But his piece today -- KILL MUQTADA NOW -- is extremely compelling. Al-Sadr has been a seeping wound in our side since 2003 and we need to stanch it.
I lost faith in our engagement in Iraq last week. I can pinpoint the moment. It came when I heard that Maliki had demanded - successfully - that our military release a just-captured deputy of Muqtada al-Sadr who was running death squads.
As a former intelligence officer, that told me two things: First, Iraq's prime minister is betting on Muqtada to prevail, not us. Second, Muqtada, not the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, is now the most powerful man in Iraq.
At his news conference, Bush was asked about another statement made by Maliki just hours before. Our troops had conducted a raid in Sadr City, Muqtada's Baghdad stronghold. The Iraqi PM quickly declared that "this will not happen again." He was signaling his allegiance to Muqtada. Publicly.
Oh, Maliki realizes his government wouldn't last a week if our troops withdrew. He doesn't want us to leave yet. But he's looking ahead. For now, Maliki and his pals are using our troops to buy time while they pocket our money, amass power and build up arms. But they've written us off for the long term.
Does that mean we should leave?
Not yet. Iraq deserves one last chance.
But to make that chance even remotely viable, we'll have to take desperate measures. We need to fight. And accept the consequences.
The first thing we need to do is to kill Muqtada al-Sadr, who's now a greater threat to our strategic goals than Osama bin Laden.
We should've killed him in 2003, when he first embarked upon his murder campaign. But our leaders were afraid of provoking riots.
Back then, the tumult might've lasted a week. Now we'll face a serious uprising. So be it. When you put off paying war's price, you pay compound interest in blood.
We must kill - not capture - Muqtada, then kill every gunman who comes out in the streets to avenge him.
Our policy of all-carrots-no-sticks has failed miserably. We delivered Iraq to zealots, gangsters and terrorists. Now our only hope is to prove that we mean business - that the era of peace, love and wasting American lives is over.
And after we've killed Muqtada and destroyed his Mahdi Army, we need to go after the Sunni insurgents.
Al-Sadr lives on our forbearance. We need to regain the initiative and that means going on the offensive. The cries of outrage will be many and the body count will climb but for the blood we've spilled and the chance of truly changing fundamentally the Middle East so that it primary export will not be Islamofascism antithetical to our liberal democratic values and our existence, it needs to be done.