DEMOCRATS BEHAVING BADLY. It seems to me that the Senate Democratic caucus have started playing a small-but-destructive role in our Iraq policy. It started with the demagogic denunciations of Nouri al-Maliki's perfectly reasonable amnesty plan for Iraqi insurgents. Such a plan would be a necessary component of any Iraqi national reconciliation scheme, but Democrats saw in it a good way to score political points. And they turned out to be correct, successfully pressuring Bush into pressuring Maliki to drop the plan. Which is a neat victory, except lots of people will die as a result. Today, my inbox includes this press release from Harry Reid's office:

Washington, DC - TODAY, Tuesday, July 25, 2006, at 11:00 AM, the Senate Democratic Leadership will hold a press conference in advance of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's address to a Joint Session of Congress. The Democratic Senators will discuss disturbing reports that the Prime Minister has condemned Israel but failed to denounce Hezbollah's role in perpetrating the current crisis in Lebanon and Israel.

Again, as a short-term political gambit, this seems clever enough. But the substantive policy is all kinds of wrong. It's also incredibly misguided to think there's any long-term political gains to be made by trying to outrage the GOP into adopting the least-reasonable approach to relations with the Arab world.

--Matthew Yglesias

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