But there is another, far more effective option: go wide.

Going wide means recognizing that Iraq is just one front in a regional war against an Islamist Axis centered in Iran–and we cannot win that war without confronting the enemy directly, outside of Iraq. ~Robert Tracinski

The constant insistence that Syria and Iran are fueling what is happening in Iraq is a different form of the same, tired spiel that “foreign fighters” were the ones promoting all the carnage.  Instead of “foreign fighters,” we are now told that “foreign sponsors” are primarily responsible for the chaos in Iraq.  Just “take out” those sponsors, the thinking seems to be, and Iraq will be pacified fairly quickly.  Never mind that practical options for an effective military operation against Iran do not really exist (the Syrian regime may be more brittle and easier to break, but what comes after is, again, not something these fools have thought about at all).  Never mind the colossal economic and political costs of inaugurating a blatantly aggressive war against a major trading partner of at least three nuclear-armed major powers.  Russia, China and India all have strong interests in Iran’s security.  we potentially jeopardise our newfound good relations with New Delhi and might invite some serious Chinese action against our interests if we try to wreak havoc in the country responsible for a large part of their oil imports.  Much of the rest of the world does business with Iran and most other major governments do not reflexively regard it as a serious threat.  Few outside the United States give much credit to the idea that Iran is responsible to any large degree for what is happening in Iraq today.  Consequently, they will see any American attack on Iran as pure aggression and madness.   

For a time even the most dedicated jingoes learned that talking about “foreign fighters,” who are few in number in Iraq, was as meaningless as talking about “Saddamists” and “dead-enders” as a way of describing the Sunni insurgency.  Now that they have the convenient targets of Syria and Iran (which they want to target anyway) to blame for what is happening in Iraq, they can lamely attempt to sell a war with Iran as some sort of solution to our Iraqi woes.  Supposing that everything the jingoes claim about Iranian and Syrian involvement is true, does it make any sense that escalating a low-level proxy war with Syria and Iran (which is what they claim it is) into open, full-scale war actually helps matters in Iraq?  Where there may be covert infiltration and supply of weapons today, there would be the open involvement of the Iranian armed forces in actively and openly supporting their clients in Iraq, which include at the very least the Badr Brigades of SCIRI.  It is by no means certain that the current Iraqi government and its armed forces, Shia-dominated and largely loyal to Sadr as they are, would side with our soldiers in repelling an Iranian incursion.  On the other hand, they might aid the Iranians in conducting sabotage and disrupting our supply lines.  The U.S. government could quickly find the army they have been training turn against our soldiers (the only good news is that they are still such a ramshackle army that they would not pose a serious conventional threat) when the irredeemably sectarian government decides to throw its lot in with its coreligionists and come to an understanding with its neighbour.  This is such a terrible idea that it is almost incomprehensible why anyone advocates it with any seriousness.  Why anyone else takes it as something other than the ravings of a looney, I will never know.