In which Hitch follows Buckley’s and MacDonald’s lead and gambles the war on terror on the premise that Obama won’t be as left-wing in office as his background suggests. The exchange is more interesting as banter than debate, but it’s fun watching Ingraham yell at him and surreal to see one of the world’s foremost skeptics taking The One’s exquisitely timed tack towards the center over the past few months at face value. I never figured him for a cheap date. Here’s hoping she does have him on her radio show and asks why he supposes Obama will persevere in Afghanistan when his darling base has already soured on the cause. As Biden famously said at the VP debate, past is prologue. They would have left Fallujah, which is at long last finally secure, for dead if they’d had their way; why will Kabul be any different?

Since we’re on the subject, today’s must-read is the Times’s analysis of statements given by Iraqi detainees confirming something we’ve been writing about for a year and a half: Iran and Hezbollah are building a proxy army of Iraqi Shiite militiamen. Surprise.

The prisoners’ accounts cannot be independently verified. Yet the detainees gave strikingly similar details about training compounds in Iran, a clandestine network of safe houses in Iran and Iraq they used to reach the camps and intra-Shiite tensions at the camps between the Arab Iraqis and their Persian Iranian trainers…

The documents portray an Iranian strategy to use Iraqi Shiites as surrogates, in part to avoid the risk of Iranians being captured in Iraq. In one of the intelligence reports, a prisoner tells his captors that “Iran does not want to fight a direct war” with American forces in Iraq because Tehran worries that the United States would destroy Iran…

American officials say it is still murky just how much of a direct role senior Iranian officials take in the training, although they say they believe that it takes place with at least the tacit approval of elements of Iran’s government. The documents do not provide any direct evidence of senior Iranian government officials overseeing the training.

Not only is there training allegedly going on outside Tehran, it’s going on in Lebanon too — which also shouldn’t come as a bombshell. (In June, the AP claimed it was going on inside Iraq itself.) The Times of London hinted in May that the U.S. knows where the Iranian camp is and was weighing an attack, but it looks like Bush is leaving that loose end to his successor. Ingraham might want to run that by Hitch, too, to see how lucky he feels.