Regime change

Michael Ledeen equates the critics of Bush war in Iraq with the critics of Israel's war in Lebanon at National Review Online. But I think in one case (with the Israel critics), the disappointment is that the war was not won or conducted more aggressively. In the case of most critics of the Iraq war, they never believed that was should have been fought, and they would have attacked the President for something else, if there had been no Iraq.

While I agree with Ledeen that until Iran and Syria are neutralized as forces of instability at war with the West, each of the little wars is only a battle in the larger fight. But Ledeen seems to believe that regime change will just happen in these countries if enough political tools are applied (support of dissidents, trade unions, alternative media, etc). 

Confidence that this approach will succeed ignores the historical ruthlessness of these regimes in dealing with domestic opposition. The slaughter of the residents in the town of Hama by Hafez Assad in the early 80s is the way dissent is handled in Syria, and the Chinese response to Tiananmen is likely to be a model for how Iran and Syria respond to any serious domestic opposition today. 

Ledeen calls for regime change without war in Syria and Iran, while diminishing the importance of each front in the hot war that's being fought between Iran's proxy armies and our side. Congressman Mark Kirk has suggested that if Iran does not abandon its nuclear program, a naval blockade would be very effective, since Iran imports almost half of its gasoline, despite being a major oil producer. Such is the economic impotency of the regime.  That might spur more domestic instability for the regime than any Radio Free Iran messages would. Would Iran risk war with the US directly over its nuclear program?

Richard Baehr   8 14 06

Michael Ledeen equates the critics of Bush war in Iraq with the critics of Israel's war in Lebanon at National Review Online. But I think in one case (with the Israel critics), the disappointment is that the war was not won or conducted more aggressively. In the case of most critics of the Iraq war, they never believed that was should have been fought, and they would have attacked the President for something else, if there had been no Iraq.

While I agree with Ledeen that until Iran and Syria are neutralized as forces of instability at war with the West, each of the little wars is only a battle in the larger fight. But Ledeen seems to believe that regime change will just happen in these countries if enough political tools are applied (support of dissidents, trade unions, alternative media, etc). 

Confidence that this approach will succeed ignores the historical ruthlessness of these regimes in dealing with domestic opposition. The slaughter of the residents in the town of Hama by Hafez Assad in the early 80s is the way dissent is handled in Syria, and the Chinese response to Tiananmen is likely to be a model for how Iran and Syria respond to any serious domestic opposition today. 

Ledeen calls for regime change without war in Syria and Iran, while diminishing the importance of each front in the hot war that's being fought between Iran's proxy armies and our side. Congressman Mark Kirk has suggested that if Iran does not abandon its nuclear program, a naval blockade would be very effective, since Iran imports almost half of its gasoline, despite being a major oil producer. Such is the economic impotency of the regime.  That might spur more domestic instability for the regime than any Radio Free Iran messages would. Would Iran risk war with the US directly over its nuclear program?

Richard Baehr   8 14 06