Did the overthrow of the Saddam Hussein regime, and the subsequent holding of competitive elections in which many rival Iraqi Shiite parties took part, have any germinal influence on the astonishing events in Iran?
Dear God, I missed this piece of waffle from the Hitch back in July of this year, stumbling across it today by accident.
Some context - Hitchens' article was penned back during the anti-government protests in Tehran, when every UK and US-based bullshit-artist on the blogosphericals was busy painting his ballbag green in solidarity and waving it at a webcam in the mistaken belief that a glorious blossoming of Persian liberal democracy was imminent.
A reasonable summary of Hitchens' piece - A supposedly conservative group has condemned the Iranian government and I once spoke to an Iranian cleric who referred to the invasion of Iraq as a "liberation", facts which I will now use as yet another excuse for me to pretend that I have not, in fact, been absolutely wildly fucking wrong on pretty much every important issue in the region beyond "religious extremism is like, a bummer, man" for the past eight years.
Now, I can see Hitchens' points from two angles here. Firstly, he is undoubtedly far more well-versed in the political and theological traditions of the region and, were he to walk into the room this very second, would surely school me brutally with the fruits of his knowledge and experience. Therefore, his views on the subject deserve a certain level of respect and it is entirely conceivable that the ideological undercurrents of Iranian society are favourable to moves towards greater democratic openness.
On the other hand, bollocks on stilts. I fully expect to open the paper in 2019 to find Hitchens' name under the headline The Sucking-Off Of Sanjar - Did The Toppling Of Saddam Lead to The Esfahan Teenager's Behind-The-Bikeshed Blowjob?
He could lard the article up with anecdotes about Iranian teens responding to his questions by waving loose fists in jerk-off motions at him, plus some snazzy graphics depicting the pre-invasion Iranian blowjoblessness rate, then wrap the whole thing up with some half-assed maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon all Iranian teenagers will experience the gift of freedom's sookie platitude.
Some might think this harsh, but really - Hitchens went to Iran and all he found was a cleric who was delighted the Americans had fragged Saddam Hussein, and this is evidence of... Well, not a democratic revolution, that's for sure. Thanks to that whole Iran-Iraq War that killed about a million Iranians, they were wearing party hats and tooting little kazoos the day Saddam dangled. In terms of predictable outcomes, pro-invasion Iranian clerics are about as likely as stabbed Glaswegians on Old Firm derby day or champagne-and-caviar-canape sick on the streets of Edinburgh in August.
Bonus Hitchens, for anyone who's disgusted by my crude sexual imagery - his most recent article is called Engaging With Iran Is Like Having Sex With Someone Who Hates You.
In a similar vein, reading Hitchens these days is like having your neck nuzzled by an amorous manatee while it slimes a clammy flipper up your shirt and assures you that it will totally respect you in the morning.
Update!: It's only just occurred to me how truly weird the having sex with someone who hates you analogy is here. Any psychologists who read me - and I wouldn't blame you for being here, since you must have a field day - feel free to interpret for the sane.