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Bribing the Establishment

MEK, a controversial Iranian opposition group, has been on the US list of terrorist organizations since 1997.  The group says it renounced terror in 2001 and wants off the list.

I have no idea whether this would be a good thing or not.  The Iranian government hates the idea; some Iranian-Americans who support a softer US policy toward Tehran agree and say taking the group of the terror list would damage the democratic opposition movement in Iran.  In general it seems that Iran hawks think this is a good idea and doves hate it.

Presumably once off the list, the group would be eligible for US support in various ways; one can only speculate on the different forms cooperation might take.

But that’s not the main point.  Newspaper accounts tell us that this very well heeled group of Marxist-Leninist ex-terrorists has hired a fancy DC firm to help it get off the terror list, and the group is paying prominent American ex-officials to make speeches backing its goals. As journalist Anna Fields reports:

None would disclose how much they had been paid, but Ed Rendell, a former Pennsylvania governor, said he received $20,000 for an 11-minute speech.

“But even if I was paid $50,000, I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t believe in it,” he said.

It’s said that in the late, corrupt days of the Roman republic, the definition of an honest judge was that he would only accept a bribe from the side he had already decided to support.

Is that standard really good enough for the United States?  Is that what George Washington or Thomas Jefferson would have done?  Should we hold ourselves to a lower standard today?

Just asking…

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  • Winston

    As an Iranian expat, I would like to tell you that these people are hated inside of Iran. They’ll do to us Iranians what Pol Pot did to Cambodians. Many of would rather live under the tyranny of ayatollahs but will not trade them with the MEK Marxists. I hope the US State Dept does not remove them from the FTO list. ((Also watch for them calling me a regime agent here in a minute or two))…

  • WigWag

    Not sure why you are so hard on Governor Rendell, Professor Mead. After all he’s just following your advice and embracing the new economy as a value added intermediator.

    • Walter Russell Mead

      The key word there is “added”. Value subtracted is something else again.

  • Luke Lea

    I would also question the practice of ex ambassadors and ex Presidents accepting large sums of money from Saudi Arabia.

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