Washington Post by the administration and the National Security Council that US forces are now authorized to kill Iranian operatives, military and intelligence, working in Iraq. This is a change from the old policy of "catch and release," whereby the US military detained Iranian operatives for a few days to spook them. The idea is to ultimately change the diplomatic as well as the overall strategic equation with Iran, to strip Teheran of its triumphalism.
The American people and its elected representatives should be asking a lot of questions about this policy. Is this the best way to pressure an Iran that is frighteningly recalcitrant on the nuclear issue? What is the endgame? One thing that is far too unclear -- even to Condoleezza Rice, it seems -- is the nature of political oversight here. On the other hand, to what extent are US military personnel on the ground willing and prepared to implement the strategy? Most troubling is the program's origins in heady planning sessions led by, among others, the national security advisor Elliot Abrams, the Administration's notorious pointman on the Middle East. The notion of pushing an image of Iran on the public as a central foe in the War on Terror, with tentacles stretching from Kabul to Beirut, occurred to Abrams et. al. during last summer's Lebanon War. Not that these "tentacles" don't exist, but I confess, I'm not entirely intoxicated by this...what a way to proceed with one of the fundamental foreign policy challenges of our time!