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Zarqawi reported dead
June 8, 2006 12:39 AM   Subscribe

Zarqawi reported dead in Iraq. The Iraqi president has just appeared on TV there, no video grab as yet. Will Zarquai's possible death help end Iraq's sectarian violence? Or is it just a standard colonial tool of occupation
posted by jaduncan (238 comments total)

 
Will Zarquai's possible death help end Iraq's sectarian violence? Or is it just a standard colonial tool of occupation

um
posted by ori at 12:48 AM on June 8, 2006


I just saw Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki on live TV confirming that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has been killed. He's too much of a political heavy hitter for this not to be true, I think.
posted by jaduncan at 12:48 AM on June 8, 2006


Why is that a false dilemma? They are two separate questions, feel free to say no to both.
posted by jaduncan at 12:50 AM on June 8, 2006


If you consider that he was probably just set up for fame by the US as a convenient focus for publicity and that the resistance is fairly de-centralized, well no. The violence will probably just get worse.
posted by IronLizard at 12:53 AM on June 8, 2006


Who cares? I give them less than a week before they start talking about a new guy to blame.
posted by nightchrome at 12:54 AM on June 8, 2006


Emanuel Goldstein is dead. Long live Emanuel Goldstein.
posted by ryoshu at 12:54 AM on June 8, 2006


US are apparently saying that the death has been confirmed by fingerprinting.
posted by greycap at 12:55 AM on June 8, 2006


I see. Well, there it is. Yes.
posted by ktoad at 12:59 AM on June 8, 2006


Osama who again?
posted by Optamystic at 1:01 AM on June 8, 2006


great... just my luck.

I bet he wouldn't be captured/killed this year
posted by pruner at 1:06 AM on June 8, 2006


Debka reported earlier that some time ago Bin Ladin appointed an Iraqi named Abd Al-Hadi as a new leader for the Iraqi front. Another guy to look for is Wariya Arbili.
posted by growabrain at 1:24 AM on June 8, 2006


It was too bad we didn't kill him when we first had the chance back before the war. But I guess he was more useful alive, at least until recently.
posted by homunculus at 1:27 AM on June 8, 2006


Whoever the new guy is will have to personally behead Americans/Westerners like Zarqawi did to gain the same notoriety. Although Zarqawi was known to the US gov't before the invasion, the public didn't take notice until he beheaded Nick Berg. Seems like westerners are being kidnapped less (probably out of being cautious and not going to Iraq to begin with) so maybe Zarqawi level infamy will be hard to attain.

The terror won't stop though, that's for sure.
posted by b_thinky at 1:28 AM on June 8, 2006


I really look forward to seeing this kind of story on Drudge, because he has the best pictures and the siren and the huge headline and all that. But I go there now and what's he got? Nothing! Must be in bed...
posted by b_thinky at 1:31 AM on June 8, 2006


I hope his knife collection gets auctioned on ebay to benefit the many victims families he affected.
posted by Guerilla at 2:13 AM on June 8, 2006


About bloody time.
posted by Jimbob at 2:34 AM on June 8, 2006


Hate to come across as a paranoid conspiracist here... The World Cup start tomorrow in Germany which IMHO would be considered a prime target for Al Q terrorists due to the media spotlight, the US kills someone billed as Public Enemy number 2, those sympathetic to Al Q get an added prod to act now... If Al Q do act in Germany in response to this reverse the two sides US and Al Q get mega publicity for their respective causes which, though diametrically opposed, rely on each other's vigour.

Alternatively I suppose one could argue that with the world focussed on the World Cup (for USians you may have no idea how big this competition looms in a huge number of countries, little else discussed here in Scotland and we're not even in the thing) then any backlash this provokes in non-Western, and therefore less newsworthy for the West, areas will be less reported and therefore opposite scenario from above parnoid initial reaction.

But on balance I guess that the US might not attribute much significance to the World Cup as it doesn't have the same effect on their domestic market.

There, I think I've covered all bases so no matter what transpiress I'll be right (but twice wrong).
posted by Gratishades at 2:54 AM on June 8, 2006


Will Zarquai's possible death help end Iraq's sectarian violence?

Throughout this pagent there have been a series of names paraded out under the banner, "as soon as we get this guy it will be all wine and roses." We keep getting these guys, but, as of yet, no wine and roses.

So, let's turn the question around. Do you believe that Dick Cheny having his 28th heart attack and keeling over dead would damage our military capabilities?
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 3:04 AM on June 8, 2006



Will Zarquai's possible death help end Iraq's sectarian violence?

Shit, I dunno, but look:

Reuters:
"The announcement of Zarqawi's death had an impact on oil prices. Crude futures were down more than one dollar to $69.82."

Yay! Can we start packing up now?
posted by redteam at 3:18 AM on June 8, 2006


Surely this is bad news? It's just going to make a martyr out of Zarqawi and rally support for al-Qaeda. If they knew where he was then they should have at least tried to go in and arrest him. His summary execution sends out all the wrong messages. You don't earn respect with a big stick.
posted by jiroczech at 3:44 AM on June 8, 2006


It's just going to make a martyr out of Zarqawi

Exactly, maybe that was the point.

they should have at least tried to go in and arrest him

No doubt he could have revealed a wealth of information also "thanks" to the not-quite-tourture and illegal detainment method so hip these days. Hey but maybe he could have speaked too much ! Maybe he knew, but too much !
posted by elpapacito at 3:49 AM on June 8, 2006


Great for a week of news, bad for the war. He should have been captured and tried, not martyred.

Plus, while I'm sure the usual suspects both here and elsewhere will preach the worthines of the war, etc. because of this, Al-Zarqawi was killed in what was the umpteenth bombing raid that that's left thousands of dead Iraqis who just happened to not be a terrorist leader. It's good news, but there are far too many slaughtered eggs on the ground to make this a particularly tasty omlette.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:02 AM on June 8, 2006


Will Zarquai's possible death help end Iraq's sectarian violence?

It's certain to end the violence. Surely old Zarq was the last person in Iraq who knew how to blow up a mortar round with a cellphone and had an irrational grudge against an occupying army. Hurrah, hurrah.
posted by Divine_Wino at 4:09 AM on June 8, 2006


Surely this is bad news? It's just going to make a martyr out of Zarqawi and rally support for al-Qaeda.

Bad news, but quite possibly for the opposite reason - apparently Zarqawi was just too nutty for many potential supporters, his removal opens the way for 'moderate' potential terrorists/insurgents/freedom fighters/whatever to sign up.
posted by jack_mo at 4:17 AM on June 8, 2006


It won't make any difference at all. Zarqawi did not create the anti-Western sentiment, he merely capitalized on it.

I noticed that once again the US claims to have found a "laptop full of information." I expect this latest find will be about as useful as the dozens of others they claim to have found.
posted by Jatayu das at 4:29 AM on June 8, 2006


I can't help but think that the Bush administration knew where Zarqawi was all along and decided to kill him at an opportune moment to distract the American public from the murders of 24 innocent men, women and children. Killing Zarqawi will do little to nothing to stem insurgent violence in Iraq, but it makes for a feel-good press conference.
posted by Mr. Six at 4:44 AM on June 8, 2006


Good riddance
posted by caddis at 4:54 AM on June 8, 2006


We win!
posted by sonofsamiam at 5:03 AM on June 8, 2006


I posted this exact comment over in the duplicated thread too. Here's my take:

The US already had Zarqawi in custody. He was one of the high-value prisoners kept from Red Cross scrutiny for national security reasons (those reasons being his value for psychological ops like the recently released "bonus" footage that the army somehow produced showing Zarqawi not knowing how to properly load or fire his own gun, despite all those years in terrorist training camp). Because there's a lot of political heat on Bush at the moment, they killed him and are now making a triumphant noise about it. This has now crossed the line into blatant treason.
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 5:21 AM on June 8, 2006


Well, blatant law breaking, etc...etc.. but even if you were right...I'm not sure if I see anything treasonous about holding someone to kill at an appropiate time for political benefit.

