate and concern about human rights violations. Its a lot easier to yell and scream;its a lot harder to be measured every step of the way ,focusing on the long term security of the American people as well as the need to forge a dialogue about nuclear arms. We have not had that kind of analysis for a very long time Elaine Price, Pocasset, Ma.

    June 16, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  31. Mr Benson

    He should respond how he did, the supreme leader ain't changing, what should we do start a war like Bush return tensions like they were or promote democracy without making enemies for somthing we can't dictates outcome

    June 16, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  32. Todd

    No, the government has not gone far enough. It's high time someone stop the banking industry from ripping the american people as they have done in such an uncontrolled manner since the end of our parents generation. We the people need all the help we can get to stop the greedy from having their way with us.

    Todd in Austin,Texas

    June 16, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  33. Chuck Biddlecom

    Jack – If we can do Florida 2000 and not break a single state or federal election law in the US, there's no hope of any US President ever criticizing another nation's election rigging.

    June 16, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  34. Mike from Mississippi

    The citizens of Iran will have more impact in bringing change to Iran than Washington ever could. President Obama said it best when he said we shouldn't meddle in their affairs. Look at our current situation in Iraq and you'll see the results of meddling. If our dead and maimed aren't enough to teach us not to meddle in the affairs of others then, nothing will.

    June 16, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  35. Manuel in arlington,tx

    Nothing the US should do absolutely nothing regarding the unrest in Iran, let the Iranians deal with Iran.... after all we would not want to be accused of regime change... AGAIN!

    June 16, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  36. Bill of Hewlett, NY

    President Obama is handling the Iranian election controversy properly. As a matter of principle, he must stress the need to respect freedom of speech and the democratic process. He can do little beyond that. The U.S. does not hold sway in Iran's internal politics. In fact, expressing support for Mousavi will brand him the "American candidate" which will undermine him. However weak Obama will seem remaining silent, he will look even more ineffective if he intervenes.

    June 16, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  37. David in Indiana

    What has the U.S. ever changed by complaining about another countries election? The President can rebuke Iran's government all he wants. Will it change anything? History is not on our side on this issue. Maybe a quick tongue lashing will make us feel better.

    June 16, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  38. Rian McMurtry

    At the moment, we should do nothing. We have suspicions, we have some unbelievable result reports, we have the claims of the losing side, we have some news reports. We don't have actual intelligence on what happened. Our allies are actually better situated than we are to take the lead on any action, since the Iranian theocracy hasn't spent the last 30 years demonizing them the way it has the US. If we start spouting denunciations, the clerics and their man will turn it into an Iran-US conflict.

    Davis, California

    June 16, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  39. Alice NYC

    The President must not be seen as interfereing once again in another countries domestic problems. We the people can continue to support and pray for all those people, But our goverment must stand back and wait, remember many other countries are watching us as well not just the Iranians. We would not have like other countries to inteerrfer with the election of George Bush, and we all know what that was all about. I still can't figure out why people voted for him the second time.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  40. Missy

    The US should actually heed Iran's advice and mind its own business. Like it or not, Iran is a sovereign nation and is responsible for its own social unrest - let Iranians solve their own problems with out the US butting in, as it always does.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  41. Eleanora Feucht, Mt. Laurel, N.J.

    The first thing we should do is t put the shoe on the other foot. How would we like it if the Iranian government tried to meddle in our elections? Well, do unto others as you would have others do unto you. The only thing that we can do, perhaps, is to give them some advice on how to stop the violence.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  42. Chandler Tedholm, Rockaway, NJ

    President Obama should volunteer to let our Supreme Court resolve the dispute - oh, wait, they would choose the guy who got fewer votes!

    June 16, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  43. Beth

    Obama has been SPOT ON with his reaction. Obama needs to just keep his usual calm, thoughtful responses going and the rest of them need telling him to condemn an election they have no proof of either way need to shut up and let the Iranian people determine their futures.

    Don't we have enough problems at HOME to fix? When I was a kid and criticized everything about my siblings or the other kids on the block, my mom said I obviously did not have enough to do and sent me to my room to clean it.

    The cowboys and mavericks up on the Hill bashing Obama on his measured and respectful responses....need to go to their rooms and clean their own houses right now!

