This has been obvious for a long time anyway, and I don't understand why the Bush Administration has been so slow to respond. Nor do I think that high-profile diplomacy, or an invasion, is an appropriate response. We should be responding quietly, killing radical mullahs and iranian atomic scientists, supporting the simmering insurgencies within Iran, putting the mullahs' expat business interests out of business, etc.
I mean, how is this going to work? We're talking, presumably, about the clandestine branches of the same intelligence agencies who can't decide what the state of the Iranian nuclear program is, don't know where Iran's nuclear facilities are, and are unsure who, if anyone, in the Iranian government is responsible for Iranian weapons winding up in Iraq. Nevertheless, Reynolds believes they have an off-the-shelf plan for placing assasins in close proximity to key Iranian nuclear scientists. But not only for doing this, but for doing it quietly! American agents are infiltrating Iran killing Iranian scientists and religious leaders and none of them get caught. How? Are there really dozens of Farsi-speaking ninjas working for the CIA? I was going to compare this to a fun-but-stupid movie like The Bourne Identity but the point of that movie (and its sequal) is actually that if you somehow did build a hyper-competent utterly secret government agency it would likely become a cesspool of corruption and abuses of power."
Well said. A few further comments:
1. I have no idea what "high-profile diplomacy" means. Perhaps Reynolds means that he does not endorse high-level diplomacy, wherein actual decisionmakers meet. I continue to be befuddled by this reaction, which is common to certain post-9/11 "everything changed" bloggers (as well as portions of the Bush Administration). There certainly are situations in which nothing can be gained by high-level diplomacy, and thus it shouldn't occur. The assumption that high-level diplomacy is generally a sign of weakness, however, is simply wrong -- unless you view Kennedy, Nixon, and Reagan as generally weak presidents.
2. Assume that the government would like to do all the things that Reynolds would like to do -- viz., "killing radical mullahs [charitably assuming he means those who threaten the US or its interests; I don't endorse just going around and killing radicals] and iranian atomic scientists, supporting the simmering insurgencies within Iran, putting the mullahs' expat business interests out of business." The question is not what it (or we) would like, but what can be done given the finite resources available, the competence of government, and the risks created by a (multi) adversarial game -- as well as how we do it.
3. Also glaringly absent from the Reynoldian utopia is any notion of what would happen in the wake of these things that we would like to happen. Or, frankly, any demonstrated education relevant to, or history of, his or Mr. Hewitt's abilities to make such predictions.
We're in the "I want a pony" realm of foreign policy, wherein the US can do anything and it's free too. Given that the last round of I-want-a-pony (a round that I supported, incidentally) resulted in a not-so-good outcome in Iraq, I'm hesitant to buck history again and support Reynolds' pony-wanting on Iran.