By Robert Dreyfuss
"President George W. Bush, who is being shadowed these days, and rather ominously, by a suddenly revived Vice President Cheney, confronts two hostile majorities opposed to his Iraq policy. The first is American, growing in power, that demands a U.S. withdrawal from the Iraqi quagmire. The second, also growing, is even more potent: It is the Iraqi majority that wants a quick end to the U.S. occupation of their country.
If, indeed, President Bush is determined to flout both of those majorities in pursuit of a phantasmagorical notion of “victory” in Iraq, then the future is grim beyond all measure. The latest news from Iraq—namely, that Bush and Ambassador Khalilzad are trying to micromanage the creation of yet another pro-American coalition government to replace the current regime of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki—is a sign that the president is truly lost in a fantasy land. The president is making policy for an Iraq that exists only in his imagination, even as conditions in the real Iraq, the one here on this planet, deteriorate ever faster......
.....Because the government of puppets won’t hold, the only really viable government in Iraq must be built around the one theme that a majority of both Sunnis and Shiites support—namely, the withdrawal of U.S. forces. One scenario to achieve this is for a new Hakim-Hashemi government simply to ask the United States to leave Iraq, perhaps in six months when, many Iraqi leaders say, their own army and police will be ready to take over. (They won’t be ready, but no matter.) An alternate scenario—more ugly from the standpoint of the Bush administration—is for Sadr, militant Sunnis, and anti-SCIRI Shiites to form a broad-based anti-U.S. occupation bloc and take power, ordering an immediate U.S. pullout. Unless President Bush is truly Machiavellian, the likelihood of the former is nearly zero. And although, at this moment, a coalition between Sadr and the Sunni-led resistance in Iraq is unlikely, things are moving fast. What seems impossible today could take the United States by surprise tomorrow. As Sadr said on Sunday, in a fiery speech demanding that the United States withdraw its troops: “Yesterday’s friends are today's enemies, and yesterday's enemies are today's friends.”
And remember: the much-maligned Baker-Hamilton report not only called for the United States to open talks with Iran and Syria about the war in Iraq, but also said that the United States "must also try to talk directly to Muqtada al-Sadr, to militia leaders, and to insurgent leaders”—i.e., talk to precisely the forces that the Bush administration wants to fight."