June 8, 2006

WHEREAS WE ONLY HAVE TO GET LUCKY ONCE:

Scars used to identify al-Zarqawi (June 8, 2006, CNN)

Scars and fingerprints were used by U.S.-led coalition forces in Iraq to identify the body of insurgent leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, officials said.

In a statement Thursday announcing details of the killing of al-Zarqawi, U.S. General George W. Casey said the body of the most wanted insurgent in the violence-racked country was recovered after an air strike.

He said Iraqi police were first on the scene, eight kilometers (five miles) north of the city of Baquba, followed by coalition troops.


Al-Zarqawi killed in U.S. air raid (Seattle Times news services, 6/08/06)
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said al-Zarqawi was killed along with seven aides Wednesday evening in a house 30 miles northeast of Baghdad in the volatile province of Diyala.

"Today, al-Zarqawi was eliminated," al-Maliki told a news conference, drawing loud applause from reporters as he was flanked by U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and U.S. Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq.

Al-Maliki said the air strike was the result of intelligence reports provided to Iraqi security forces by residents in the area, and U.S. forces acted on the information.

"Those who disrupt the course of life, like al-Zarqawi, will have a tragic end," he said.


Zarqawi killed in Iraq air raid (BBC, 6/08/06)
The head of US-led forces in Iraq, General George Casey, said the strike against an "isolated safe house" took place at 1815 (1415 GMT) on Wednesday. [...]

Zarqawi was not a global mastermind like al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, says the BBC's security correspondent, Frank Gardner.

Instead he was a bloodthirsty and violent thug, who made enemies and several mistakes that might have contributed to his downfall.

These included ordering a triple suicide bombing against hotels in Amman, Jordan, last November, that killed 60 people, our correspondent says.

A Jordanian official told the Associated Press that Jordanian agents had contributed to the operation against Zarqawi. [...]

Mr Maliki said intelligence from Iraqi people had helped track down Zarqawi, who had a $25m (£13m) price on his head - the same bounty as that offered by the US for Bin Laden.

"What happened today is a result of co-operation for which we have been asking from our masses and the citizens of our country," he said.


Opponents of Iraq's liberation like to think it's another Vietnam, but the minority status of the Sunni, the hostility of the majority Shi'a to the "insurgency," and the ease with which we can strike them any time we get intelligence about their whereabouts -- nevermind any time they tried actually appearing publicly -- are just a few of the reasons it's completely different.

MORE:
U.S. strike kills Iraq terror chief al-Zarqawi (USA Today, 6/8/2006)

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al-Qaeda's leader in Iraq who led a bloody campaign of suicide bombings and kidnappings, has been killed in an airstrike, U.S. and Iraqi officials said Thursday. It was a major victory in the U.S.-led war in Iraq and the broader war on terror.

"Zarqawi has met his end and this violent man will never murder again," President Bush said Thursday morning at the White House. He called al-Zarqawi's death "a severe blow to al-Qaeda and a victory in the global war on terror."


Top al-Qaeda chief killed (PATRICK QUINN, 6/08/06, ASSOCIATED PRESS)
The announcement came six days after the Jordanian-born terror leader appeared in a videotape, railing against Shiites in Iraq and saying militias are raping women and killing Sunnis and the community must fight back.

A Power Vacuum in Iraq (NY Times, June 8, 2006)
Almost six months after Iraqis voted for their first full-term government, two of the most essential jobs in that government remain unfilled: the interior minister, who oversees the police, and the defense minister, who oversees the army. That would be a serious political crisis in any country. It is little short of calamitous for Iraq.

Iraq PM says Zarqawi killed: TV (Mariam Karouny, 6/08/06, Reuters)
Maliki had earlier won the approval of his Shi'ite Alliance for nominees for the interior and defense posts and will present them to parliament on Thursday, Shi'ite sources said.

"Last night the Alliance gave Maliki authorization to present the candidates for interior and defense minister to parliament today," Alliance member Bahaa al-Araji told Reuters.

