It was mighty Christian of Shiite Muslim cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr to tell his Mahdi Army to stop fighting in Basra. I’m afraid I would have taken a far more Old Testament approach to the recent violence in Iraq.
It’s not, after all, like al-Sadr and his followers were the ones who started this latest round of bang-bang. It was, in fact, al-Sadr’s self imposed moratorium on violence that gave President Bush’s “main man” General David Petraeus grist for his claim that the surge was “working.” You’d think maybe Petraeus would have wanted to leave the hornet’s nest alone; but no. He decided to target ”criminal” and “rogue” elements within the Sadr organization.
U.S. forces and the Badr Organization, a rival Shiite group, conducted raids for months on Sadr’s people. The Mahdis warned repeatedly that they would fight back, and they finally did. Shocking.