Hitch describes the medieval paranoia of the theocracy. He quotes the afterword to a highly popular satirical novel lampooning this fixation:

In his fantasies, the novel's central character sees the hidden hand of British imperialism behind every event that has happened in Iran until the recent past. For the first time, the people of Iran have clearly seen the absurdity of this belief, although they tend to ascribe it to others and not to themselves, and have been able to laugh at it. And this has, finally, had a salutary influence. Nowadays, in Persian, the phrase "My Uncle Napoleon" is used everywhere to indicate a belief that British plots are behind all events, and is accompanied by ridicule and laughter. ... The only section of society who attacked it was the Mullahs. ... [T]hey said I had been ordered to write the book by imperialists, and that I had done so in order to destroy the roots of religion in the people of Iran.


And what few shreds of legitimacy they could once rely on have now been destroyed by their own actions. But Hitch then hyper-ventilates about Obama's careful line in recent days. I'm afraid I have yet to read an argument why it helps anyone for Obama to pull a McCain at this moment.

The members of the uprising know what he said just a short time ago in Cairo; they are insisting that their revolution is within the system, so changing the formal name of the regime in supporting the uprising would actually undermine a core resistance goal; yes, the mullahs are blaming the West anyway, but by Hitch's own argument, the people no longer believe them. If Obama were to preen as Hitch wants, he would be effectively siding with the coup.

Chill. The Middle East is not Eastern Europe. I just can't understand how intelligent, well-meaning people, after the last eight years, have still not recognized that. Open your eyes, people.

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