That said, I think we'd score more points by parading Zarqawi as a prisoner than toting his corpse around. So no, I doubt we already had him.
posted by Atreides at 5:25 AM on June 8, 2006


I posted this exact comment over in the duplicated thread too. Here's my take: The US already had Zarqawi in custody.

I see. Don't happen to have any evidence of this, do you? Or is the lack of evidence to be taken as evidence in support of that claim?
posted by jperkins at 5:28 AM on June 8, 2006


And regarding Zarqawi's demise: good riddance. And I don't see this as helping Dubya out at all with the amount of violence I think that it's going to trigger.
posted by jperkins at 5:30 AM on June 8, 2006


One down, 250,000 to go
posted by briank at 5:35 AM on June 8, 2006


jperkins, you appear to have crossed the line into blatant delusion.
posted by veedubya at 5:42 AM on June 8, 2006


And by jperkins, I of course mean all-seeing eye dog. My apologies to the blatantly undelusional jperkins.
posted by veedubya at 5:43 AM on June 8, 2006


And by jperkins, I of course mean all-seeing eye dog.

To clarify: I have been delusional for ages and ages now.
posted by jperkins at 5:45 AM on June 8, 2006


Great! Can our boys and girls come home now?
posted by rollbiz at 6:01 AM on June 8, 2006


Clearly the hate of Bush has gotten so bad that there is no longer any such thing as good news from Iraq.
posted by smackfu at 6:15 AM on June 8, 2006


Whatever. Dollar higher, oil lower, gold lower, futures off the lows, drillers lower, emerging markets lower, and Jos. A Banks clocked.
posted by wallstreet1929 at 6:16 AM on June 8, 2006


Clearly the hate of Bush has gotten so bad that there is no longer any such thing as good news from Iraq.

What can I say? Bush's orders have killed more civilians than Zarqawi.

Surely the rate of deaths in Iraq will dramatically decline now.

Or is "good" tallied by some other measure?
posted by sonofsamiam at 6:20 AM on June 8, 2006


Don't happen to have any evidence of this, do you?

You are missing the point, or perhaps the mindset. The lack of evidence is itself evidence of the assertion. Don't you think it is suspicious that there is so little evidence for my claim? Doesn't it seem awfully convenient for the powers that be that they have not produced any evidence for my assertion? And why is the mainstream media so strangely silent on this? Clearly, a conspiracy is at work. You'd be a fool not to see it.
posted by LarryC at 6:31 AM on June 8, 2006


Clearly the hate of Bush has gotten so bad that there is no longer any such thing as good news from Iraq.
posted by smackfu at 6:15 AM PST on June 8


eh? Please explain exactly how you have come to that conclusion.
posted by rough ashlar at 6:32 AM on June 8, 2006


And now it will be all Zarqawi, all the time, on the major news networks. Bush, Blair, and Rumsfeld each get a news conference to claim some of the reputational spoils.

I don't care. We created him. We killed him. There's more where he came from. And yeah, Osama who? Shameless. It's enough to make you actually believe we *did* wait to off him until the politically expedient moment. Wouldn't be the first time, uh uh.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:38 AM on June 8, 2006


Clearly the hate of Bush has gotten so bad that there is no longer any such thing as good news from Iraq.

You mean, we're several years into the war by now, Iraq is an exploding tinderbox of terrorism and sectarian violence, 2000 American soldiers have died and tens of thousands wounded, tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians have been also killed with uncountable numbers of wounded, while the formerly great country once known as America has lost many of its allies and is roundly perceived as rottening into a corrupt police state with a global network of secret torture-houses... but yeah, one of the four or five guys that one might have thought were the targets of this entire operation has now been killed in an air raid. Credit where credit is due: open the champagne.

