A common theme has sprung up among certain liberal commentators in reaction to this week’s events in Iran. Taking their cue from President Obama’s cautious, equivocal statement about the Iranian election and his calculated refusal to offer the democracy protesters his full-throated support, pundits have given utterance to the following sentiment: Who are we, sullied as we are by the past eight years of inhumanity abroad and by other instances of meddling in the affairs of foreign countries, to speak out on behalf of democracy? How dare we.

A particularly unadulterated sample of this theme can be found in this column in Time, which another pundit approvingly cited as an exposé of the “ignorance and arrogance” of Charles Krauthammer and Paul Wolfowitz, full-throated democracy supporters both, one of whom “pioneered torture” and the other of whom advocated “pulverizing Gaza.”

It follows logically from the shamefaced repudiation of America that if we do speak up in support of beleaguered democrats and provoke the tyrants into violence against them, we are the ones to blame. As the Time column warns, “You don’t want the blood to be on your hands.” (Your hands, not the tyrants’.)

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