Their bond has a lot to do with fate, says Maliki: "Destiny wanted to bring together two people who strongly stick to their principles." But the two men are also linked by their precarious political positions. The U.S. military has acknowledged that its surge in forces is not likely to bring stability to Baghdad by the end of summer. Elsewhere in the region, the Hamas takeover of Gaza and the latest assassination of an anti-Syria legislator in Lebanon suggest the impotence of American policy. So pressure is rising for some sort of political breakthrough in Iraq. In recent weeks a parade of American legislators, generals and diplomats have tramped through Baghdad to push Maliki for quicker progress on a range of stalled measures, from a new oil law to reconciling with former Baathists. Bush's unflagging support runs the risk of undercutting that message.
It's a wonderful thing to be loyal to your friends through thick and thin, but the duties of a public servant require different priorities. Bush seems to have surrounded himself with people of very questionable talent that he simply will not get rid of such as Rumsfeld, Gonzales, Maliki and even Dick Cheney. And the damage they've done to him has been immeasurable. To me, it's just one more example of how Bush's inflexibility and his with-me-or-against-me worldview has led to his downfall.
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