Lowered expectations are a marvelous thing.
posted by digaman at 6:40 AM on June 8, 2006


Suicide Donkey Bomber Plot Thwarted! See, there's still so much in this world to fear, the killing of one individual is of little consequence.
posted by Balisong at 6:43 AM on June 8, 2006


Another number two man bites the dust. Good thing there isn't anyone to take his place.
posted by three blind mice at 6:45 AM on June 8, 2006


And now it will be all Zarqawi, all the time, on the major news networks. Bush, Blair, and Rumsfeld each get a news conference to claim some of the reputational spoils.

I'd love to see a reporter at the Bush press conference ask, "Does this put us any closer to capturing and/or killing Osama Bin Laden - the man that you laid the blame for the September 11th attacks on and is still free five years later? Is this all part of some masterful strategy to, 'smoke him out'?"
posted by jperkins at 6:46 AM on June 8, 2006


The US already had Zarqawi in custody....

and it was Zarqawi (paid for by the CIA) on the grassy knoll in '63 in Dallas. I know, I know, he wasn't technically born until a couple of years later, but don't let messy stuff like that destroy a good conspiracy theory. He was actually older than he looked. They just wanted you to believe he was only 39 to throw you off the suspicion about that day in Dallas.
posted by caddis at 6:47 AM on June 8, 2006


They can add his death to the special features on his blooper reel DVD.

Will Zarquai's possible death help end Iraq's sectarian violence?

It won't change a goddamn thing. We do not live in a James Bond movie. Zarqawi isn't the leader of the insurgency. There isn't one. The insurgency is made of up a lot of different groups, and the vast majority are Iraqis.

The administration has exaggerated Zarqawi's importance as a propaganda campaign to prop up the shaky War on Terror excuse for being in Iraq, and because it's embarassing that, three years into the occupation, many Iraqis are obstinately not greeting us as liberators. The downside of exaggerating his importance and bragging about killing him is that they'll have to come up with a new boogeyman when Zarqawi's death doesn't change anything.

2000 American soldiers have died and tens of thousands wounded
2,484 killed; 17,869 wounded

posted by kirkaracha at 6:54 AM on June 8, 2006


"Hail Hydra! Cut off a limb and two more shall take its place!"
posted by kimota at 7:03 AM on June 8, 2006


This is embarassing. And revolting. And sad.

To any sane person, the death of Zarqawi is an unadulterated Good Thing. To any person who gives one tenth of one shit about the future of Iraq and the Iraqi people, the death of Zarqawi is an unmitigated Great Thing. To any person who cares opposes terrorism in the name of human rights, the death of Zarqawi is undoubtedly Good News.

But here, we have people who can't admit it is Good News. Here, this news is down-played, discounted, and mocked. Here, some people can't even clear their throat about how this is good news and instead want to change the subject, preach conspiracy, or put forth any countering news to diminish this news. Quite simply, people are trying to turn this Good News into not good news.

And why? It's obvious why. Here, there are people who are so emotionally invested in their stupid partisanship that they fear that this Good News may benefit their partisan enemies. And in their small, cocooned world, that is the ultimate question. And since this objectively Good News may benefit their partisan enemies, they discredit this.

It is sad that people are so invested in their silly partisanship that they cannot acknowledge perfectly good news and have to try to downplay or discredit a good thing. It is embarrassing to see people engage in intellectual dishonesty in an effort to combat a perceived potential benefit for partisan foes.

Does the death of Zarqawi end it? Of course not. No one said it does, but nevertheless we have people mockingly asking if it does. Does this justify anything? Of course not. No one said it does. Is this the end of terrorism in Iraq? Of course not. None said it will be. All the officials have been quick to point that out. But nevertheless to the murdering thugs that are Zarqawi's people, this is unquestionably a Bad Thing and hurts the terrorist groups in Iraq. They will recover, but this hurts them. Does Bush deserve applause for this? Of course not. He should have had Zarqawi years ago.

