A reader writes:

You wrote:

"What we have learned is that once Islamists actually wield power, their popularity collapses. Religious fanatics do not know how to run countries; their real interests lie elsewhere (you can apply that on a much lesser scale, of course, to the competence of the Bush administration). The place where Shiite Jihadism is least popular? Iran. And remember how al Qaeda managed to turn off the Jordanians after various atrocities; and how they lost the battle for the hearts and minds of Iraqis (with the brilliant and brave help of US troops) - after the Bush administration unwittingly gave them a lease of life in that country?"

Here, sadly, is the difference.  Even when Islamists wield power poorly and are unpopular, they don't leave.  Iran is a perfect example.  Even if the mullahs aren't popular, they're as firmly entrenched in power as they ever were.  Yes, the Islamists (or Al Qaeda anyway) are less popular in Jordan now, but they don't control that country.  And it was a lot easier for the Iraqis to turn on Al Qaeda when they had American troops there to help them or at least watch their back.

Even if the rocket attacks on Southern Israel could be tolerated for a long time (this is, of course, a big if), how exactly is Hamas going to be dislodged from power?  They have the guns and the power and the state sponsor in Iran.  Their popularity may suffer (as no doubt it already had) but in power they shall remain.

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