    June 16, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  44. Katiec Pekin, IL

    We have to give much thought and foresight into any action.
    President Obama is walking on egg shells, as whoever wins,
    whether fairly or not, is who we will have to deal with in the
    future. For any diplomacy to work, our president cannot
    point fingers or demand that to be accepted, things must
    be done our way. There was too much of that in the past
    which caused alot of the anger and mistrust for us.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  45. Jason H

    Washington should do nothing. That is America's problem, always dictating what should be done. Iran is capable of handling to problem on their own.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  46. Noushin

    It's me again, I just wanted to say that we Iranians who are fighting for our rights appreciate President Obama for his smart words.

    Noushin, Washington DC

    June 16, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  47. Parviz Entekhabi

    President Obama is doing exactly right. Iranian regime already blaming US for what is happening . More US involvement would jeopardize the democratic movement in Iran. Also US media could help by continuous coverage of the event since there is no free press within Iran. Thank you.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  48. Ed BassettSr

    The White House shoud leave it alone! No one interfered when GW Bush stole the election in Florida did they?

    Ed Watertown CT

    June 16, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  49. Chris Seward

    The President should continue to keep his distance from the Iranian election controversy. An aggressive stance towards the situation would demonstrate a profound ignorance of Iranian history and politics. Many Iranians still harbor resentment concerning America's past intervention in Iranian politics. Any opportunity to use the US as a political football could only benefit the current regime. By not allowing the US to become an issue in the Iranian controversy, the President is helping the protesters' cause in the only way he can.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  50. sara

    Jack, I will wish that all that is NOT our President take a "chill pill", and let our leader deal with Iran in a rational, strategic way.
    Therefore, since Iran is a soverign country, I wish the President to allow the process to proceed, while calling for the right to protest the election by Iran's citizens.

    Sara
    Georgia

    June 16, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  51. Ray

    Jack, this country owes it to Iranian people who are fighting against this opperessive government . United States helped overthrowing of the Shah and bringing this opperessive and fanatic government to power. Now they should help cleaning the mess that they helped creating years ago!!

    June 16, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  52. sarah

    I voted myself for Musavi and am disappointed that he did not win. But I knew that all pre-election polls (including independent polls) pointed at Ahmadi-Nejad's victory. Unfortunately, he is popular with majority of Iranians (who are poor and less educated.)
    Pres. Obama should NOT commend on the legitimacy of the election. He should NOT condemn or approve the related protests either. That would be interfering in Iran's internal affairs and will backfire any Iranian liberal/nationalist movement, it will make the liberal Iranians look as American puppets and not genuine. Obama can condemn the violence and encourage the Iranian gov. to let the foreign media the freedom to report. Pres. Obama has done great so far.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  53. Chris Seward

    The President should continue to keep his distance from the Iranian election controversy. An aggressive stance towards the situation would demonstrate a profound ignorance of Iranian history and politics. Many Iranians still harbor resentment concerning America’s past intervention in Iranian politics. Any opportunity to use the US as a political football could only benefit the current regime. By not allowing the US to become an issue in the Iranian controversy, the President is helping the protesters’ cause in the only way he can.

    Chris
    Irvine, CA

    June 16, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  54. Bijan

    This is what US Government should do: Put pressure on Iran to annul this election and then redo it, this time under international surveillance.

    Bijan from Vancouver Canada

    June 16, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  55. Peter Alami

    Dear Mr. Cafferty,
    First as an Iranian American, on the behalf of all Iranians world wide I like to thank you and everyone at CNN for the coverage you are providing from Iran for the world to witness.
    In regards to the election results and the idea of a "limited" recount by the Guardian Security Counsel, this move will prove to be of absolute zero value.
    The current regime has lost it's core values.
    To avoid further violence and bloodshed, perhaps it would be best to ask for new elections as Mr. Mussavi has asked for BUT, with the condition of having international observers in place to monitor a true and honest process for the whole world to witness.
    It is time for the administration in Washington to show their support for true democracy, the people in Iran are thirsty for justice and true democracy.
    Thank you for your kind attention.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  56. Marie

    I think the President is doing the best he can under the present conditions given the fact that things were at it's worst when he took office. As far as Iran's election is concerned, I think the President is right not to draw conclutions on what went on in the election, it's best to wait and find out (remember WOMD)

    Marie
    California

    June 16, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  57. mary shaw, colorado springs co

