Stephen Hadley Thinks You Are An Idiot

From Holden:

National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley briefs the press on Iraqi PM Nuri al-Maliki’s Washington visit yesterday.

Q The U.S. could not have a newer ally in that region than Maliki, and today he was asked his view on Hezbollah and he did not answer that question directly. In your private conversations, did you have any sense of why he did not more publicly state a view on Hezbollah? And should we infer that he does not share the President’s view on that group?

MR. HADLEY: I don’t know why you would infer that. He asked the question, and he gave the answer he gave.

Q I thought he ducked the question, clearly. But there’s a legitimate follow here. First of all, is your understanding of his party’s ties to Hezbollah — what I’ve been reading in several accounts, which is that there is a working tie between his party and Hezbollah — and if that’s the case, does that present any problem for the administration?

MR. HADLEY: I’ve not seen any evidence of that. I don’t know what you’re referring to about that tie. And I guess I would say to you this Prime Minister has been very clear about the threat to terrorism — threat to terrorism to democracy not only in Iraq, but more broadly. So I think this has been a guy who’s pretty tough on terrorism, generally, because he’s seen what it has done to his country. In terms of why he did or did not give the response he gave to that question, that’s a question for him.

Jeebus, Hadley can’t be that ignorant, can he? Please, tell me he’s not as ill-informed as his predecessor.

Juan Cole, in a post directed at the benighted Democrats who are demanding that Maliki denounce Hezbollah or be bared from addressing Congress, takes Hadley to school.

The members of Congress also don’t seem to realize that the Iraqi Dawa helped to form the Lebanese Hizbullah back in the early 1980s. The Dawa was in exile in Tehran, Damascus and Beirut and it formed a shadowy terror wing called, generically, Islamic Jihad. The IJ cell of the Dawa attacked the US and French embassies in Kuwait in 1983, in an operation probably directed by the Tehran branch, which was close to Khomeini.

My understanding is that Nuri al-Maliki was the bureau chief of the Dawa cell in Damascus in the 1980s. He must have been closely involved with the Iraqi Dawa in Beirut, which in turn was intimately involved in Hizbullah. I am not saying he himself did anything wrong. I don’t know what he was doing in specific, other than trying to overthrow Saddam, which was heroic. But, did they really think he was going to condemn Hizbullah and take Israel’s side?

And if he did, do they think that the Shiite religious parties that backed him would let him stay in office (they are the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, the Islamic Dawa, and the Sadr Movement of Muqtada al-Sadr)?

Here is what I said the first time a Dawa Prime Minister was brought to power by US-sponsored elections, last year. I kept telling Americans that this was a mixed picture, not an unadulterated feel-good story, and I got nasty mail about raining on their parade. Now you see what I was talking about: