Hardcore Twitter users like myself will have noticed a rash of green icons in the aftermath of the Iranian elections; in fact, you can automate your hue

I’m skeptical, though for not entirely rational reasons. One of the pundits who kicked off the greening is Andrew Sullivan, who has an insufferable and rather self-indulgent tendency to run off half-cocked at romantic-seeming causes, and whom I don’t really trust on issues more complex than like being against torture. It’s worth recalling that he once and not so long ago condemned the anti-war left as akin to traitors, so his adoption as a voice of reason is perplexing. Watch your back, is all I’m saying.*

Anyway, there are more rational reasons to approach this little gesture with caution. 

Ben Dueholm: “I must have been in the john when Hashemi Rafsanjani [formerly Ayatollah Khomeini’s commander-in-chief] went from being a genocidal madman to the patron of Iranian liberalism.”

Daniel Larison (who is an absolute must-read on the issue, and how many times must I repeat that any publication that wants to be on the ground floor of the next conservatism should check him out?): “Given all of this, the readiness with which almost everyone in the West seems to be accepting the ‘coup’ explanation is rather worrisome. It is similar to the lockstep consensus on the ‘Iraqi threat’ six years ago that made war all but inevitable, and it is similar to our political class’ certainty last year that Georgia was merely an innocent victim of ‘Russian aggression,’ which has been found again and again to be false. The ‘coup’ in Iran is becoming one of those things that ‘everyone knows,’ and as we have seen more than a few times in the past the things that ‘everyone knows’ are not always true.”

UWisc math prof Jordan Ellenburg: “I’m not saying the election wasn’t fixed; Juan Cole and Richard Sexton offer more reasons for doubting the government’s numbers. On the other side, Ken Ballen and Patrick Doherty argue that their pre-election polling is consistent with a big Ahmadinejad win. Either way, the final verdict on the Iranian election won’t be settled by drawing a graph. The official numbers may or not be authentic, but they’re definitely messy enough to be true.”

If there’s an upshot to the greening of blogs and Twitter, not to mention all the chatter generally, it’s that it seems to have forced the hand of media organizations, which are famously cutting back on foreign coverage, and hopefully convinced them that there’s still quite a bit of interest out there in overseas reportage, even if some of the reasons for it could be less awesome than they seem.

I dunno, honestly. I’m just trying to play catch-up and read what I can.

* Here’s a great example of why, from Ben Dueholm’s post linked above: “Sullivan says that Mousavi has been clever ‘to coopt the rhetoric of the revolution and to appeal to religious sensibilities.’ Since Mousavi was Prime Minister from 1981-89, one imagines that ‘coopting’ is not quite the right verb in this case.”