Maliki apparently broke the deadlock by offering to present two Shi'ite nominees for interior minister -- Jawaad al-Bolani and Farouk al-Araji -- in a bid to satisfy several leaders in his fractious Alliance.

Maliki's Sunni Arab nominee for defense minister -- Iraqi ground forces commander General Abdel Qader Jassim -- remains the same, said the sources.


Posted by Orrin Judd at June 8, 2006 7:26 AM
Comments

All things considered, 6/6/6 turned out to be not so bad.

Posted by: Guy T. at June 8, 2006 7:40 AM

drawing loud applause from reporters

Iraqi reporters, of course.

Meanwhile, Americans were treated to another hilarious morning of NPR coverage. They didn't quite come out and say that the brutal murder of the moderate Zarqawi was a blow to the Coalition war effort, but they were quite clear that this would make no difference whatsoever. At about 7:15, they did have on a guest who thought that this was a big deal and that Zarqawi couldn't be replaced by any old insurgent. They moved him right off and went immediately to their Pentagon correspondent, traveling with Secretary Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld had not yet made any public statement, so there was no news purpose for going to the correspondent, but he knew exactly what to say about how Zarqawi would be immediately replaced and this would make no difference.

It really is true that there is no mass murderer so vile that the media won't treat him with respect so long as he is an enemy of the United States.

Posted by: David Cohen at June 8, 2006 8:22 AM

So not all humor is conservative?

Posted by: Barry Meislin at June 8, 2006 8:29 AM

Guy:

Except for Satan.

Posted by: oj at June 8, 2006 8:36 AM

I suppose this means more phony blog entries from "The Zarkman" from iowahawk.

Posted by: Bryan at June 8, 2006 8:43 AM

David:

You are absolutely correct.

After all, it doesn't take much imagination to see Dan Rather, Diane Sawyer, Anderson Cooper, Wolf Blitzer, Mike Wallace, or any one of the herd rushing to interview Zarqawi or Osama or Zawahiri, so that their 'side' of the story can be told.

And you can bet there will be someone from the drive-by media who decries Zarqawi's death as further evidence of American persecution of Iraqi minorities.

Posted by: jim hamlen at June 8, 2006 9:03 AM

The BBC said "Zarqawi was not a global mastermind like al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden ..Instead he was a bloodthirsty and violent thug

Now that the mere trailer trash "thug" is out of the way, the media can refocus on the truly noble "global mastermind"

Posted by: h-man at June 8, 2006 9:16 AM

I love this detail, from Reuters:

"Zarqawi was apparently injured at first... The Americans found him. They handed him over to the Iraqis and he later died of his injuries," ABC said.

Posted by: David Cohen at June 8, 2006 9:27 AM

To play devil's advocate, how important is\was Zarqawi to the insurgency?

Sure he made for a prominent figurehead, but I imagine a lot of the terrorist grunt work is being done by much quieter and low-key individuals.

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at June 8, 2006 9:37 AM

Not that terrorism is generally much use, but if it's totally random and disconnected from any broader purpose it's particularly useless.

Posted by: oj at June 8, 2006 9:41 AM

It's been a good week. Yanks putting the beat down on Sawx and Beckett, World Cup starts tomorrow, and now the Z-man is dead and libs/media frothing. (The response of ABC's Bill Weir was to get back in touch with an anti-war father whose son had been behinded by Z-man to get the choice quote that us killing Z only prolongs the "endless cycle of retribution"!)

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at June 8, 2006 9:54 AM

> A Jordanian official told the Associated Press that Jordanian agents had contributed to the operation against Zarqawi

You know it's good when people try to horn in on the credit.

Hey Z-Man, say "Hello" to ADM Yamamoto for the USAF.

Posted by: Bob Hawkins at June 8, 2006 10:06 AM

David - of course Bush has had him in the freezer for the past 6 months and is only now bringing him out to prop up his sagging poll numbers. Sarcasm off

Posted by: AWW at June 8, 2006 10:31 AM

Zarqawi should have bought some Rolands from the French. Or stolen some of the ones Saddam bought.

