Saturday, February 04, 2006
Brownback: U.S. must fund Iran groups
WASHINGTON, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- A top Republican lawmaker Thursday called for a tenfold increase in U.S. aid to support democratic change and human rights inside Iran.
In a speech at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., called for U.S. aid to be increased from $10 million to $100 million this year.
"This is a pittance compared to the problem," said Brownback, "This Iranian government, even without nuclear weapons, is a viscous tyrant."
"Regime change can happen from within in Iran and I am confident that the Iranian people can champion their own future if given half a chance," he said.
Brownback said the United States must support independent human rights groups in Iran who have denounced terrorism and the regime. He said Washington - with U.N. and European Union help -- should send a special envoy to Iran to discuss human rights. He also said the World Bank should stop lending money to Iran.
"There is a two-track solution to the crisis in Iran -- external and internal -- and we have a strong role to play in both," he said.
Brownback said the United States would have to work creatively to fund Iranians while minimizing the danger of those working to promote democratic change in Iran.
United Press Inat'l
This is something that is not getting the Press it needs to get. For instance, one of the best -- and cheapest -- forms of persuasion during the Cold War was Radio Free Europe and its various branches, operated by the CIA and funded by Congress.
This simple radio station was the avenue of information for millions of people yearning to be free, information that their own governments would not allow them to hear. It was a great way to get pro-American and pro-democracy stories and programs to those oppressed peoples and it helped them plan and understand their way to libery.
We MUST do the same in the Middle East in this age of terrorism. For little money (compared to invasions or military means) and with little threat to personnel we can beam a message of hope into the oppressed lands.
And we shouldn't only target Iran with these messages, though Iran is most important right now. The Saudis are also a good target as is Libya and Syria.
But, certainly, Iran is the top target. It is well known that the Iranian people are chaffing under the reign of the mad Mullahs and a Radio Free Mid East is the least we could do to help them foment the overthrow of these religious Nazis.
I say, good on you Sam Brownback! We all should send him a note of encouragement. Contact his office at:http://brownback.senate.gov/
-Warner Todd Huston