Quite aside from the nuances of counterinsurgency warfare, nothing would so advance the cause of peace as the fall of the regime in Tehran, and its replacement by a government designed and elected by the Iranian people. I have long believed that can be accomplished peacefully, by supporting a non-violent democratic revolution in Iran. No American president in the last thirty years has attempted it, and most of them have acted as if they were actually afraid of supporting freedom for Iranians. A young Iranian blogger, upon hearing Obama’s love video to the mullahs, reacted with an elegant mixture of sadness and pride:
…people have been tortured on the charges of having connections with the United States. Some have been silent thinking you will come to their rescue. At least Bush had the honesty to separate this regime from the people. How easy you play with the people card. Please do not talk about our people anymore. Engage the regime and leave us alone. We will free Iran, even when you are helping this occupying regime…
That’s the key issue. It should come naturally to any American president, but it doesn’t. I fear we’re going to pay a terrible price for this deliberate refusal to see evil right in front of our noses. Negotiations are a very long shot, and sanctions have never compelled an enemy to change its policy. If we do not support revolution, we will most likely get war, a war far greater and far more lethal than the one the mullahs have been waging against us since 1979.
UPDATE: See this Melanie Phillips column (via David Foster).