If we limit out goals in Iran and Syria to knocking them out of the terror game and don’t try to rebuild their societies from the ground up, we can do so relatively easily by crushing the ability of Iran to threaten Persian Gulf shipping and by taking out its refineries. Ironically, Iran is oil-rich, but gas-poor.
Coalition air strikes targeting the Iranian Navy, refineries, and other key targets could bring the mullacracy to it’s knees within weeks, without the significant use of U.S. ground forces, and only a (relatively minor) projection of air power. A U.S. Navy blockade of Oman would keep Iran from importing the gasoline it needs to survive.
Syria, minus Iranian support, would be even easier to destabilize.
Take Syria and Iran out of the terror game, and Hezbollah begins to falter in Lebanon, giving Lebanese democracy a chance. Take Syria and Iran out of the terror game, and Israeli citizens wouldn’t have to worry about Hezbollah’s ability to so quickly rearm and instigate another war.
Take Syria and Iran out of the terror game, and manpower, weaponry, and funding for al Qaeda in Iraq begins to abate, as the growing number of Sunni tribes embracing the Sahawa movement hunt down and kill foreign fighters. Take Syria and Iran our out of the terror game, and Muqtada al-Sadr, the thug-leader of Shiites in the Baghdad slums, suddenly finds his Medhi Army militia without new munitions, or training, or financial support, and as his capability as a military threat fades, so does his political power.
You would think after all of the “Iraq is going to be a cakewalk” rah-rahism, these guys would get a clue that Middle East destabilization is not a necessarily a “plan” so much as a “uncontrollable downhill-rolling fuck-up of epic and far-reaching scale”.
But, no. And Gomer even has his Apocalypse Somebody-Else t-shirt ready to be printed up at the mall:
You would negotiate with the wolf to be eaten last; I seek to see him starved.
Ooooooo. I bet he practices saying that in front of the mirror, putting the emphasis on different words so he can dazzle the guys over in camping gear.
And he would starve the wolf if only it weren’t for that trick knee….