White House and State Department officials are claiming no contradictions in a rush to support Mr. Maliki as leader of Iraq.
Maliki must definitely stay, according to everyone in Washington with a view on the matter, starting with not-yet-announced-presidential-candidate Hillary Clinton on through Mr. McCain.
How is not entirely clear, given the Iraqi Prime Minister's inability to get a quorum in parliament for emergency action in the face of the current ISIS invasion.
Further, his military, which had been trained by the US at great expense, is reported to have "melted away" when threatened by a numerically inferior army of jihadists (at a 30,000 to 1,300 ratio).
Mr. Maliki is also widely considered incompetent in attempting to govern via narrow sectarian programs plus corruption plus persecuting and murdering Sunni opposition.
However, in this situation, the ISIS extremists now sweeping through Iraq and threatening to take Baghdad are not considered helpful.
In contrast, in Syria, they are more helpful, being part of an opposition the US supports and has been supplying with "non-lethal" aid.
Now, if all those weapons out of Libya and Saudi Arabia ended up with the "extreme" extremists, that is a misunderstanding and the nature of war. They were meant to assist only the "moderate" extremists.
Nevertheless, if ISIS and such radical groups have grown stronger in Syria that is surely to the good, no matter where they got the weapons, in terms of the "Assad must go" program.
True, it is somewhat confusing because the Assad-must-go program conflicts with the Syrian people who have voted overwhelmingly in his favor.
And US involvement in Syria, officially, has been to aid "democracy."
But a spokesperson for the White House explained there is no confusion here.
American soldiers did not fight and die to abandon Iraq to al-Qaeda and ISIS types, and no matter how incompetent the regime change turned out to be, the US will support that leader.
But in Syria no electorate can be trusted, and as with elections in Ukraine the US considers these fraudulent somehow.
The world must keep in mind that "The-Assad-must-go" program has been solid for a number of years, and will remain solid.
So then, in Syria ISIS and those types are welcome to help. But they should stay out of areas such as Iraq and wherever there might be US oil interests and such, because that is counter-productive and a nuisance.