I'm sure Juan Cole and Cindy Sheehan will have words of wisdom for us today. Maybe Michael Moore can comment on his favorite "Minuteman". And perhaps Patty Murray can tell us about all the clinics Zarko set up in Iraq.

But, the people I am really waiting to hear from are Ramsey Clark, Jimmy Carter, and Howard Dean.

Posted by: ratbert at June 8, 2006 10:40 AM

The notion that he was wounded and finished off by the Iraqi soldiers sounds like a classic Arab rumor ... it's what millions of Iraqis wish happened. They create such rumors by the thousands over there.

Of course, it's plausible because it could be true.

Posted by: pj at June 8, 2006 10:41 AM

pj: It's definitely too good to check.

Posted by: David Cohen at June 8, 2006 10:47 AM

More important, who cares if it's true? That it's the kind of rumor they desire tells you everything.

Posted by: oj at June 8, 2006 10:47 AM

Ali -

Taking out terror leaders has worked very well for Israel, and I see why it would be no different in Iraq. I remember reading somewhere that a communication was intercepted from Z complaining the competence of his new people was dismal. Not a good pool for promotion one would think.

Posted by: BJW at June 8, 2006 10:52 AM

Futher reports on NPR this morning indicated there were over a dozen other raids immediately following the airstrike. They didn't elaborate, but the inference seems clear to me; US or Iraqi intelligence had deeply penetrated Z's organization, but they waited for a clean shot at him before rolling up the rest of the targets and revealing the compromise. Plenty of secondary documents were said to have been seized at those sites...

Posted by: Mike Earl at June 8, 2006 11:09 AM

Mike: I read an excerpt from one of the big-name Iraqi blogs a couple of days ago that there were rumors around Baghdad that a big anti-insurgency offensive was imminent...

Posted by: b at June 8, 2006 11:31 AM

"Deeply penetrated," you say? Wonder if there's a mole in the al-Quaida organization?

Probably not, but you can never be sure.

Remember, Osama, it's only paranoia if nobody's really out to get you.

Posted by: Mike Morley at June 8, 2006 11:36 AM

Heard on NPR as caller to DR's show, started to break down in sobs over the "murder" of Zarqawi and how the US should be held responsible for it.

Letís see what a 500 lb surprise from the sky would do to brighten up his day.

Posted by: buck at June 8, 2006 12:40 PM

"It really is true that there is no mass murderer so vile that the media won't treat him with respect so long as he is an enemy of the United States."

"After all, it doesn't take much imagination to see Dan Rather, Diane Sawyer, Anderson Cooper, Wolf Blitzer, Mike Wallace, or any one of the herd rushing to interview Zarqawi or Osama or Zawahiri, so that their 'side' of the story can be told.

And you can bet there will be someone from the drive-by media who decries Zarqawi's death as further evidence of American persecution of Iraqi minorities."

I don't think either of these takes is on target. Quick impression this morning, based on a perusal of the mass media and Leftist Blogoville: there's a bit of a disconnect between them. Mass media are, as might be expected, attempting to present possible consequences of Zarqawi's death, with the main impression being that we cannot expect a great decrease in terrorist activity in Iraq in the short term. Maybe that fits with your expected meme, maybe not.

"The Left" has a different take. They're bringing up the pre-war incident in which the military had a good, clean shot at Zarqawi, then in non-Saddam-controlled northern Iraq, but wasn't allowed to take it, presumably because in the run-up to war Zarqawi was worth more to Bush alive than dead. A bit parenthetical to the current story, perhaps, but of at least passing relevance.

Posted by: M. Bulger at June 8, 2006 1:04 PM

A single observation, from someone who presumably is conversant with the facts, a pastime which, while not fashionable, I still recommend:

From a piece by Mary Anne Weaver in the new Atlantic, something a Jordanian intelligence official told her: "Zarqawi had the ambition to become what he has, but whatever happens, even if he becomes the most popular figure in Iraq, he can never go against the symbolism that bin Laden represents. If Zarqawi is captured or killed tomorrow, the Iraqi insurgency will go on. There is no such thing as 'Zarqawism.' What Zarqawi is will die with him."