    Until Iran's actions towards the election and the rioting are concerned and their decision for solution, I doubt adding USA's opinion to an already heavy problem for Iran would breed resentment of the United States. This would only add more difficulty to an already convoluted situation currently existing between our countries and put more roadblocks in President Obama's road to bringing Iran into the world.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  58. Sarah

    President Obama is doing the right move toward Iran. This is not like the 1979 revolution, when everyone was united behind Khomeini to oust the Shah. This is the fight between intellectuals versus traditional religious people. It may take at least 10 or 20 more years for intellectuals to outnumber these hard liners with new generation and more education. I hope I'm wrong and that we don't have to wait more, but the reality is the head of the nation are extremists.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  59. Rick Guilbeau

    A strong message of support for the Iranian protesters by President Obama would counterproductive to their aims. The powers that be in Iran would use that support to label them as pro-US traitors and then use that as an excuse to reject their claims. Republican leaders have the advantage of not being the President of the United States so they free to say what they will. Obama does not have that advantage.

    Birmingham, AL

    June 16, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  60. Moji

    I don't think president Obama should get engage at all. It has been our history where US gets involve and we have to explain post involvement. I love the way President Obama has patience and awaiting how it all of it plans out in Iran. One thing we have to remember, we can't trust those Mollahs! If the President start talking, or taking sides the whole meaning of current up rise can be changed to something totally other than what people of Iran want.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  61. Rodolphe

    Considering the turbulent nature of the relationship we have with Iran,
    I think it is wise for the president to take a more nuance approach.
    The U.S. has already is hands full. the last thing we need is Iranians Theocrat accusing us of trying to overthrow their institutions.

    Rodolphe

    Detroit,MI

    June 16, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  62. bob brost owen sound ontario

    we have enough problems with our own elections.........let's clean up our own house and let the rest clean up theirs.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  63. Bertha in SC

    Obama is doing exactly the right thing in my opinion. Whatever the end result, he wants to maintain the ability for dialogue in the future. He's not weak in his stance. He has come out and emphasized and encouraged democracy and peaceful freedom of speech for Iranians. I think the Iranians get it. He has pointed out that in a democracy they should be able to express themselves peacefully without being physically hurt and /or punished. I think those are words that inspire the Iranians to continue to insist on having these democratic rights and at the same time, leaving an opening for dialogue, and at the same time not appearing to be the same old US that assumes we have the right to dictate what happens everywhere in the world.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  64. Ed'sKate

    Washington should do exactly as it is doing. President Obama is intelligent enough to not jump the gun as the saying goes. We need to show our concern but not go so far as to look like we are interferring in the election process of Iran. Diplomacy is everything. It is okay to show concern as the President has done but it is another thing to go off the deep end and demand Iran to do this or that. Cool heads are needed in this situation and hopefully that will happen.

    As for the first question you posed at the end of your article, President Obama has NOT gone too far in our lives as far as I am concerned. I truly believe he is for doing what is right for us. The opposition should take a hard look at what their group has done in the past and are still doing now and that is NOTHING WORTHWHILE for the American people.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  65. Stephen Tenberg

    Obama's response has been dead on. Support the Iranian people while refraining from belligerent speeches which will only help the hardliners. In the past we spoke with arrogant monotones which only emboldened our enemies and weakened our friends, I am so glad now that we think before we make fools of ourselves.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  66. Bill

    America cannot stand alone in this situation. Pres. Obama should try to form a coalition of democracies such as Britain and France. I don't believe that Pres. Obama should go at this alone. A solid stand and perhaps a very united message from democratic nations would drive the point deeper than just American condemnation. Iran needs to know that it is not just the U.S. that is watching the atrocities happening in it's country, but it is all truly democratic nations are condemning the actions taken by a paper democracy and an iron fisted dictatorship against it's own people. A united front from as many democratic nations as possible will make the message much louder.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  67. Michael of Chicago

    Washington shouldn't – it is that kind of medelling that got us in the situation we are in with Iraq. WE NEED TO TEND TO OUR OWN, we have enough problems in the United States.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  68. mike in c.a.

