The U.S.-led coalition wants to encourage Iraqis to solve their own problems, which is why in various cities they've let Iraqis loosely allied with the coalition negotiate a truce with insurgents in order to avoid bloodshed.
At least that's how the coalition perceives it. The Iraqi perception, however, can often be quite different.
They see negotiations as weakness on the coalition's part. The latest example of this is the so-called truce negotiated late last week by "moderate" Shiite leaders with the radical Shiite thug Muqtada Sadr. It came on the heels of relentless battering of Sadr militiamen by U.S. forces in and around Najaf and Kufa.
The cease-fire called for the militia to largely disband and turn in their weapons to the peacekeepers. It didn't happen. Since the truce went into effect, U.S. commanders report, Sadr's insurgents have used the break in the fighting, and the reprieve from the beating they were taking, to fortify their positions and launch new assaults on U.S. troops, killing two Americans the first U.S. casualties in the area in six weeks.
Seldom will you see clearer violations of a cease-fire than this. Obviously Sadr never intended to keep his word. He used the negotiations to stall for time. Yet, the "moderate" Shiites still don't get it.
They're scrambling to salvage what is basically a non-existent truce.The consequences of not heeding the truce was that U.S. forces would finish wiping out Sadr's militia and arrest him as a criminal. It's time to make those consequences a reality. The U.S. has given Sadr every chance. If we continue to let him off the hook to appease the "moderates" we'll just look like wimps whose word means nothing.
We cannot let our troops turn into punching bags for a radical cleric's militia. It's time to put politics aside and run this barbarian out of business.