But none of that matters in analyzing this news in isolation: is the death of Zarqawi a Good Thing for humanity? The answer in any sane mind is "yes."

Zarqawi was a murdering terrorist. He preached death. He planned death. He sought to cause a civil war. He sought to undermine democratic efforts in Iraq. He preached indiscriminate terror as a means to his ends. He was complete evil. And his death is a good thing. And everyone, no matter their political stripes, ought to have enough moral integrity and intellectual honesty to be able to admit this is a Good Thing.

But not here. Too much emotional investment in petty partisanship. Sad.
posted by dios at 7:16 AM on June 8, 2006 [3 favorites]


Dios: or put forth any countering news to diminish this news...

Osama bin Laden. Dead or alive. Preferably dead.
posted by jperkins at 7:21 AM on June 8, 2006


Well said, dios.
posted by smackfu at 7:22 AM on June 8, 2006


After reading the next post, I would also point that the revolting thing is the juxtaposition of this thread, with the great effort to diminish the moral utility of Zarqawi's death, with the thread that follows it, wherein people are applauding as justified and morally good the suggestion that President Bush should be assassinated. If there ever any need to show evidence that this site has gone the way of democracyunderground, one would need to look no further. If there was ever a need for an explanation for why so many people not on the Left ask the question to the Left "why do you hate America?" this juxtaposition would provide the basis for such a query.

The death of a known terrorist? Can't even acknowledge that is good news. The assassination of the President? A moral and just thing, from those same people's perspective.

Disgusting, really.
posted by dios at 7:26 AM on June 8, 2006


Dios, your 6th paragraph sums it all up.
posted by kuatto at 7:26 AM on June 8, 2006


and how many innocents were killed on the way to him.

These guys are fighting a 20th century war in the 21st century. You can't decapitate them like Hitler's Germany and expect the forces to disband. They are not fighting out of fear of reprisal from a dictator, they are fighting to repel invaders from their homeland. Just get the hell out of there.
posted by any major dude at 7:38 AM on June 8, 2006


And why? It's obvious why. Here, there are people who are so emotionally invested in their stupid partisanship that they fear that this Good News may benefit their partisan enemies. And in their small, cocooned world, that is the ultimate question. And since this objectively Good News may benefit their partisan enemies, they discredit this.

It is sad that people are so invested in their silly partisanship


Dios, I am not going to get into this with you, but the day before this astounding good news hit the papers, I had just watched our commander-in-chief hold a press conference to sponsor an amendment to the US Constitution to ban gay marriage. Why? Because gay marriages are destroying marriage? Prove it. Because Bush strongly believes in the cause? An old friend of his told Newsweek that he "doesn't give a s--t" about the issue. Even his fellow Republicans admitted that Bush was pandering to his base to get the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Gary Bauer excited about the GOP again In what fucking country are we living in that constitutional amendments promoting discrimination are cynically employed to boost poll numbers? Believe me, if it was your marriage at stake, you'd be concerned about Bush's "silly partisanship" too.

Zarqawi is dead. Yay! The fact that Bush's conduct of this war has given birth to thousands of Zarqawis who will threaten the safety and security of this country for generations doesn't even factor into your equation. You're like somebody who praises the arsonist who burns down your house for rescuing the cat.

I'm glad Zarqawi, who caused so much suffering and violence, is dead. But many of the principles on which this country was founded will be equally moribund unless these people are removed from office by the democratic process they are claiming to defend while acting to destroy. My partisanship isn't silly at all -- though the Democrats' own conduct sometimes make me feel like it is. My partisanship is an earnest expression of my patriotism and love for this country.
posted by digaman at 7:39 AM on June 8, 2006


It's real important to distinguish between the Zarkawi-led movement and the bulk of the insurgency.

The Zarkawi-led movement were ideological murderers, pursuing Osama bin-Laden's particular distortion of pan-Arabist Wahhabi maximalism. It's a small movement, with a very small leadership, and killing important members of it is actually quite helpful insofar as its threats.

