Here’s an ironic scenario: as Israel fights a proxy war against Hezbollah, the United States is propping up an Iraqi government that helped create the Lebanese militants.

David Clark, a former foreign policy advisor to Tony Blair, laid out the details in an op-ed yesterday in The Guardian:

Some of the earliest suicide bombings commonly attributed to Hizbullah, such as the 1983 attacks on the US embassy and marine barracks in Beirut, were believed by American intelligence sources at the time to have been orchestrated by the Iraqi Dawa party. Hizbullah barely existed in 1983 and Dawa cadres are said to have been instrumental in setting it up at Tehran’s behest. Dawa’s current leadership includes none other than the new Iraqi prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, feted last week in London and Washington as the great hope for the future of the Middle East. As the old saying goes, today’s terrorist is tomorrow’s statesman–at least when it suits us.

Meanwhile, at a memorial service for a slain Iraqi cleric yesterday, leading members of the Iraqi government joined al-Maliki in denouncing Israel’s assault on Lebanese civilians. “These horrible massacres carried out by the Israeli aggression, incites in us the spirit of brotherhood and solidarity,” said Vice President Adel Abdul-Mahdi.

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, perhaps the country’s key power broker, labeled the Israeli bombing of Qana an “outrageous crime.”

Even staunchly pro-American President Jalal Talabani, a Sunni Kurd, “offered similar condemnations of Israel,” according to the New York Times. Will Howard Dean and the rest of the Democratic leadership now denounce the entire Iraqi government as anti-Semites?

With the country increasingly spiraling out of control and its leaders growing more vocally anti-Israel and anti-American, it’s fair to ask another question: what exactly are American troops still fighting and dying for in Iraq?