The links between these groups remain murky and the American team began to irritate the Iraqis with what some saw as a crude attempt to gather intelligence. They asked questions about the “hierarchy and logistics of the groups, how they functioned, how orders were dispatched, how they divide their work and so on”, the Iraqi source said.
“It was a boring line of questioning that indicated an attempt to discover more about their enemy than about finding solutions,” one of the sources added. “We told the translator to inform them that if they persisted with this line we would all walk out of the meeting.”
In any event, the story shows that, once again, as has been proven time and again since Ronald Reagan took office back in 1981, that "no negotiations with terrorists" simply is not, never was and never will be a workable strategy.
Also, the sharp-eyed reader might notice that in an earlier post, I described how silly it was that Bush keeps talking about the armed opposition as though he could "see into their souls" and all that happy horse manure. Quite obviously, if negotiators were making a "crude attempt to gather intelligence" into basic and fundamental matters such as the command structure of the armed opposition, then Bush had absolutely NO basis whatsoever for pretending that he had all this deep, subtle, intricate knowledge about their thoughts and feelings and motivations.
UPDATE: Billmon comments on the confusion caused in conservative/Republican ranks by the switchover from "never negotiate with terrorists" to "well, it's okay to negotiate with some of them some of the time."