    I don't think we should or could do anything about the election results in Iran, We don't have a proud history when it come fair elections in our country. There is too much evidence about voters being purged from the voter registrations.and intimdations at poling sites, How would we react if Ahmadinejad sited our past voting practices.We have no credabilty on that subject. Are we prepared to invade Iran just to hold fair elections.President Obama should stay away from that problem.He has too many other problems that take priority over fair elections in other countries.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  69. Rita Fitzpatrick

    John McCain's kneejerk reaction to the tenuous situation in Iran confirms that this senior citizen voted for the right man. This is Iran's election–not ours. Until the facts are known, assessment of blame is premature. President Obama's reaction is intelligent and completely appropriate given what we know.
    It is a refreshing change from the past administration's cowboy mentality.
    Colorado Springs

    June 16, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  70. sarah

    I voted myself for Musavi and am disappointed that he did not win. But I knew that all pre-election polls (including independent polls) pointed at Ahmadi-Nejad's victory. Unfortunately, he is popular with majority of Iranians (who are poor and less educated.)
    Pres. Obama should NOT comment on the legitimacy of the election. He should NOT condemn or approve the related protests either. That would be considered by Iranian gov. as interference in Iran's internal affairs and will be used against Iranian liberal/nationalist movement; it will make the liberal Iranians look as American puppets and not genuine. Obama can condemn the violence and encourage the Iranian gov. to let the foreign media the freedom to report. Pres. Obama has done great so far.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  71. Jorge Ventura

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    They must listen to the majority, The young Iranians,…which i understand is the larger populace…and if I dare say so the most intelligent. The so called “guardian council” holds no place in this new age. They are obsolete not by their age but of the age of their views. One person nor any gathering of individuals can hold freedom to their discretion! It is in our DNA

    Bronx New York

    Jorge

    June 16, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  72. Dan Q

    Jack, President Obama has done more in five months to shore up the world-wide percption of America, than we have seen in nearly a decade. His stance that supports the will of the Iranian people to peacfully decide their own direction along with the condemnation of the universal threats of oppression and violence, is the high road here. It is respectful of their sovereignty and aligned with our national core values. Now, no matter which side consolidates power in Iran, we can still approach them from a position of respect and strength.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  73. robert rey, from Fresno, Calif.

    About 40 years ago our CIA helped installed "The Shah" and later was overthrown by a religious revolution. Since then the US has been known as the "great satan" . We should let the current situation find its own resloution without meddeling in their affairs but show support for a more democratic government. Already the neocons want us to be more aggressive in our approach which will just allow the current govenment to cry foul and use our meddeling to cramp down on the protesters. No, just let this situation right itself out.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  74. Dan Leahy

    Jack,
    The same bozos who are calling for Obama to take a "tougher" stand with Iran were the ones who hailed Bush's "axis of evil" position. Turns out that phrase has done more damage to US relations with the world than any three words in history. I'll trust Obama to play it a little smarter than that.
    Dan in Santa Barbara

    June 16, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  75. che

    President Obama said its time for the US to lead again, I think this is one unique opportunity for the US to make that shift using the present situation in Iran. The president should make a strong statement. The oppressed in Iran at this moment are looking up to the US for help. The US need to save the democracy in Iran, request for a vote recount or a fresh new election.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  76. Don Bishop from Dallas Texas

    We should respond just as President Obama has responded so far…Proceeding cautiously, stating the obvious but not judging or acting as if the USA is a model international citizen when it comes to elections. Iran is not the USA and we have no power to change things with their election nor should we. After all, where were Iran and other countries when Bush cheated and stole 2 elections? Could any other country have changed those results…no, I don’t think so. So, we need to stay out of their election mess too!

    June 16, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  77. Aria

    I think president Obama knows better than you and me of what exactly is going on inside Iran . but my question is How many more days is he going to wait ? how many more people woud he like to see dead ?
    it is indeed very important right now for president obama to comment about ahmadinejad's presidency .
    There are times when silence has the loudest voice but not this time .

    Aria

    June 16, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  78. Panteha

    Dear Mr. Cafferty,
    Music lessons?? What don't you understand about this theocratic totalitarian regime? Any sign of warmth or human emotion, including laughter, hand holding, singing, playing music, dancing, and licking ice-cream in public is also forbidden. Mousavi is no better than the lesser of two evils. He is just a catalyst releasing 30 years of frustration caused by unprecedented duress and oppression in every aspect of people's public and private lives.

