Jed: To the first point, that Corner post was definitely the first time Rich used the term “‘to hell with them’ hawks.” Buckley probably had something to do with it, but since I can’t read Rich’s mind and he didn’t mention Buckley in the piece, I can’t say for sure. Buckley might fit the “‘to hell with them’ hawk” description, though I’m not sure he’s even written on every topic that I noted by letter, let alone that he believes what “‘to hell with them’ hawks” are said to believe. The same goes for other NR-niks, like Andrew McCarthy and Jeffrey Hart, who seem to tend in the to-hell-with-them direction. That was my point: The NR cover story is written too much like there’s a group of people who have signed on to a particular manifesto of positions.
To the second point: What do you consider a significant attack? Does 9/11 qualify? You don’t really need state support to kill a few thousand infidels these days. Terrorism is just too easy. The relationship between Middle Eastern regimes and the radicalism they breed is much more complicated than a head/body metaphor implies. We’re not threatened by a single organism — more like an ecosystem.
To the third point: I don’t think that this is a threat that can be truly dealt with quickly. If you’re asking about cases where short-term progress against regimes seems to conflict with long-term progress toward political reform, we’ve just got to weigh costs and benefits on a case by case basis. On Iran, though I do have some sympathy for Robert Kagan’s position, I honestly haven’t made up my mind.
I look forward to your more full response.