WE USED TO BE FRIENDS. "They crush them with their vehicles and kill them just on suspicion," according to Iraq's new Prime Minister, "This is completely unacceptable." The crushing and killing just on suspicion are, he says, being done by the American military. And based on recent reports, there's obviously some truth to this perspective. Dare one suggest that the love affair between the Bush administration and Nuri Kamal al-Maliki is destined to turn bitter at some point in the near future?

Enough political leaders have come and gone in Iraq already that we ought to be able to see that the dynamic is simply untenable. Iraqi politicians who identify themselves too closely with American become discredited in the eyes of their constituents -- see, e.g., Iyad Allawi. Those who identify themselves too closely with the views and interests of their constituents wind up falling out with the American government which then tries to get them dumped. When these sorts of relationships aren't working out, it's usually for the best for the two parties to just go their separate ways even if it may be painful in the short term.

--Matthew Yglesias

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