NYT reports from Baghdad that "the Green Zone attacks Sunday were, symbolically at least, a sign that forces hostile to the United States are still able to strike at the heart of the American nerve center and seat of government power in the capital of Iraq." It seems to me that they were a pretty literal sign -- the Mahdi Army wasn't shooting metaphors.

Now on the merits of the issue of course it would be good for the Iraqi government to demobilize and disarm militias. But it seems plain as day that what the government is trying to do is disarm Muqtada al-Sadr's militia while keeping other, rival militias like the Badr Organization as well-armed as they please. Practically and politically speaking, that doesn't give the Sadrists any reason to comply. And there don't seem to me to be any genuinely good reasons of national interest or cosmic justice for the United States to be serving as backup muscle in this operation.