Some of Britain’s problems right now in Basra are a consequence of the absurdity of Muqtada al Sadr still walking around when killing him last year would have been clearly legitimate and just a damn good idea. At the very least he should be sitting in a prison cell. This is not an election campaign, it is an insurgency and the US missed a big opportunity to ‘retire’ Sadr when his militia previously fought against the allied armies.
When I called for ‘no pussyfooting around’, I was just suggesting that when an Iraqi faction shoots at British soldiers or throws petrol bombs at them, the respsonce should not be to just ‘contain’ it or to ‘negotiate’ with the faction responsible (at least not until much later after it has been suitably knocked down to size), no, it should be to use all the force at their disposal to try and cut that faction to pieces. Moreover, it should result in significent reinforcements being sent to give UK forces more options.
People like Sadr will use violence only if they think using violence will gain them a political advantage at a tolerable cost… so the trick is to make the cost intolerable. It is crazy to give such people a ‘second chance’ during an active insurgency as clearly all Sadr has done is use the time since he last took on the occupying powers to rebuild his power base. No, just treat the guy like the Islamo-fascist he is, put a bullet through his head and make it clear that hard line Islamists militias will not be tolerated in the Iraq.
So if local administration in Basra were truly considering handing British soldiers over to Sadr’s militia, then they need to be dragged into the nearest HQ and told if they plan on growing old, that sort of behaviour is a very bad idea. Far from giving them an apology that those undercover SAS man were free by force, they should be told to ‘get stuffed’ and expect more of the same if they prove by their actions that they are the enemy.