    Sincerely,
    Enli8n

    June 16, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  79. Greg Mechanicsburg, PA

    Obama will be well advised to let Iran, I mean the supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei settle things in Iran's own house. Obama should voice his support for the people of Iran, because they are their country's future. Saying so will help heal the wounds of misunderstandings of the past.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  80. Sepanta

    The US has to take a stand with the Iranian people. For once, democracy is growing from within, and if the US doesn't interfere, it's as if they're giving the "green light" to the government of Iran to do what they can to quell the resistance. Military invasion, however, would not be a good route (as we've seen before). President Obama has to send out a strong message to the Islamic Republic and the world that the US is with the oppressed people of Iran.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  81. christina palacio

    I think the U.S. should stay out of Irans elections. Look how it went for the U.S. when it stuck its nose in Irak. First they ask for the help then
    everyone hates the U.S. for helping. they dont apreciate anything.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  82. noreen salter

    When is the American ppl and republicans going to stop thinking that the United States should be telling other countries how to do things. The western part of the world needs to stay in the west and stop trying to change the way others live.Clean up your own back yard. Other governments don't get involved with the states when they demenstrate. and do you forget about the deminstrations that took place when Bush was going to war. I didnt see other countries telling you what to do and I'm sure the republicans would have declared war on Iran by now. President Obama is doing he right thing. Stop trying to bring him down on everything he does or says and grow up.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  83. Betty Henry from Abilene, TX

    I don't remember other nations becoming involved when people were raging against the sins of slavery, womens rights, or even civil rights.for that matter. The USA got some cleaning up to do on their own shores before they need to spout out against their international neigbors. Look at how police are acting on the streets. My God look how long it took to elect our first non-white. We need to take the beam from our own eye first before we attempt to move the splinter from our neighbors.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  84. Brandon W

    Hi Mr. Cafferty,

    It's sad when a 25 yr old can use common sense in terms of being nosy, And that’s what we are doing. I do not hear other countries Prime Minister's, President's etc.. Making comments about this matter; so I ask why do American's care? And why should President Obama care?. In my opinion we as a country care more about international affairs than our on domestic problems. So I say Congress, Senate, and the current administration should focus on America. It's time to WAKE UP!!!!.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  85. Marty W.

    I agree completely with President Obama's position. He stated his opposition to violent reactions to peaceful demonstrations but there is no concrete evidence that the election was fixed. A US firm conducted a poll in Iran 3 weeks prior to the election and had Ahmadinejad with a 2 to 1 lead. Although we would have preferred a reverse outcome, John McCain and others, who have prematurely called the election corrupt, may end up eating crow.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  86. Mary

    I think Iranian youth need a full support from US .It is a very critical time for all Iranian ,as well as whole world . I understand president Obama stance ,but I don't thing this a time for happy talks . Bloods are shed , people were insulted & their right were taken .Time for change for every one . They should not recognize this regime & be supportive of people . There should be a force behind UN for human rights & send people to Iran to observe peaceful demonstration & re-election .Who is better than president Obama to do that ,since he is trying to be a messenger of peace . Just being concern is not enough .

    June 16, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  87. Farzad

    I watched the Iranian state TV today and they said “Obama has confirmed he is on the side of the trouble makers and the thugs.”
    I think we all should wear green in solidarity with the people of Iran. That way the government of Iran won't be able to twist the truth and the people of Iran will know they are not alone.
    Thank god we have a smart person in the white house

    June 16, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  88. meziane

    So far the issue appears to be Iranian, If the US response should be any different , then the question is where was the US ( Mccain and Boehner ) response when more than 130 Algerians killed and 5000 injured By the Algerian army ?!

    June 16, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  89. george charles paree

    Obamas plans wont work just like his program to bring us out of recession .We have pick the man for president

    June 16, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  90. Kris Tizhoush

    United States and our allies should show strong support for Iranian people. We need to be aggressive with Iranian government which is shaken up by these events. We should try to take advantage of the situation and push for a regime change which is a wish of majority of Iranians and definitely beneficiary to entire world. We are in a long costly war in Iraq to promote democracy while Iran government has been a bigger threat. I think it is a great time to get involved and make some changes.
    Mullahs would keep bullying until you stand up and take firm action against them, then they fear to lose their power and money and will back up

    June 16, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  91. Kent West

    As Joe Scarbourgh, a republican and conservative stated that President Obama has stated the perfect tone. I agree! How can one expect to try to resolve the nuclear crisis with Iran by trying to intercede in their politics. Didn't we already learn this. History is there for us to learn from. Those who lived through it should.remember it!

