Looks like General Petraeus is having meetings with some of Muqtada al-Sadr's people which is the right thing to do in the context of any kind of overall strategy, though it doesn't change the fact that the overall strategy is still wrong.

Meanwhile, I don't know if "ironic" is the right word for it, but it's noteworthy that the key things Petraeus has started doing in 2007 are just things that the right would have labeled treasonous policies of "retreat and defeat" back in 2004 and 2005. Back then, holding direct talks with insurgent groups and trying to reach compromises with them was anathema even though back then this kind of compromise-oriented approach had much better prospects for success since the sectarian wells hadn't already been poisoned by the extreme sectarian violence of the intervening years.