"Even a loser can win when he's up against a defeatist"
Like many other nonexperts, I have been wrestling with what to think about U.S. policy towards Iran. Mark Steyn has a lengthy, but very interesting piece in the City Journal entitled, Facing Down Iran: Our lives depend on it. What makes it particularly interesting is its attempt at a "big picture" analysis of the past 25 years or so. It is too long to summarize here, or even to select a representative quote. It's a lot more substantive than this conclusion:
Once again, we face a choice between bad and worse options. There can be no "surgical" strike in any meaningful sense: Iran's clients on the ground will retaliate in Iraq, Lebanon, Israel, and Europe. Nor should we put much stock in the country's allegedly "pro-American" youth. This shouldn't be a touchy-feely nation-building exercise: rehabilitation may be a bonus, but the primary objective should be punishment—and incarceration. It's up to the Iranian people how nutty a government they want to live with, but extraterritorial nuttiness has to be shown not to pay. That means swift, massive, devastating force that decapitates the regime—but no occupation.

The cost of de-nuking Iran will be high now but significantly higher with every year it's postponed. The lesson of the Danish cartoons is the clearest reminder that what is at stake here is the credibility of our civilization. Whether or not we end the nuclearization of the Islamic Republic will be an act that defines our time.
It paints a very credible scary picture, and I am opening comments for those who can find fault with his analysis. ("Bush = Ahmadinejad" is not a credible response.) I am really only interested in hearing civil comments by people who have read the whole thing, not just the above excerpt from his conclusion. And I am not particularly interested in casting blame for the situation, or assertions that Iraq has made things worse. I am concerned with what is to be done now and where, if anywhere, his narrative goes wrong.