Finally, a bit of good news from Iraq. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is dead.

In case you somehow missed it this morning, and it’s hard to imagine how, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed in a U.S. airstrike yesterday:

“Special Operations forces, acting on tips and intelligence from Iraqis, confirmed Zarqawi’s location and delivered justice to the most wanted terrorist in Iraq,” Bush said.

“Zarqawi personally beheaded American hostages and other civilians in Iraq,” Bush said. “Now Zarqawi has met his end and this violent man will never murder again.”

I listened to President Bush’s speech this morning on the way to work and I have to admit that I’m impressed he managed to avoid the temptation to gloat and made a point of saying that this doesn’t mean the end of the insurgency by any stretch of the imagination. It was a very measured and cautious speech considering his tendency to talk shit most of the time and it’s a safe bet the Administration has been hoping for something like this to happen for awhile now.

There’s some debate over how practical versus symbolic the impact from this will end up being, but either way I have to admit I’m happy to see one man who truly deserved death get his just reward. I’m generally opposed to the death penalty, but I am willing to make exceptions for people such as Zarqawi. This is a step in the right direction that will hopefully be followed by many more. Personally I’d love to see bin-Laden be the next one on the wrong end of a U.S. airstrike.

Update: Another reason to celebrate: This entry is officially the 4,000th in SEB.

14 thoughts on “Finally, a bit of good news from Iraq. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is dead.

  1. I’m generally opposed to the death penalty, but I am willing to make exceptions for people such as Zarqawi.

    I like the idea of being opposed to the death penalty and making exceptions in extraordinary cases, rather than having a regularized death-penalty system.  It shouldn’t be something we do so often that we have pads of forms printed up for it.

  2. Congrats on the 4,000.

    I listened to Bush’s speech, too.  Man still drives me nuts with his speechifying patterns, but it was, as you say, firm and low-key.

    It is regrettable that this will probably not be taken as an event to be satisfied over (esp. since there are indications that a number of other high-ranking black hats were there with Zarqawi), but will lead to immediate shrill partisan bickering over “See, we’re winning!” “Meaningless gesture!” among uber-partisans on the subject.

    Regardless of how one feels about past or present US policy in Iraq, the world is probably a bit better off today than yesterday with his death.  I would rather he’d been struck by lightning while invoking Allah in front of a bunch of his cut-throats, but you can’t always get everything you want.

  3. Maybe I’m being bitterly realistic, but organisations like Al Qaedia generally share characteristics with the hydra, not only will 3 stand up where he was standing, but there were be even more brutal revenge strikes back again.

    I can’t help but feel that this will do no good and only make the situation worse.

  4. Not to pick nits… Okay, I’m picking nits… But I thought Osama Bin Ladin was the most wanted terrorist.

  5. You weren’t paying attention to our Decider-In-Chief, Jonesy.  Bin Ladin just doesn’t matter anymore.  We’ve moved on to other, more important things.

  6. I would rather he’d been struck by lightning while invoking Allah in front of a bunch of his cut-throats, but you can’t always get everything you want.

    LOL Perfect.

  7. As to the issue of the hydra, a terrorist oragnization does indeed operate in cells which makes their complete destruction almost impossible, but lets be realistic. This was a huge blow to their infrastructure. An organization, no matter how determined or well organized needs central leadership. Granted, this does not, in fact, mean the end of the insurgency, nor does it mean that there won’t be any strikes against US targets as a form of retaliation, but this does mean that the organization itself will have severe funding issues which is key to its defeat. Most terrorist organizations function with four basic cells. Each cell is given its own functions and allowed the opportunity to operate independently of the others. For example, there is a cell whose purpose is to raise money for the organization. Another carries out the attack. Yet another provides intelligence and finally, the last cell directs the actions of the primary three. Destroy one and the others may continue to function, but the entire operation suffers. For instance, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s presence was required for leadership. His focus was the end game. Now of course, the other cells may continue to operate by making money, buying weapons, and killing, but to what end? Will their efforts account for anything in the end? Lack of leadership provides for a dangerous and unpredictable organization, yes, but it also provides for one without direction or purpose. One which might quickly lose support. Hopefully, they will lose enough to no longer function. Hopefully…..

  8. I would rather he’d been struck by lightning while invoking Allah in front of a bunch of his cut-throats, but you can’t always get everything you want.

