Well, how about that? The US offers Iraq's government the option of shitting or getting off the pot and, according to reports today, all of a sudden protection of Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army is over.
On top of that, for the first time in two months, al-Sadr sent his parliamentary representatives back to work, signalling his own worry that the US is finally serious about the threat his death squads pose. He also ordered his "militia" members not to display their weapons in public.
And, he should be worried. I hope.
This road has been travelled before and it has not ended well. The coalition has repeatedly backed away from serious confrontation with terrorist elements, the Iraqi government has thrown up more resistance than assistance and, like untold arab terror leaders before him, al-Sadr has used Western benevolence and concepts of "justice" to his advantage on several occasions.
The small steps the last couple of days have been blunted by the deaths of 26 more American soldiers along with at least 46 Iraqis found dead on Sunday, most of whom had been tortured first.
That, everyone should remind themselves, is what these "militia" represent: the rule of the barbarian over civilization.
There will be, I hope, no negotations with al-Sadr or others of his ilk this time around that does not end with them either dead or imprisoned. Letting up would be suicidal.