ESCALATION….The Bush administration has decided to take off the gloves in its fight with Iranian operatives working in Iraq. Our old policy was called “catch and release,” but last year it was replaced with a tougher policy:

The new “kill or capture” program was authorized by President Bush in a meeting of his most senior advisers last fall, along with other measures meant to curtail Iranian influence from Kabul to Beirut

Advocates of the new policy — some of whom are in the NSC, the vice president’s office, the Pentagon and the State Department — said that only direct and aggressive efforts can shatter Iran’s growing influence. A less confident Iran, with fewer cards, may be more willing to cut the kind of deal the Bush administration is hoping for on its nuclear program. “The Iranians respond to the international community only when they are under pressure, not when they are feeling strong,” one official said.

The twisted logic of escalation and threats is timeless. It virtually never causes anyone to back down, but it’s timeless nonetheless. Aviation Week reports:

Iran has converted one of its most powerful ballistic missile into a satellite launch vehicle….The Iranian space launcher has recently been assembled and “will liftoff soon” with an Iranian satellite, according to Alaoddin Boroujerdi, the chairman of the Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission.

….Although designed as a technology demonstrator, the planned satellite launch would be a potent political and emotional weapon in the Middle East.

So what’s Plan B?