BAGHDAD, Sept. 27 — The radical Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr has lost control of portions of his Mahdi Army militia that are splintering off into freelance death squads and criminal gangs, a senior coalition intelligence official said Wednesday....Okay, this is getting truly insane. We've long since past the point of asking if America will leave Iraq, and we're rapidly approaching the answer to when - "soon." The only question left is "in what way - driving out in Abrams and Bradleys armored vehicles, or running out on foot?"
But as Mr. Sadr has taken a more active role in the government, as many as a third of his militiamen have grown frustrated with the constraints of compromise and have broken off, often selling their services to the highest bidders, said the official, who spoke to reporters in Baghdad on condition of anonymity because he was not permitted to speak publicly on intelligence issues.
It's worth repeating that the Americans did a lot, in the first year of the occupation, to drive moderate Shia in to the arms of the Sadrists by refusing to talk with Sistani, and postponing the elections for as long as possible. Exactly how many times does Jay Garner have to say he was fired for proposing early elections for Americans to understand how bad they look?