Tuesday, April 11, 2006


In the latest episode of Mark Steyn's tragic (for us) public obssession with manly manliness, he takes us on a tour of of the many bad things about Iran. If you enjoy the sort of alliteration-happy prose found in high school literary journals, or if you that think mocking hard-to-pronounce foreign surnames is the height of humor, then by all means read it. I don't think I'm spoiling anything, however, when I say it's all just a prelude to this:
Once again, we face a choice between bad and worse options. There can be no "surgical" strike in any meaningful sense: Iran’s clients on the ground will retaliate in Iraq, Lebanon, Israel, and Europe. Nor should we put much stock in the country’s allegedly "pro-American" youth. This shouldn’t be a touchy-feely nation-building exercise: rehabilitation may be a bonus, but the primary objective should be punishment—and incarceration. It’s up to the Iranian people how nutty a government they want to live with, but extraterritorial nuttiness has to be shown not to pay. That means swift, massive, devastating force that decapitates the regime—but no occupation.

The cost of de-nuking Iran will be high now but significantly higher with every year it’s postponed. The lesson of the Danish cartoons is the clearest reminder that what is at stake here is the credibility of our civilization. Whether or not we end the nuclearization of the Islamic Republic will be an act that defines our time.

Apparently, in Steyn's view, the real problem with the Iraq invasion was...the occupation. If only we'd have just split out of there right after the Mission Accomplished photo op, we wouldn't be in such trouble right now (except that we're not in trouble, because everything is going great in Iraq. Has he mentioned that Ward Churchill hates America?)

Having arrived at the new (for him) position that Iran has genuine democracy, instead of cleric-controlled pseudo-democracy, Steyn insists the Iranian people must be punished for the alleged actions of Iran's alleged clients in response to an attck by the United States which hasn't occurred yet, but that Steyn really hopes does. Cheers!

Here's James Fallows, a writer who, quite unlike Mark Steyn, has a record of being right about these sorts of things, on why bombing Iran would not be a good idea.

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