The Wall Street Journal reports that Hosni Mubarak gave his Minister of the Interior an order to use live ammunition to disperse crowds of protesters. Nothing could be more damning for Mr. Mubarak. Asking his police to shoot and kill his own people is unforgiveable.
No one wants to see chaos in Egypt. But the United States certainly cannot continue to support a dictatorship there, or in other nations in the Middle East. Nor can it allow radical groups like the Muslim Brotherhood to seize control amid the chaos. A concerted effort must be made to empower those aching for freedom in Egypt, and across the Middle East. What the world is witnessing in the Middle East could shape the next 20 years as the fall of the Berlin wall and the revolutions of Eastern Europe shaped the last 20 years.
After the fall of the Berlin wall, the U.S. made the mistake of allowing dictatorships to live on in places like Belarus, where even today the “last pure European dictatorship” still exists. In that country Alexander Lukashenko rules with an iron fist, and a totalitarianism that has no place in modern Europe.
One of the best ways the administration of President Barack Obama can help Egyptians is to legitimize moderate influences in the country, and to cease providing political cover and succor to the Muslim Brotherhood. Andrew C. McCarthy wrote in the National Review that:
The Obama administration has courted Egyptian Islamists from the start. It invited the Muslim Brotherhood to the president’s 2009 Cairo speech, even though the organization is officially banned in Egypt. It has rolled out the red carpet to the Brotherhood’s Islamist infrastructure in the U.S. — CAIR, the Muslim American Society, the Islamic Society of North America, the Ground Zero mosque activists — even though many of them have a documented history of Hamas support. To be sure, the current administration has not been singular in this regard. The courting of Ikhwan-allied Islamists has been a bipartisan project since the early 1990s, and elements of the intelligence community and the State Department have long agitated for a license to cultivate the Brotherhood overtly.
Any willingness among the administration to work with radical Muslim elements must be snuffed out immediately. The American people should not stand for it, and the administration simply shouldn’t think of it. But America must stand with the Egyptians seeking freedom. As Pat Buchanan writes, “No, the United States is not hated across the region because of the freedoms we enjoy or even because of the lectures on democracy we do not cease to deliver. We are hated because we are perceived as hypocrites who say one thing and do another.” The hypocrisy in the region must end.