Posted on Saturday 28 October 2006

Iraq’s prime minister sharply criticized U.S. policy Friday during a private meeting with the American ambassador, pointing to the United States’ failure to either reduce violence or give his government authority over security matters, aides to the Iraqi leader said.

The criticism was the latest example of tension between the two governments and stood in contrast to a joint public statement issued after the meeting.

Prime Minister Nouri Maliki and the U.S. Embassy said in the statement that they had agreed to unspecified timelines to make tough political and security decisions on the country’s future.

Privately, however, Maliki criticized what he called the patronizing U.S. tone toward the Iraqi government and warned U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad to respect Iraq’s sovereignty, two of the prime minister’s advisors said.

"I’m a friend to the United States, but not America’s man in Iraq," Maliki told Khalilzad, according to Hassan Senaid, one of the prime minister’s closest advisors.
Prime Minister Nouri Maliki was elected by his people to govern. And he’s a native, born and bred in Iraq, speaks the language. So, if he was elected by this democracy we freed Iraq to have, and if he’s got some kind of idea what ought to be done, then I suggest what we do is support whatever it is and get out of his way. The name we gave to our endeavor was Operation Iraqi Freedom after all.

When I read this article, it occurred to me that maybe the whole problem in Iraq is that we are trying to create an Iraq in our own image, sort of like the Religious Right does with God – the God of their own homophobic, racist, suburban image. We’re all hot on him disarming and supressing the militias. Maybe he thinks otherwise. Maybe he knows what he is talking about. I say that if we were serious about establishing a free Iraq, let’s let them be free. Everybody says Iran will take them over. How do we know that? Maybe Iran isn’t so expansionist as we are. Maybe Iraq needs to find itself after Saddam, and we’re in the way trying to make it into Bush-and-Cheney-ville. So, good for Prime Minister Nouri Maliki. I say, let him be the primo ministrator of Iraq. He probably knows better how to proceed than we do. He’s from around there.

In child development, the two year old says, "No!" as a way of saying "I don’t know what I am yet, but I do know this. I’m not what you want me to be!" The two year-old "No" is a positive statement of individuality and autonomy, and comes before the child knows what direction to take. But it’s not just in early childhood when "No" is the first step in "becoming." Think about the Civil Rights Movement, the Woman’s Movement, the Gay Rights Movement, Tiananmen Square. Sounds to me like Nouri Maliki and his country might be playing with "growing up." Praises be to whomever…

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