Thanks, Rich, much appreciated. You say two important things. First, you have me say ”we should wage war on the governments of Iran and Syria.” That’s not exactly my point: the governments of Iran and Syria are waging war on us. “Iraq” is not the war, it’s only a part of it. War with Iran and Syria is not an option, it’s ‘on,’ because they chose to wage it. We can win or lose, but we can’t avoid it.
Then you say “I believe it is folly to think that we can create revolutions in Iran and Syria that will happen on a time-table quickly enough to help us in Iraq.” I’m not smart enough, nor sufficiently endowed with the gift of prophecy, to know that. Indeed, I don’t anybody is that smart or reliably prophetic. Revolutions are invariably surprises. I wrote a book in the mid-eighties, predicting that the Soviet Union would fall, and yet I was amazed when (and how) it happened. Most every serious scholar I know who has studied revolutions concurs with this. Sometimes they happen very quickly. The Orange Revolution in the Ukraine was, I believe, impossible to detect even six months before it happened. And of course there’s the famous National Intelligence Estimate from the CIA four months before the Hungarian Uprising (a failed revolution) confidently saying “there is no anti communist underground in Hungary.”
In Iran, it is hardly necessary to “create” a revolution. The country is riven by revolutionary tensions, and the regime knows it. If we had supported revolution in the summer of 2003 it might well have succeeded. Instead, we bailed. I hope it can succeed quickly, but I don’t know if it can. That depends on lots of things.
But whatever you may think about timing, we should certainly support the Iranian pro-democracy people, because it’s a better option than invasion and/or mass bombing. Our current non-policy will eventually leave us with a choice between appeasement and bombing. Nobody should want that.
One more time: we must think in terms of the real war, which currently runs from Afghanistan across Iran to Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Somalia, and very soon to Kenya and Ethiopea. The question of more or less troops in Baghdad or Anbar is sub-strategic, because it doesn’t adress the main mission, which has to be: win the war. When you have a strategy to win the war, then questions like ‘more troops’ can be properly evaluated, in context.