Courage, don't go nuts over that poll. I think it was a Zogby poll, which is completely untrustworthy and uses a strange methodology.
The reason I never thought it would happen was simple. Not because our troops were stretched thin, but because Iran holds REAL elections. In fact during the mid terms Ahmadinajad's party was voted out EN MASSE and Ahmadinajad's own approval ratings are Bush level. People torched the gas stations after the last gas hike an blamed Ahmadinajad for failure to refine more locally. After his laughable interviews in America Iranian college students carried signs saying "death to the dictator" in Farsi. Now people are blaming his increased rhetoric and nuclear program with bringing harsh sanctions on the country severely hurting their economy and the average worker. He may not even serve out the last two years of his term befor the people demand a recall election. And whoever replaced him will likely be far less extreme in the same direction as him.
I think you make a great argument for not pursuing a regime change there. They have a long history of kicking the bums out in Persia, and they'll eventually do the same to this cult.
But don't get excited about public protests and elections. The problem with the Republicans and some other Western critics is thatthey have turned Ahmadinejad into something he is not. Now, the Left has decided to engage in an equally disingenuous campaign by arguing that he's completely powerless. Neither is the case.
But we make a mistake if we look at a presidential race there and view it as a fresh regime. Whatever happens in the majlis (their parliament) is checked and verified by agents of the Supreme Leader, the Guardians Council. To run for office in Iran, you must first qualify through Revolutionary channels.
And their "moderates" are not our moderates. Rafsanjani, while being credited as a more moderating voice, is still an extremist twelver. He still helped his Ayatollah defend the "Revolution" in the 80's against Iraq, a brutal and inhumane war. Political assassinations against dissidents and Jews took place all around the world while he was president of the country, and it's rather likely that the vacuous Mohammad khatami was carted out to take his place all in show, all thought up by the Ayatollah.
They love the Western concept of so-called moderates, because every decade or so, they can prop one of them up and say "see, we are making progress!"
It's a sad state of affairs, and my heart goes out to those people. They deserve better than the bloddy and oppressive history they've been given (which of course predates the revolution).
But if we're talking U.S. security, then we needn't concern ourselves with those citizens. We have three concerns: 1. Iran's nuclear program, 2. Iran's role in Iraq, and 3. the least mentioned, their state-sponsored support of global terrorism.
So, what do we do? Well we don't listen to retards like Geggy who probably think the program is peaceful. If the program was peaceful, if they had nothing to hide, they wouldn't have delt with the IAEA. The UN has become a classic stalling mechanism for petty dictatorships. If they simply wanted nuclear energy, they would've taken up the Russian offer from over a year ago to supply them with it. If they wanted to improve their economy, they would've optioned for the EU/Western offer to join the WTO in 2005.
They don't want this. What they want is security and license to be a regional hegemon. A bomb would grant them this. Even critics of an attack who have a brain acknowledge this (which would exclude Geggy). So, while regime change in my mind shouldn't be our policy, an attack should remain on the table.
The West's hesitation about tihs strikes me as rather odd. President Clinton dropped bombs all over the muslim world in the 90's, often against terrorism. But now, for some reason, bombing Iran's nuclear and military sites would be a casus belli. The Muslim world would rise up in anger or something, and our troops in Iraq would be under tremendous fire. News flash, THEY ALREADY ARE. And I'd like to see Irans Revolutionary Guard mobilize the citizen army they boast. I think it would tell us more about Iran than it would us. I think you'd see unrest against Tehran (and let's be realistic...Qom).