No one wants an all-out war with Iran. Americans have no interest in invading and occupying another Muslim country — least of all Iran. Its rich culture and sophisticated populace provide grounds for hope that we can have cordial relations with Iran in the future. But the current impediment to cordial relations, and the reason nuclear weapons would be intolerable, is the regime. It is one of the world’s most despicable governments, and it is incorrigibly anti-American.
So, of course our goal should be regime change. No, we do not want to invade to achieve it, but it should still be our objective. The president should not be shy about saying so, or about turning all levers of government power (political, diplomatic, legal, and covert, as well as military and financial) in that direction. It would be a good way of setting expectations for the mullahs, for the craven European governments that want us to appease the mullahs, and for the Iranian people we would like to see rise up against the mullahs.
And the president should drop the nonsense about “disproportionate” attacks and “endless wars.” If he is really serious about stopping Tehran from developing nukes, then he must convince the regime that he is keeping all options on the table — especially the ones he hopes never to use.