    That would be definitely fitting…
    But using him as testrat for studying Ebola and other such viruses would have been more productive.

    You weren’t paying attention to our Decider-In-Chief, Jonesy.  Bin Ladin just doesn’t matter anymore.  We’ve moved on to other, more important things.

    Yep, Bin Laden stopped being interesting year after WTC when war for world dominance had gotten kickstarted.

  9. Not to pick nits… Okay, I’m picking nits… But I thought Osama Bin Ladin was the most wanted terrorist.

    And still is. The quote in the speech specifies the most wanted terrorist IN IRAQ.

  10. Les: I’m generally opposed to the death penalty, but I am willing to make exceptions for people such as Zarqawi.

    Yeah. Me too. Weird, A?

    This entry is officially the 4,000th in SEB.

    Congratulations. smile

    ***Dave: I would rather he’d been struck by lightning while invoking Allah in front of a bunch of his cut-throats, but you can’t always get everything you want.

    But one can pray, can’t one?
    Are you allowed to pray for shit happening to an arse’ole?  grin

  11. I’m afraid that I’m one of those who thinks AMZ’s death doesn’t mean much in the greater scheme of things.  I just don’t think “the insurgency” is mainly an Al Qaeda show: it’s the people in the neighborhoods, or just the local area, who are making and detonating IEDs, kidnapping Westerners and shooting at people who cooperate with Americans.  There just doesn’t seem to be much coordination, just local action, perhaps with some technical assistance, not unlike what our Special Forces were trained to do back in the 50s and 60s.

    To me, in terms of the war, killing AMZ is not much different than, say, killing the White House press secretary.  Yes, he is the one you see on the news, but he’s really not that important.

    Plus, getting killed=martyr, something I’ve noticed many Arabs seem to be keen on.  Not to mention that he was killed by being bombed.  Propagandists will say the Americans hide behind their technology, they were afraid to send men to face AMZ, afraid to be killed by him.  If you recall, that argument was levied against the US after our cruise missile strikes against Al Qaeda back in the Clinton years.

    AMZ was a bad dude, and the world better off without him in it, but his whole image as terrorist mastermind of Iraq was just P.R., ours and theirs.  I have to agree with the War Nerd on AMZ.  War Nerd may be un-PC, but then war is pretty damn un-PC itself.

  12. I don’t think anyone is holding onto the illusion that AMZ’s death is anything close to an end to the insurgency, but he’s responsible for some pretty heinous acts and as such his death is long overdue.

  13. …getting killed=martyr, something I’ve noticed many Arabs seem to be keen on.  Not to mention that he was killed by being bombed.  Propagandists will say the Americans hide behind their technology, they were afraid to send men to face AMZ, afraid to be killed by him.  If you recall, that argument was levied against the US after our cruise missile strikes against Al Qaeda back in the Clinton years.

    In the last two months the Sunni leadership (various clans’ shieks) has been a decided enemy of the alQaeda insurgency; After Zarqawi(AMZ) ordered the killing of several Sunni shieks, they then started eliminating a number of his local operatives, rather systematically, and have begun working their way up the ladder.  There is a definite hatred now between the Iraqi Insurgency (roughly 90% of the larger-insurgency) and the 10% that alQaeda’s imported soldiers represent in the conflict.

    This is one of the reasons alQaeda Mesopotamia has named an Iraqi to replace AMZ, where as AMZ himself named an Egyptian.  Iraqis hate (hate) foreign meddlers.

    After AMZ’s death there were large celebrations not just in Shia neighborhoods, but also Sunni sectors too.  Lambs were killed, meat given the to local poor families, and so on.  And, they meant it. AMZ was a hated, hated man by most Iraqis, regardless of affiliation.

    Outside of Iraq his support is slightly more favorable.  Yet, the Arab street really deplored the Amman Wedding Bombings, never mind when his soldiers blew up roughly 36-50 children and women in Baghd’d.

    Arab’s don’t martyr those who *decide* to murder children and women, regardless of their political agenda. His death, and betrayal, makes this rather clear to his supporters and crew alike.

    RE: The Use of Tech vs Hand in US Killings
    You mean like 9/11 ?
    Hamas’s rockets ?
    Suicide bombers ?
    The Arab Street would love to use tech, too. They envy our abilities, and thus diss them—meanwhile developing better and better mimics of our own methods of war. Arabs warriors hate that which they cannot do.

    rob@egoz.org

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