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al-Maliki Is Toast

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The writing is on the wall. The Iraqi Prime Minister is about to get the boot amid rampant disunity in the government.

And what’s more…Bush is starting to step away from him…

WASHINGTON, Aug. 21 — When President Bush and Nuri Kamal al-Maliki stood side by side in Jordan last November, the president proclaimed the prime minister “the right guy for Iraq.”

Instead, Mr. Bush acknowledged “a certain level of frustration” with the Iraqi government’s failure to unify its warring ethnic factions. His comments at a meeting of North American leaders in Canada came just hours after the top American diplomat in Baghdad, Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker, called political progress in Iraq “extremely disappointing” and warned that United States support for the Maliki government did not come with a “blank check.”

Yeah, doesn’t sound like he’s abandoning him, but Bush and company are calculated and this is the first step in a slow shuffle away from the embattled PM.

And by the looks of it, the PM is pissed…

“No one has the right to place timetables on the Iraq government. It was elected by its people,” the Shiite leader said at a news conference in Damascus at the end of a three-day visit to Syria.

“Those who make such statements are bothered by our visit to Syria. We will pay no attention. We care for our people and our constitution and can find friends elsewhere,” al-Maliki said.

Good. Then do that.

In other news, Bush is going to use Vietnam as a reason to not pull out of Iraq?

White House officials, nervous over the fallout from President Bush’s remarks, insist that he still supports Mr. Maliki. Mr. Bush is unlikely to refer to Mr. Maliki in Wednesday’s speech, White House officials say; rather, he will use it to cast the war in the broader, long-term context of American foreign involvement in Asia. In the speech, Mr. Bush will draw parallels between the current commitment to Iraq and sustained American involvement in Japan and South Korea, which produced thriving democratic allies of the United States.

In the text, Mr. Bush also links withdrawal from Vietnam to the rise of the murderous Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia, and asserts that the American pullout caused pain and suffering for millions, saying, “Whatever your position in that debate, one unmistakable legacy of Vietnam is that the price of America’s withdrawal was paid by millions of innocent citizens whose agonies would add to our vocabulary new terms like ‘boat people,’ ‘re-education camps,’ and ‘killing fields.’ ”

Fair enough, but is that really up to us? This foreign policy seems to be more focused around Bush’s guilt about not planning for peace than any true “War on Terrorism” concern. And we’ll continue to pour untold billions into a failed strategy, use up our already dwindling supply of troops and ignore stateside security concerns? Sorry, but Iraq needs to take care of Iraq now. We can’t be there for another decade. It won’t work.

Oh, and by the way, if Bush was really that concerned about genocide he would have sent a brigade to Sudan. But he’s not. He’s concerned about his legacy, and we shouldn’t forget that when he raises the spectres of wars long since lost.

One last thing…14 soldiers dead in a copter crash today.