The Lessons of Najaf

In the face-off at the shrine, U.S. and Iraqi leaders vowed to crush al-Sadr's rebellion. But they may have stoked the insurgency even more

The tile walls of the holy shrine of Imam Ali in Najaf are riddled with bullets, the marble floors streaked with blood. Inside the gates of the besieged compound last week, members of Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army slept and patched up their wounds and died. But their determination never faltered, even under the withering firepower of the vastly superior army outside. Haidar, 23, had come to join the fight from his family's house just on the other side of the U.S. cordon encircling the shrine. "I was a history student, but now I have this," he said, waving aloft his Kalashnikov....