It’s telling that several years ago, I drew a cartoon using the same trope of Nouri al-Maliki-as-hand-puppet, but back then the puppet-master was Uncle Sam. Maliki, at the end of Sam’s arm, had just poked him in the eye⎯it was about something he’d done in direct and public contravention of U.S. interests.
Like Hamid Karzai, his fellow stooge, Maliki felt it necessary once in a while to establish his bona fides as a home grown leader by sticking it to his patron. Appearing to be two-faced and ungrateful toward the superpower is the only way to command respect in that part of the world. Since we paymasters have nobody else to invest in, we’re forced to smile indulgently and suck it up.
Today’s cartoon features a new puppeteer, which is a sad comment on how much good this war did us. The American people are so sick of the whole thing that the only one left complaining that we’re “cutting and running” is Dick Cheney, a man who can’t even travel to Europe for fear of being arrested for war crimes.
Author’s note: In my humble opinion, President Ahmadinejad claims a plinth of honor alongside other luminaries like Yasser Arafat, Michele Bachmann and John Kerry in the Pantheon of God’s Gift to Editorial Cartoonists for having faces that practically draw themselves. Thank you, Mahmoud, for just being you.