Where The Left Takes A Turn For The Worse

I hope any readers in the service will correct me if I am wrong on what I'm about to say. Any comments or corrections would be appreciated.

Why are we negotiating with Al-Sadr? It's not a rhetorical question. I understand that we can't bulldoze the holy site, but can't we obliterate everything around it? Can we not get our boys in there without getting them massacred? The rebels are refusing to disarm - then why would we do anything but keep fighting? Aren't we the ones who should be dictating the terms of surrender? We don't negotiate with terrorists - isn't that what Al-Sadr is? Shouldn't we demand they lay down arms and peaceably disband or else be destroyed? If we negotiate a truce, aren't we just giving Al-Sadr credibility as a leader? Aren't we just rewarding open rebellion by recognizing the rebels' right to negotiate like a legitimate military enemy?

Some broader questions: I realize we are trying to win the hearts and minds of the Muslim world, but if we say uncle every time the Arab street threatens to riot, aren't we doomed to fail in the larger war on terror, in the long run? When you have a disobedient child, do you alter your behavior to avoid enraging that child, or do you continue the behavior as you see fit and then punish the child when the child gets out of line over it? I realize we're talking about human lives here, so my analogy may not be useful. But it seems to me that we should conduct our military policy in whatever way we feel will achieve the ultimate objective. If the Arab world throws a fit about it, so be it. If we do otherwise, aren't we letting the rebels dictate our policy?

The Confederacy didn't give in until Sherman burned a path to the sea. When Grant accepted Lee's surrender at Appomatox, was it one of the conditions that the rebels disarm? That war was far bloodier and bigger than this one; can't we insist on disarmament in Najaf, unconditionally?

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