    June 16, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  92. David Bebeau,Springfield Missouri

    Let nature take its course just like we did in 1776.
    David

    June 16, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  93. Abbas Abdollahi

    I think Obama is smart not endorsing any of the Iranian presidential candidates and not making the mistake that U.S.A made about 50 years ago interfering directly in the Iran's internal affairs. it is not yet known that the protesters do really represent the whole country. How about small cities and rural areas? Besides, it is not known if election of Mousavi will serve the interests of U.S. since he played a major role as PM in the Iran islamic regime after revolution.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  94. Karen in Texas

    I think the President is hitting just the right note. He likely appreciates the fact that the election might have been fraudulent (we can all appreciate that one) but he still has to try to work with these people. when all the shouting and shooting is over. If he calls the Supremem Leader on it and turns away from their puppet president elect he gives them the perfect reason to advance their nuclear program, ie the evil West interfering in another middle eastern government.

    Instead he has praised the energy of the dissenters thereby subtley leting them know he appreciates their position however he can't do a thing until the Iranians settle this one way or another. By staying out of it he gives the dissenters more credibility for future protests than if he got involved.

    Seems pretty clever to me.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  95. Gary in Lexington

    Jack:

    Do any of these critics understand the meaning of sovereignty? The Bush regime did not understand it in Iraq, and look at that disaster. We should support the Iranian people any way we can, without out interfering in their internal affairs. We should condemn the violence, the media blackout and support our allies in their condemnation of same. Most importantly, we must recognize that we are not dealing with a true democracy, but rather an Islamic, cleric controlled regime, regardless of who is "elected". Finally, we must not interfer to the point that the radicals and extremists use it against us, both internally and in the media. Continue to walk the fine line.

    Gary,
    Lexington,KY

    June 16, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  96. Jerry

    We should leave it alone. It is an Iranian issue to an American issue. We as a country (USA) stick out noses in to often where they don't belong.

    If the Iranian people want their President out of office let them rise up and throw him out. It isn't our job to give up American lives for it. It isn't our job to get involed at all.

    I do wish the Iranian people all the best, and I hope they can achieve the goals as a people they want.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  97. Bianca

    Like in many cases, people in the world look up to US as a leader to help them or send their support. If we are on the side on democracy, we should say something in support of thousands of people on the street beaten and oppressed by Ahmadinagad. Otherwise, we are sending a message to the world that we are taking side with the terrorist government. This is not a change to stay silent by not supporting the truth. This is old politics.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  98. Martha Vancouver B.C.

    Obama is "proceeding" exceedingly well to the Iranian election controversy

    The US is currently involved in two wars and North Korea is threatening a declaration of war if it's ships are intercepted, even though they would be delivering nuclear weapons or technology.

    Just how much longer could the US survive under a GOP administration?

    Thank GOD McCain/Palin are NOT in the Whitehouse. Thank GOD!

    I just can't imagine either of those two with access to the nuclear codes. (shudder)

    June 16, 2009 at 5:39 pm |
  99. Mike M

    Washington needs to find a way to appeal directly to the Iranian protestors and especially the youth. They should tell them that in a democracy there is nothing more powerful than a determined, youthful optimism among the citizenry. Continue what you are doing, the world is watching, and in this situation, there is no such thing as failure.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:39 pm |
  100. Bill

    Am I the only one that finds it strange that the Iranian protesters are holding up signs in English. Are they trying to appeal to the US or did someone give them the signs?

    June 16, 2009 at 5:39 pm |
  101. meziane

    I was referring to the 2001 events in the Kbylian region in Algeria

    June 16, 2009 at 5:39 pm |
  102. Arthur Serota

    Fortunately we now have an adult as the leader of the free world. Obama & Co. are more concerned with the impact on Iran, and the stability of the region, than on how an adolescent American electorate reacts. Obama, exemplifies a shift from survival of the fittest to survival of the wisest. Or, in other words from that of the use of force, to one of engagement.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  103. Mary Bren

    America CANNOT DICTATE to any country. Cantor and McCain should not criticize since their Neanderthal "Party of NO" is a major obstacle to Pres. Obama as he tries to "clean up the mess" they made!!

