Law of Unintended Consequences

I’ve been pondering this since late last evening and coming across Jonah Goldberg’s post regarding a “Rout” in The Corner has reinforced my opinions.
The strike against the senior Iraqi (that’s “Iraqian” for all of you Curtis Sliwa fans out there) leadership was a bold tactical move that may very well end up sparing hundreds, if not thousands of Iraqi and Allied lives over the course of this conflict. From this perspective, it was an opportunity too good to miss.
However, I’ve taken to wondering how this will affect the coming months in Iran. The more I’ve pondered the question, the more I’ve come to think that the whole “Shock n’ Awe” campaign was to serve a dual purpose. The first, and most obvious purpose was to cow the Iraqi brass into mass defection/surrender (Fox News has taken to calling it “capitulation.” Holy euphemism, Batman!). The second effect that it would have (will?) would be to demonstrate to the “Arab Street” and, more importantly, the Iranian people, the overwhelming might of the coalition forces. By executing an end-around and avoiding the SnA attack, the US seems to have emboldened the citizens of Baghdad. I saw footage of them out and about this morning, on their way to work or to the market, which is in stark contrast to the past 48 hours. There’s a feeling that all of our talk of SnA may have been just that: talk.
My wife (and NPR reporters beyond measure) are of the opinion that the more Iraqi infrastructure we can retain, the better. I can see the logic in that, but, at the same time, I can’t help feeling that a dramatic bombardment campaign would do wonders for the intrasigence of the “Arab Street” and their thuggocrat masters. An opening salvo taking out the vaunted leadership almost feels like cheating, and I’d have to say I almost see that sentiment being subtly expressed in the Arab press.
The one big advantage that I do see in such a strike is being evidenced by the North Koreans’ near total silence for the past two days. If we can reach out and touch a leader at the drop of a hat, then no teetering dictatorship is safe. If I were Kim Jung Mentally Il, I’d be watching my closest advisors extremely carefully.