We should have done nothing
Of course we can’t know if doing nothing is ever the better choice or not. But we can look at some facts.
The first is about the ethics/morality. Life is about choices and direction; do you want to move towards a better world, or allow/support evil in the name of impotence or tolerance? Americans choose the former, Europeans have a tendency to choose the latter. So they look at everything we’ve touched as tainted, and look for everything wrong to place blame on us. We compare what was to what is (or the intelligent half of our population does).
Let’s look at the past some. I have no doubt that if we left Hitler alone, he would have eventually exhausted his or his empires resources and collapsed like the Greek, Roman, Ottoman empire, Ghengis Khan, Alaexander, and all the others before him. The same for Hirohito and Japan. But at what cost, and how long? He quite easily could have consolidated power, and probably found a balance that would have out-lasted his lifetime.
So it is possible that it could have lasted his thousand years. Un-likely, but possible. Most likely, it would have gone to a generation or three and collapsed under it's own weight like the USSR.
But again, at what costs?
Do you think it would have been better to save 407,000 American lives and is it out? Why not?
Reason is about weighing the likely costs of the future with the risks in the present. Were the lives that would have been lost in the future of the third Reich worth waiting them out? We didn't think so, but the isolationists had a point. So they were saying the same exact things about Europe in WWII, that Europe tells us about Iraq or Iran today. Depending on your view, it's a good thing (or not) that we didn’t listen.
Let’s look at the future.
Will stalling until Iran and the fanatical mullah's have the bomb, be better or worse, more stabilizing and safer for the world? We learned the hard way the costs of waiting too long.
I doubt Iran will give the bomb to fanatical terrorists when they get it. They see it more as a way to protect against us. But it is a high risk. Americans get pissed when we loose 3,500 people in a couple buildings -- what do you think would happen if someone popped a nuke or a bio agent and got 100,000 or 3,000,000? I would not want to find out.
Europe ignores that if they would work with us now, as we begged for in Iraq, we could end it (or increase the likelihood that it would end the right way).
With Iraq, Europe worked against us, eliminating our choices and forcing us to act or accept the alternative. (And of course they blame us for it and accept little responsibility). But the same is happening in Iran. We can see this coming, and are trying to do something about it. We are not abusing our power. Bombing the shit out of all of Iran's nuclear facilities at the first sign of a threat would be. We're patient. But Iran is pushing the crisis to a head and Europe is helping them with complicity. The French act like the enemy of my enemy is my friend; and because they hate us, they must be good. But they ignore that Iranian missiles can reach Europe, and if Iran starts something with Israel, the whole middle east will be involved.
We've been trying to work with the U.N. And IAOC for the last 20 years. That's not unilateral Imperialism. But ignoring the problem, or thinking you can reward Iran into playing nice (with no costs or consequences) is daft. Put a daisy in your enemies gun, and he's likely to blow your head off. Negotiation requires the carrot and the stick -- reward for the right behavior but consequences for the wrong one. The further towards only using the carrot you go, the more we have to go the other way to balance the world and make things right. Sadly, Europeans refuse to see the nature of the world -- the Tao (Yin and Yang) and the actions they do, that causes us to act the way that we do.
We can’t know where it is going to go. But what is happening in Iran is another ver- sion of exactly what happened in Iraq. Right now we're playing bad cop, to Europe's good cop. We're OK with that -- as long as we get the results we need to get. (Iran to stop the world endangering behavior). We realize Europe is being Naïve and stupid, as they have a long history of denial about the depth of problems with evil dictators. History has repeatedly proven that our view is better than theirs. But that doesn't mean we are always right, just statistically the view Europe is taking is higher risk. The views we are taking is more expensive in the short term, but probably less expensive in the long one. War isn't only about the current conflict, but the future. What does this say to the world about dealing with us. What did we fight for, what did we fight against. Other try to twist that to vilify us, but that doesn’t change what is, just what they want to see.
Now let’s look at the present in Iraq today and honestly compare it to Saddam’s regime. Udai and Kusai. The prison purges, starvation, torture, disease, the oil-for-weapons, the eroding infrastructure, a terror belt extending from the Mediterranean sea to Afghanistan. If you really can’t see that at least now there’s some hope or some improvement, then the conversation is over. Or as they say, “Never try to teach a pig a sing. It wastes your time and just annoys the pig”.