Prior to the actual invasion of Iraq, there had been some discussion on the Internet and elsewhere about whether such an invasion constituted a 'just war'. In an Op-Ed piece in the New York Times on the 9th of March 2003,former President Jimmy Carter argued that the impending war on Iraq was not a 'just' war.
One of the chief pillars of those arguing in the affirmative was the eradication of suspected caches of WMD. Under such circumstances prosecuting a war would be considered 'just' and resisting it would be 'unjust'. At the time, such was the climate surrounding Moqtada Al-Sadr and his militia. Facts have since shown there to have been no WMD. Can we therefore bring ourselves to conclude that perhaps the Al-Sadr resistance may in fact have been a 'just' resistance ?
While at that time there was talk and threats of eliminating Al-Sadr and his militia, the U.S. forces were either unable for military reasons or unwilling for political ones to finish him and his militia off. As we all know, Al-Sadr has since negotiated with U.S. forces, laid down his weapons and he now appears to be part of the political landscape and process such as it is in Iraq.
In hindsight, therefore, events seem to have made it imprudent to argue, as Professor Dershowitz has done here , that since it was ok to target (only for a time as it turned out) Al-Sadr it was therefore also ok to have targeted and eliminated Yassin and Rantisi.