At the Iraqi presidential palace, Ahmadinejad was greeted with multiple kisses from Iraqi President Jalal Talabani. An Iraqi military honor guard -- make that a U.S.-trained Iraqi military honor guard -- saluted the two leaders. An Iraqi military band -- make that a U.S.-trained Iraqi military band -- also played the Iranian and the Iraqi anthems. "Call me Uncle Jalal," Mr. Talabani told Ahmadinejad. "Iraqis don't like Americans," Ahmadinejad told the world.
And so went Iran's "brotherly" visit to Iraq, as if U.S. protests (and U.S. casualties) over Iran's violent subversion of the country didn't exist. There were political meetings, gas, oil and electrical agreements, and an Iranian interest-free $1 billion loan. To cap things off, Iraq and Iran issued a joint statement condemning Israel, America's bona fide ally in the region, for taking belated action in Gaza to stop Hamas from firing Iranian-supplied rockets into Israeli towns. (Did I mention Hamas gets Iranian support?)
It's not a question of which side Iraq is on. Certainly, as Iraq becomes what Radio Free Europe analyst Kathleen Ridolfo described as "economically, if not politically subordinate to Iran," that becomes increasingly clear. More disturbing is why we think we're on the same side -- why we think there's a future for us in this and similar relationships.
The fact is, this unsuitable menage isn't unique to Iraq. Desperately naive American courtships across the Middle East follow similar patterns of hypocrisy, deceit and danger. From Saudi Arabia to Egypt, artificial, if costly, American "alliances" are mocked and trashed by such countries' aid and abetment of jihad. Just this week, the Washington Times reported that oil-rich Qatar is massively underwriting Hamas. At the same time, Qatar -- which hosts a colossal pre-positioning base for the U.S. military -- is supposed to be a "moderate" Islamic ally of ours. What next -- permanent U.S. military bases in a Shiite-Kurdish satellite of Iran? I wonder whether we will ever walk out on these destructive relationships and recover our self-respect.