    Mary GA

    June 16, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  104. Steven Smith

    I think we should butt out when it comes to Iran's election. Is every other country's business our business? IMHO, we held our own corrupt elections a few years back.

    Love ya, Jack!

    June 16, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  105. Fred Brigham

    I strongly support the way President Obama is addressing the Iran election results. It would be helpful if those who criticize his position at this time would take time to review his comments in context before they second guess him. In matters of this importance, would it not be constructive for some of those on the opposite side of the aisle to consider this issue and how it affects all Americans ? Must we address every issue of this kind as Democratic or Republican ?

    June 16, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  106. Bill

    Obama has it right. Let's not become an issue in Iran. We need to focus on N Korea. That's the immediate threat for our friends/allies in the region, and an example to Iran of what to expect if they pursue their Nuclear ambitions.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  107. Dave Silliman

    With regard to Iran's election controversy we once again are
    motivated by the need for Iran to be a better country for
    America rather than creating foreign policy that makes
    America a better country for Iran, and so many other
    Nations. Is it not a bit early for the Secretary of state to
    disappear in Martha's Vineyard for the summer with what
    appears to be only a "Carry on" bag's worth of Foreign
    Policy?
    Dave Silliman

    June 16, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  108. Yohannon Fairbairn-Wallis

    The United States must know exactly what to respond to before the President responds to Iran; this means getting the facts from Iranians who are in a position to know. Let us respond as the "leader nation" of an international coalition of democratic nations. This is a time for our Intelligence organizations to work with the president and to leave knee-jerk reactions to the pundits on TV news magazines & talk radio.
    Yohannon

    June 16, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  109. Yash

    The government should stand with the Iranian people and be more assertive than they have been with Obama's "deeply troubled" stance. However, a harsh stance should not be allowed to provide fodder for the anti-american sentiment in the middle east.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  110. Jack Dempsey

    Jack. The Iranian people proved they were capable of removing a governmet they were unhappy with when they put this one in power. From what I have seen on the news so far the people are doing just fine. It is not up to us to do anything but deal with the government that is in power. Jack from Nice Ca.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  111. Ken Nourolahi

    President Obama should declare that he is categorically on the side of justice for the Iranian people and at the same time he is not trying to meddle in the internal affairs of the Iranian government. The US can offer to provide Character Recognition computer hardware and software to an impartial election committee. The stipulation will be that all 53+ million ballots printed would have to be made available for a complete re-count.
    The supreme leader has already ordered a partial recount. This may be a compromise that can resolve some of the issues raised in the Iranian presidential election.

    Ken,
    Atlanta, GA

    June 16, 2009 at 5:46 pm |
  112. Christian

    I find it very interesting that the results of the Iranian election was so overwhelming in favor of the hardliners WITH NO VARIATION in the final results across the whole country and demographics.

    If this election was statistically valid we would see variation in the results. Statistical theory about normal random variation would show in the data.

    Without this random variation one has to conclude the results were biased or tampered with.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  113. Thomas, Costa Rica

    Obama's reactions have been right-on-the-money, Jack. It would be seen as improper for the POTUS to attempt to intercede in the domestic affairs of another country (and not only in the country he is appearing to meddle in ... many, many countries fear and resent the "Imperialist US" interference).
    I live in Costa Rica and have traveled broadly in Latin America. Cuba has sent medical teams and medical aid to other Latin American countries and they are loved for it. The US has sent military weapons and military aid to Latin American countries, and we are hated for it. It is not too hard to perceive why the US is seen as a un-caring and demonic influence, is it?

    June 16, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  114. wayne, Phoenix, AZ

    I believe the U.S. needs to do exactly what we're doing now; observe what's going on in Iran just as the rest of the world is doing. We should also look to the last eight years to see just how much the rest of the world came to hate us Americans when we needlessly butted in to the affairs of other nations and tried to force our beliefs and way of life on them. I applaud President Obama for doing a wise thing by speaking very little and treading very lightly in regards to this issue.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  115. Isa de Quesada

    If President Obama is to be believed about treating M.E. countries with respect, then Iran poses a perfect opportunity to practice respect by allowing the Iranian government and people to decide for themselves. We are not the saviors of every country. It is time that we stop interferring with others' rights to govern themselves as they see fit. It is time we stop supporting special interest groups in other countries. It is time we stop acting as Imperialists. Furthermore, it is also hypocritical for us to even have an opinion on this election...it is clear that we had a similar situation in this country when the Supreme Court selected George W. Bush over Al Gore, who legitimately won the 2000 election. No one here even protested. We were silent. So, in my view we have nothing to say...let them do what they feel is right and let their Cleric, who are the equivalent to our Supreme Court, decide. All we need to do is remain open to negotiate with whomever becomes the figure head of their govenment.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  116. Arth

    Jack,

    Let me try this again: where in the United States or near the United States is Iran?

