The Democratic Party is in a shambles over the Iran question. Marc Ginsberg, former U.S. Ambassador to Morocco under Clinton, has just used the pages of the I-thought-it-was-liberal Huffington Post to try and undermine Leon Panetta's reluctance to use force against Iran, and to push a policy of internationally illegal assassinations, sabotage, and covert war against Iran:
when the Secretary of Defense bares his understandable hesitations against the use of military force, which he did last Friday -- no matter how meritorious they are -- it only undermines the signals his administration is broadcasting...
More robust and coordinated covert action by western and Arab nations against Iran's nuclear facilities must become an urgent priority. Mysterious computer viruses such as the Stuxnet worm, undeniably set back Iran's spinning uranium enrichment centrifuges. But their success was short lived. Assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists may have created a climate of fear, but also have not prevented Iran from moving more quickly to its finish line.
Last week's "accidental" explosion which destroyed one of Iran's largest solid-fuel missile construction bases was a gift that may keep on giving. It not only killed a key Revolutionary Guard commander in charge of missile solid fuel rocket development, the explosion also compels Iran to rely more on liquid fuel missiles that are easier to detect on the ground via satellite surveillance.
The escalating use of stealth drones conducting surveillance above Iran is an indication that the administration is not reluctant to push the covert envelope. The question is what to do with the treasure trove of data the drone surveillance program yielded?
Accidents do happen. Bigger "accidents" are needed. Rather than relying further on economic sanctions, we need a more effective "accidents regime" that may do what economic sanctions have failed to do. Of course, Iran has demonstrated a huge tolerance for international isolation and economic pain. There is no assurance that escalating covert action will achieve a better outcome than economic sanctions... but its worth the risk given the stakes involved.
There are targets aplenty throughout Iran, including remote pipelines, ships bound for Iran supplying oil distillates, banking computer networks, and aviation facilities. And the regime has a lot of enemies, including many of its own citizens to do the dirty work. No return U.S. address needed.