This creep has certainly been our terror poster boy, just as Sadaam was, inexplicably, before him. Our difficulties are perhaps in no way diminished by their passing. Pinning our hopes on one dead man makes no more sense than pinning them on one live man.

Here's the inescapable future, kidz: At this point, no one can help us in Iraq but the Iraqis. And only if they choose to.

Posted by: shieldvulf at playful at June 8, 2006 4:03 PM

M: Having listened to NPR, I concluded that they treated him with a respect that is, in context, vile.

shieldvulf: He was a mass murderer and a religious fanatic. He is the originator of the theory that it would be a good idea to set off a holy war between Iraq's Shi'ites and Sunni. No one's saying that the insurgency is over. We're saying that this scumbag is dead and that's a good thing. The fact that there are indications that his organization has been crippled at the same time -- the 19 simultaneous raids that are slipping below the radar screen -- is good news, too.

Posted by: David Cohen at June 8, 2006 4:11 PM

They are, of course, diminished by his passing, since the movement has no ideology, just personalities. One of our problems in Iraq is that we didn't kill Saddam when we found him, so Ba'atists can still dream of resuming power.

Posted by: oj at June 8, 2006 4:13 PM

Bet we got bunches of intel from the 50 outward-bound dudes the Wolf Brigade picked up at that Baghdad bus depot earlier this week.

Posted by: ghostcat at June 8, 2006 4:48 PM

"Opponents of Iraq's liberation like to think it's another Vietnam, but the minority status of the Sunni, the hostility of the majority Shi'a to the "insurgency," and the ease with which we can strike them any time we get intelligence about their whereabouts -- nevermind any time they tried actually appearing publicly -- are just a few of the reasons it's completely different."

Excuse me, but Zippy the Chimp could strike with ease if he knows exactly where to look. It's taken over 3 years to take out al-Zarqawi and you're thumping your chest over this??

Posted by: 3reddogs at June 8, 2006 4:59 PM

3:

No, I'm saying that the war is unlosable. Particular events don't matter.

Posted by: oj at June 8, 2006 5:11 PM

ghost:

Likelky from Iran as well, which he threatened in his latest anti-Shi'a screeds.

Posted by: oj at June 8, 2006 5:11 PM

The Zarkman wanted martyrdom. Our outstanding military forces granted him his highest wish. Shouldn't NPR, et al be, ya know, like throwin' some props there way for all the nuanced cultural sensitivity?

Posted by: John Resnick at June 8, 2006 7:21 PM

We'd better stop killing the leaders of Al Qaida soon, or we'll really be in trouble.

Posted by: Pepys at June 8, 2006 8:01 PM

oj -

Yes. FOX reports cooperation from an "unlikely" source. It's certainly plausible that Iran did in the Z-man as a gesture of good will. Of course, he may also have been the man who knew too much.

Posted by: ghostcat at June 8, 2006 8:03 PM

And there are also reports that we've been "renditioning" captured terrorist suspects to Syria. Another "unlikely" source, and one better positioned ethnically and geographically to be of assistance.

Posted by: ghostcat at June 8, 2006 8:08 PM

Pete Stark said today that Zarqawi's death was a stunt to provide distraction from Bush's failures. Dennis Kucinich said Zarqawi was a small-time player whose death won't change anything.

Why can't they just say job well done, and walk away from the microphones? Their commentary says it all.

Posted by: jim hamlen at June 9, 2006 2:11 AM

Actually I was listening to the NPR broadcast that morning. They didn't treat Z. with any respect. They just reported the news. They did point out that Z's group was one of 3 major insurgency groups in Iraq and that there are almost 20 others. That's why, however it may help, it doesn't wrap things up with a bow. (more of a dis than showing respect) Even Rumsfeld has been downplaying things so that he doesn't say anything to be thrown back at him later.
Oh, yeah. And nobody I've heard or read, right or left, is "frothing". Such rhetoric makes you sound like a goof.

Posted by: jeff at June 10, 2006 10:53 PM
« A MANAGEABLE PROBLEM: | Main | THE THIRD WAY REGNANT: »