    And, if it's not, then what exactly whatever is going on there is any of our business? You DO understand that we had a lot to pay and we will be paying some more for what 'we' did to these people when we 'gave' them the Shah, don't you?

    June 16, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  117. Jacque

    The election in Iran seem to go the same way as those in Egypt ,and we seem to be fine with it , why don't we respond the same way ? it always work fo us. why is their a question as for what our aproach should be ? do we have to tell you that to? use proven method ! or wait , we don't like that Dictator.
    Jacque , Sarasota ,FL

    June 16, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  118. Melanie

    I think US needs to just let Iran deal with their own country right now... As a parent sometimes you have to let your children fight it out, and come together afterwards... I hate violence, I hate to read and see it, I wish they wouldn't result to that. Be grown enough to work out the differences, I guess that's why I'm an American and proud of the democracy we have here...

    June 16, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  119. andy (los angeles)

    you are right – tough question. i'm glad i don't have to make the decision. this is exactly why i wanted barack obama to be the president – so that an intelligent and geopolitically appropriate response would be made in these situations, not a brash and emotional one. at the moment, walking softly and carrying a big stick seems pretty good to me.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  120. oliver

    It cost us so much to remove Sadam. We had to fight the government and the people of Iraq. It would be so much easier to get rid of Ahmadi negad and the mollah's since we now have majority of people's support in Iran. What we should be asking is how we can use this situation to free a nation and remove a dictatorship from Middle East and cut off the support for hemas and make the world a better place.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  121. Paul Albert

    President Obama's lassez faire posture on the crisis in Iran is right at this time. We as Americans cannot be the sole cultural determinants of the world. As a fact we lack the moral gauntlet to vocalize our abhorrence about other people's elections when there is so much rabid, antiamerican sentiments about how hypocratic we are. Having we conducted elelctions in past years and created perceptions of vote rigging and partiality on the part of the Supreme Court?

    June 16, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  122. NIcole Gerson

    We should respond to Iran's disputed election the same way we expected them to respond to our disputed election in 2000. We should stay out of it. Their Guardian Council is probably as fair as our Supreme Court was.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:54 pm |
  123. Dave

    In the controversy of Iran's election, I think Obama's priority is the safety and security of all Americans, and he is making politically correct and moderate comments about that issue; the same are applied to his comments to the crisis of North Korea.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:54 pm |
  124. David

    We have to stay out of this. American intervention and cold-war politics messed this country up, more intervention won't make it any better.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:55 pm |
  125. bahram

    President Obama Wanted To Reach The Moderate Moslems in the world.One The easiest way to reach them is to support moderate moslem movement in Iran with taugh and clear position against any fruad in Iranian election.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:55 pm |
  126. Reza (an Iranian listener)

    I like the stance Mr. Obama has taken: Stay out of it, Let the "people power" and not police power (US.) take the lead, because it is the most effective one.
    To answer this critical question we need to answer a more critical question first: "What US. policy has worked against Iran for past 30 years?" Threat? Sanction? diplomacy? declaring war by threating NUC. facility bombardment? right, NONE.
    so, stay out of it and dont act like you HAVE to do somethingm, it is none of US. business.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:58 pm |
  127. JIM S

    There is nothing tha can be done. So far, there has been no proof the election was rigged. If it was, nothing will be done about it. Iran is a sovereign terrorist nation thanks to Jimmy Carter the Democrat. We are paying the price 30 years later.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  128. Morgan Janyja

    I think President Obama has not crossed the line when it comes to goverment intervention. I think he has only done what he feels neccessary for the good of the American people. As for the situation in Iran I think it's time that we had a president who chose to say "no" when it comes to inerfering with the political problems of other goverments. It's that sort of behaviour that has brought a negative image upon our country and caused people to view us as the "world police"

    June 16, 2009 at 5:59 pm |