"Over time it's going to be important for nations to know they will be held accountable . . . You're either with us or against us in the fight against terror." -- Bush, November 6, 2001
Bush is leaving the country again next week to see if he can find someone who's not ashamed to stand with him and play hegemony games with our lame-duck loser. Last week Bush tried to escape the American people's rejection of his agenda-enabling republican guard by traveling to Asia and bonding with the Vietnamese he once feared to fight; and sidling up to others who had already rejected his bid for advantaged trade, resisted capitulation to his 'terror war', and provided nothing but lip service about addressing NK nukes.
Bush will try to face down Maliki with his commanding generals' ambition to put up to 30,000 more U.S. troops into Iraq under the guise of training Iraqis to kill other Iraqis. Maliki, however, has to have the opposite in mind. His fellow Shiite militia leader-turned politician, Sadr, has drawn a line in the sand over the meeting, declaring that he''ll split from the Maliki government if the prime minister goes ahead with the presidential conference.
Maliki has already made moves toward Sadr by declaring that Sunnis were responsible for the spike in violence which claimed over 200 lives Thursday. His declaration must have fallen flat in the wake of Maliki's own government force's joint raids with Americans into Shiite neighborhoods recently under the pretext of looking for the lost Iraqi/American soldier. Three subsequent raids in three days by the U.S./Iraqi forces, carried out before the deadly bombing, claimed over a dozen civilian lives, including an infant and a young boy. If anything, the response by Maliki deepened the civil conflict as Shiite militia retaliated by rounding up suspected Sunnis and burning them alive.
Maliki has almost nothing to gain by continuing to allow Bush to wage his 'terror war' in Iraq. Bush's taunts at those who resist his occupation, made behind the sacrifices of our soldiers, to "bring it on" and "fight them there," have made Iraq so volatile that it's too dangerous for Maliki to meet with his puppet-master in his own home town. Now, the very alliance with the rebel-leader that allowed Maliki to continue his autocratic reign under a democratic facade is crumbling under the weight of the U.S. occupation's heavy hand.
The relatively moderate religious leader Sistani left Maliki in the dust months ago to resume his role as a Shiite spiritual leader. Sadr remained involved in the government, but has lost faith with Maliki's ability to protect his community from the ongoing violence, despite the junta leader's purge of Batthists and others from power who had been the enforcers of Saddam's regime against the Shiite majority in Iraq. Now it appears the new regime's attempt to be even-handed in it's application of oppressive violence has just created yet another wedge in the country's multi-fronted civil war.
Maliki has every reason to tell our warmongering loser that he's come to the limit of his betrayal of his countryfolk to Bush's "ideological struggle" which pits Iraqi against Iraqi, piling up the dead for Bush to elevate himself upon, like when he stood on the piles of rubble and humanity in New York and declared enemies of those who dared stand against him.
Maliki should take refuge in the will of Americans against Bush's manufactured mandate to continue his occupation - expressed by the votes removing his enabling majorities in the U.S. Congress - and tell Bush that his bloody adventure may well continue, but not with his support. Exiled from Iraq for 30 years, most of that time in Syria, Maliki will have to decide whether he's truly a leader of his country and countryfolk, or, if he's a mere tool of Bush's imperialism. Sistani decided; Sadr's chosen. Now, Maliki needs to step up and decide whether he's with Bush, or against him; whether he stands with Bush, or, whether he stands with his Iraqi countryfolk. He can't have both.