Who’s Making the World Safe for Democracy?



The Bush administration's showcase of Middle Eastern democracy is aflame with civil war, notwithstanding the denial of its prime minister, with 100 people dying daily and the only light at the end of the tunnel produced by incoming rockets.

And who's really behind all this bloodletting?

The Jews. That's what the speaker of the Iraqi parliament says.

Mahmoud al-Mashadani said "Jewish Israeli Zionists" are fomenting the violence because they want to foil Sunni-Shi'ite efforts to create an Islamic state in Iraq.

The Sunni speaker is one-third of a shaky coalition with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shi'ite, and Kurdish President Jalal Talabani. If there's something they all agree on it's their support for Hezbollah in its war against the hated Zionist regime.

Maliki is in Washington this week for his first official visit and to meet with President Bush, top administration officials and Members of Congress.

High on his agenda are complaints about Israel's war against terrorists in Gaza and Lebanon. He's also looking for more troops and more money.

His American hosts — who already have spent several hundred billion dollars and have 130,000 troops on the ground to protect his government — should be asking which side he's on and why he is openly siding with America's bitterest enemies in the region: Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas.

Should American tax dollars — to say nothing of the 2,600 young Americans who have already died, and the thousands more who have been maimed and crippled — be helping establish the militant Shi'ite arc stretching from Iran on the east to Lebanon in the West and Gaza in the south?

Should we be supporting a government that wants to keep the Arab-Israeli conflict alive until the hated Jewish state is eradicated?

Maliki has joined radical Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in backing Hezbollah in its war with Israel, as does the rest of his government.

That's the same Hezbollah that the United States considers a terrorist group, and that prior to 9/11 had killed more Americans than any other terror organization.

That's who the "ally" being feted at the White House and on Capitol Hill considers his friends.

There's something wrong with American policy and leadership when our "brave Iraqi allies" are cheering the terrorists who attack Israel with missiles and vow to destroy the Jewish state.

White House chief of staff Josh Bolton, appearing on "Meet the Press," shrugged off the rhetoric of Maliki and his government as boys-will-be-boys democracy.

He's missing the point: Friends don't help friends by endorsing their enemies.

They're entitled to their opinions, but we're not obligated to defend their country, die for them and finance their government.

Remember way back when the Bush administration was trying to sell the American public on the need to invade Iraq?

Toppling Saddam Hussein, we were assured, would not only bring freedom and prosperity to Iraq, but send a wave of democracy across the Middle East and open "the road to Jerusalem," spreading stability.

The new, democratic Iraq would be a natural ally for the democratic Jewish state, the war-bound administration predicted, and inspire the Arab world to make peace.

Along the way, administration jingoists tried to neutralize Democratic and Jewish opposition to their war plans by insisting that it would make Israel safer, and those who opposed their plans were not friends of Israel because they were risking siding with Saddam, who had vowed to destroy it.

The silence of Jewish leaders was exploited by some to bolster their specious claims that the administration went to war at the urging of Israel and its friends.

Now, some of those same voices are trying to blame the Iraq debacle on the Jews while the Iraqi beneficiaries of Saddam's removal are blaming their problems on the Jews as well. Is something wrong with this picture?

Maliki is getting a warm embrace from President Bush and a standing ovation — and billions of dollars — from the Congress, but he remains politically closer to Tehran than to Washington.

Douglas M. Bloomfield is a Washington, D.C.-based columnist.



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