- The Washington Times - Monday, February 10, 2003

More than two centuries ago, June 23, 1793, a Reign of Terror broke out in France. Under the direction of a 12-member "Committee of Public Safety" and the bloodthirsty leadership of Maximilien Robespierre, thousands of people suspected of "treason" to the Revolution of 1789 were guillotined; more than 200,000 were arrested.
King Louis XVI was guillotined in January of that year after a great oration favoring the monarch's execution by Pierre Vergniaud, a leader of the moderate Girondist party. On Oct. 31, 1793, Vergniaud and other Girondist leaders were themselves executed, accused of being counterrevolutionaries. Well before he and other Girondists were guillotined, Vergniaud uttered a sentence that rings as true today as it was 210 years ago:
"The Revolution, like Saturn, is devouring its children."
The mythic Greek god cannibalized his children so they would not overthrow him as he had overthrown his own father in a search for power.
All revolutionaries are potential terrorists or victims and sometimes both. Such has been the history of most of the revolutions since 1789. V.I. Lenin didn't live long enough to purge his fellow revolutionaries, but Josef Stalin did. He killed virtually all of his party comrades: Leon Trotsky, Grigorii Zinoviev, Lev Kamenev, Nikolai Bukharin, Mikhail Tomsky, Sergey Kirov, the Soviet general staff including the heroic Marshal Mikhail Tukhachevsky, plus of course millions and millions more. Mao Tse-tung purged his party comrades: Some he killed, some he imprisoned and some just disappeared. Adolf Hitler purged his comrades in July 1934 in what is called the "Night of the Long Knives."
To maintain the so-called purity of the revolution, all revolutions, with few exceptions, create a reign of terror that denominates everybody as an enemy, particularly anyone who objects to the terror. "Does any man tremble as I speak?" thundered Maximilien Robespierre in an address to the Constituent Assembly during the French Revolution. "Then I say he is guilty."
William Blake expressed it best when he wrote:
The hand of Vengeance sought the bed
To which the purple tyrant fled;
The iron hand crush'd the tyrant's head,
And became a tyrant in his stead.

As for the American Revolution, which had no reign of terror, David Frum has put it well: "America has a genius for half-way revolutions, like the American Revolution itself, that produce social stability rather than social transformation." He points out that what we call the civil-rights revolution was a half-way revolution.
The most recent example of a Reign of Terror is to be found in Iran, described by the State Department as "the most dangerous state sponsor of terrorism." Fake trials throughout this country are followed by public hangings and floggings, stoning, torture and imprisonment, which are reported daily by international media.
Reuters on Jan. 30 reported that four men were hanged in public before dawn, and, said local justice department head Golasmreza Kholf-Rezai to the crowd gathered to see the condemned men swing on the gallows, "Such public hangings will serve as lesson for those who violate the law." Robespierre would certainly approve of such a warning.
This is how Iran is celebrating the 24th anniversary of its revolution. For it was on Feb. 11, 1979, that the shah's army surrendered to the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's revolutionaries, many of whom, if they're alive, are driving taxis in Washington, D.C.
The number of prisoners hanged or sentenced to death in January alone was 39, with 20 persons executed and 19 more to go. The executions have been carried out across the country. The daily Sedaye Edalat reported on Jan. 28 that three restaurant employees were flogged in public in Tehran. Another daily, Qods, reported that a man in Mashad was condemned to 99 lashes and 15 years in prison.
A senior commander of the paramilitary Bassij, a subsidiary arm of the Revolutionary Guards, announced that 223 people were arrested during an "extensive operation." He said such arrests would continue in the coming weeks (Jomhouri Eslami newspaper, Jan. 29).
The February death toll will be even worse, predicts the National Council of Resistance of Iran. This dissident group, headquartered on the Iraq-Iran border, is seeking the overthrow of the Iranian theocracy which, emboldened by the world's silence, is turning this country of 66 million people into a tomb.
Former Iranian President Ali Akhbar Rafsanjani conjectured Dec. 14, 2001, about what it would mean to use a nuclear bomb against Israel. This is how Mr. Rafsanjani is quoted in the English-language Iran News, Dec. 15:
"If one day the world of Islam comes to possess the weapons currently in Israel's possession [meaning nuclear weapons] on that day this method of global arrogance would come to a dead end. This is because the use of a nuclear bomb in Israel will leave nothing on the ground, whereas it will only damage the world of Islam."
It is speeches of this kind plus intelligence reports that have impelled the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to ask Iran to allow the U.N. to inspect its nuclear facilities to verify that Tehran is not secretly developing atomic weapons. IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei, according to Reuters, will go to Iran later this month with a team of U.N. experts to investigate Iran's nuclear intentions, as well as American allegations that Tehran is seeking to make nuclear weapons. The U.S. has charged that Iran intends to use the Russian-built Bushehr light-water reactor, as well as two new plants under construction, to develop nuclear weapons.
"That's a new authority given to us after the Iraq Gulf war, enabling us to do more, get more information and more access to facilities," said Mr. ElBaradei.
What gives the Iran regime permanent possession of the "axis of evil" trophy is its reign of terror and its drive for nuclear weapons. It would appear that Iran's ayatollahs would like to expand their reign of terror that they have imposed upon the afflicted Iranian people on the people of the Middle East and beyond.

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