How, exactly, publicly humiliating Maliki and making him look like an American and Israeli stooge would enhance his “leadership” was never explained in the missive. But of course Reid’s letter wasn’t really about strengthening the Iraqi government at all; that’s George W. Bush’s problem. It was about appearing more pro-Israel than the White House and thus pandering to Jewish voters. ~Peter Beinart, The Washington Post
If I gave the Dems any credit for being smart, I would say that their plan here was exactly to undermine Maliki (whose failure at home will in any event be attributed to their political rivals and Bush himself) while at the same time maintaining their predictable enthusiasm for the cause of Israel. They do have to keep their priorities straight, and securing the American-backed government in Iraq obviously has to take second place to the much more important business of Israel bombing Lebanon without criticism or interference. On the other hand, it may be that the Dems assume that Maliki, like our other lackeys around the world, really is just a lackey and will fall in line if he is told in no uncertain terms that his own views are unacceptable. In this, they seem to be mistaken, which is good news for Maliki and generally bad news for us.
This brings me to a separate point that has been brought up before here and elsewhere: if Iraq really were vital to American interests, as Mr. Bush claims, why have the party and administration supposedly renowned for their advantage on understanding and handling national security policy essentially committed allegedly vital national interests into the care of the apparently independent actor Mr. Maliki? It is fortunate that Iraq is not vital to the national interest, so our vital interests are not in the hands of a Shi’ite demagogue whose faction is backed by Tehran. If they were in his hands, a few Democrats being rude to him would be the least of our problems!