Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki spoke [yesterday] to a joint meeting of Congress, and some Democrats seized an opportunity to burnish their credentials as supporters of Israel, CNN reports:
In a letter to al-Maliki, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, Democratic Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois and Sen. Charles Schumer of New York called the Iraqi leader's comments troubling.
"Your failure to condemn Hezbollah's aggression and recognize Israel's right to defend itself raise serious questions about whether Iraq under your leadership can play a constructive role in resolving the current crisis and bringing stability to the Middle East," the letter said.
The senators said some Democrats are considering boycotting al-Maliki's speech before Congress.
"I want the prime minister to denounce what Hezbollah has done," Reid said at a news briefing. "I will lose a lot of confidence in al-Maliki if he does not denounce what Hezbollah has done."
Well, what exactly did al-Maliki say? Here are some quotes:
"We call on the world to take quick stands to stop the Israeli aggression."
"[Israel's] excessive use of force is to be condemned."
"What is happening is an operation of mass destruction and mass punishment and an operation using great force that Israel has--and Lebanon does not."
"While Israel has stated its military objective is to hit Hezbollah's infrastructure and physical strength, it has, in the words of the Lebanese prime minister, torn the country to shreds."
In fairness to al-Maliki, we should note that he didn't say all these things. Only the first and third quotes are from him; the second and fourth are from U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. We'll agree with Reid, Schumer and Durbin, then, that al-Maliki is as bad as Annan, and we look forward to their condemnation of Annan.
Name that Hezbollah supporter
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