The “devil we know” is a strategy that works best when plausible other outcomes could be worse, and when there is no positive value in change itself. These conditions do not obtain in Iraq today. No imaginable new coalition could possibly do worse than Maliki and his entourage at running the state, when it comes to everything from the economy and basic services to managing communitarian differences. Indeed all plausible non-Maliki outcomes would yield a significantly better-performing state than Iraqis currently enjoy. Just as important, given that a new ministry could not do worse than Maliki’s, peaceful democratic change of any kind would provide an extraordinarily powerful positive example for a desperate region.