Michael Totten (via WWIV Daily) is in Iraq, reporting on what the inhabitants of Iran's theocracy really think:
The Iraqi Kurds I met who have been to Iran wanted me to know – and they want you to know, as well – that the distance between the Iranian people and their hideous regime is galactic. I heard the same refrain over and over again: “Persians are just like us.” In other words, they are liberal, secular, pro-Western, and fed up with tyrants. “Iranians love America,” the Kurds told me. “They have nothing to do with Ahmadinejad.”
This jives well with much of what I have heard; that Iranians are very pro-Western, believe in democracy and have a healthy admiration for America (rumor has it that they are very pro-Israel as well; a combination of rebellion against the regime and a way to seperate themselves from the Arabs of the region). It is why we must proceed with caution; for we are dealing with a dangerous regime ruling over citizens whom, given an option, would ally themselves with the U.S. in a heartbeat.
Nevertheless, we must proceed. The Kingdom of Chaos has Iranian war plans, and some concerns:
The effort would be run by one consolidated operational headquarters, integrating Pasdaran missile units (equipped with C-801 and C-802 Chinese anti-ship cruise missiles), as well as Shahab-3 and Shahab-4 IRBM’s, mines (including tethered bottom-mines that could sink an aircraft carrier), fast-attack boats equipped with rockets, machine guns and Sagger anti-tank missiles (fine for use on merchantmen and destroyer-sized warships), as well as chemical, biological and nuclear (CBN) weapons. Apparently target lists include Saudi oil production and export centres.
...An accompanying map apparently identifies “mass kill zones” “where Iranian strategists believe [that] they can decimate a U.S. led invasion force before it actually enters the Persian Gulf.” The Iranian military seems plenty big and tough -- much better and more effective than it was in the long ago Iran-Iraq War. Institutionally, it seems to have absorbed the lessons of that conflict, as well as the two Gulf Wars, and the US intervention in Kosovo...
The Iranian military has capable staff and intelligence officers. I wonder what threshold the planners are working with: i.e., how far they think they can go ? Sinking aircraft carriers ? Attacking Saudi oil fields ? Leaving their nutty president aside, do the Iranians want to get nuked ? Just how much mayhem can the Iranians get away with in their "mass kill zones" before Uncle Sam starts raining nuclear weapons on them?
We are at a very, very dangerous place, just now. If the Iranians are foolish, they will take our President's sinking poll numbers, and our happy UN talk, much too much to heart. They may be fooled into thinking they have a free hand, and assume the edge of acceptable behavior is further away than it is. We are already teetering on the abyss. It is easy to forget how much power a President has over the decision to resort to arms. If the Iranians underestimate this President, there is a strong probability that a lot of people are going to wind up very dead.
Meanwhile, today's New York Slimes tries frantically to buy some time for the Iranian government:
...behind the sense of immediate alarm lies a more complex picture of Iran's nuclear potential. Interviews with many of the world's leading nuclear analysts and a review of technical assessments show that Iran continues to wrestle with serious problems that have slowed its nuclear ambitions for more than two decades.
Obstacles, the experts say, remain at virtually every step on the atomic road...
Sow how do we move on this one? For a fourth view, I'd like to ask the fellows below what they think; but as they are homosexuals living under an Islamist regime, well...