This has been a huge net benefit to the Iraqi people, and gained substantial advantages for the U. All positivbe developments, all extremely unlikely to occur in the absence of the war. It'd be even better if we could get the Iraqis to do it.
With all the opposition (here in the West) leaping up and down shouting "Quagmire! Peaceful solutions are great - but solutions that leave thugs in place or allow Sadr and his militia to intimidate Iraq and tamper with the reconstruction and new government may not be, in the end, a peaceful solution.
I don't envy Bush or Bremer or the provisional gov't - the guys who have to make the call when the future is uncertain and the potential risks are huge. When thugs like this sue for peace, it's usually a delaying tactic so that they can regroup.
This might be good for us in the short-term, but I worry that not killing/capturing him now will hurt us in the long term.
What gets lost in all the western news reports is that Sistani essentially wants this guy out of the scene.
Great, so we can forget all about what he showed us about our vulnerabilities, pretend that he couldn't repeat the exercise at any time, ignore the fact that there are others like him, refuse to consider what Al Sistani could achieve if he decides that he doesn't want us there any more, and keep on whistling past the graveyard, because he's just a loser, nyah, nyah, nyah.
What's really disturbing is the absence of evidence that the Administration is any less self-deluding.
I think the Coalition should do no business with him.
Killing him should only be the last option, but I have to say that this man's life isn't worth a single casualty on the Coalition's side.
Sadr is trying to tell himself he's not surrendering, but he has only 2 options, death or surrender.
He can negotiate all he wants but as soon as he steps out, he'll be face down with his hands behind his back being read his rights so to speak.
Pro-war arguments, including many from the pro-war left (Norman Geras, etc.), in contrast, are frequently cogent and coherent, though there are weak and incoherent ones as well. The brutal rulers of Syria and the mullahs are under intense pressure, and can't sleep easily these days.