Spot said yesterday that Norm Coleman's words in the Strib were evidence that the US was preparing to give Prime Minister al-Maliki the President Diem treatment. Norm called al-Maliki a "slender reed." There are other conservative voices even more strident, including everybody's crazy uncle Charlie Krauthammer:
The government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has had more than 15 months to try to pacify the Sunni insurgency by offering national accords on oil-sharing, provincial elections and de-Baathification. It has done none of these. Instead, Gen. David Petraeus has pacified a considerable number of Sunni tribes with grants of local autonomy, guns and U.S. support in jointly fighting Al-Qaida.
Petraeus' strategy is not very pretty. It carries risk. But it is has been effective.
[ . . . ]
The nature of the war is changing. In July, 73 percent of the attacks that caused U.S. casualties in Baghdad were from Shiite militants, not Sunnis. Al-Maliki is no fool. As more Sunni tribes are pacified, he can see the final military chapter of this war coming into focus: the considerable power of the American military machine slowly turning its face -- and its guns -- on Shiite extremists.
[ . . . ]
Maliki is not just weak but unreliable. Time is short. We should have long ago -- say, when Stephen Hadley wrote his leaked memo last November about Al-Maliki's failure -- begun working to have this dysfunctional government replaced.
Charlie likes to play chess, the the Middle East is his chessboard!
Charlie and Norm both neglect to mention that al-Maliki was installed through a process that the US sanctioned. Apparently, democracy is fine unless it produces results contrary to those desired by the US. Just ask the Chileans, among others.