By constrast, the bulk of Iraqi insurgents are anything but ideological. They are tribalist terrorists, interested in re-establishing by any means necessary the pre-eminence of the Sunni Arab tribes which traditionally dominated all the other tribal and sectarian groups of Iraq (the majority Arab Shia, the Kurds, the Christians, the Turkomen, etc.) If the old white stalwarts of Apartheid started to blow up buses and churches in Capetown, that would be a great analogy to the main body of the insurgency.

The Sunni tribal insurgency is going to be successfully dealt with (if at all) through a mix of soft and hard measures. Soft measures will ensure Sunni tribes an important measure of self-governance in their territories and non-discriminatory participation in the important political and economic institutions of the state. Hard measures will involve continued police, military and intelligence attacks to reduce the effectivness of the combatants. Each leg requires far more unity and competence than the present Iraqi political establishment has displayed to date, so it's going to be a while...
posted by MattD at 7:43 AM on June 8, 2006 [1 favorite]


...there are people who are so emotionally invested in their stupid partisanship...

Excuse who?
posted by airguitar at 7:44 AM on June 8, 2006


Yay!

Ok, now Iraq should turn into a peaceful, loving country where people can live without fear.

Right?
posted by bshort at 7:47 AM on June 8, 2006


Here, there are people who are so emotionally invested in their stupid partisanship that they fear that this Good News may benefit their partisan enemies.

And who, specifically, are you talking about?

Everyone in this thread seems very happy about this.
posted by bshort at 7:50 AM on June 8, 2006


Everyone in this thread seems very happy about this.

What?
posted by monju_bosatsu at 7:54 AM on June 8, 2006


"They are not fighting out of fear of reprisal from a dictator, they are fighting to repel invaders from their homeland."

Zarqawi was an invader.

He was not an Iraqi nor are most of his organizations "fighters".

Many of the most radical insurgents are foreigners, professional Jihadists that have no more "right" to be fighting in Iraq than the U.S, U.K. or Poland (don't forget Poland).

Zarqawi is dead and that is Good News.
posted by MikeMc at 7:56 AM on June 8, 2006


I certainly don't regret his death in the sense that I feel like anyone who kills outside the parameters of self-defense probably has it coming to them, certainly sawing peoples heads off on video is not the act of a gentleman.

However, I repeat, this is good news only in the entirely limited sense that one more depraved, violent shithead has reaped what they've sown, not in the broader sense that the failed, imperialist and roundly illegal war is one step closer to being over or that this will save the lives of one more American Serviceperson or Iraqi civilian. Attempting to count coup over this is yet another example of the stupendous intellectual rigidity and bone deep fear of the very obvious failure of the neocon agenda in Iraq.
posted by Divine_Wino at 7:59 AM on June 8, 2006


Does the death of Zarqawi end it? Of course not. No one said it does, but nevertheless we have people mockingly asking if it does. Does this justify anything? Of course not. No one said it does. Is this the end of terrorism in Iraq? Of course not. None said it will be. All the officials have been quick to point that out. But nevertheless to the murdering thugs that are Zarqawi's people, this is unquestionably a Bad Thing and hurts the terrorist groups in Iraq. They will recover, but this hurts them. Does Bush deserve applause for this? Of course not. He should have had Zarqawi years ago.

This paragraph is spot on: it took five years into a bloody, protracted, costly, unjustified and illegal war based on lies and deception to kill a second-in-command. You're absolutely correct: Osama bin Laden is still at large and the insurgency is still killing people left and right.
posted by Mr. Six at 8:00 AM on June 8, 2006


.
posted by thirteenkiller at 8:02 AM on June 8, 2006


Here, this news is down-played, discounted, and mocked.

The skepticism stems from years of spin and predictions that (insert event here) will be a turning point. No one is shedding any tears for that thug, but I think it's legitimate to ask whether this will actually change any facts on the ground and whether this might god forbid make him a martyr.
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:04 AM on June 8, 2006


I'm reposting the following comment because it was originally in the duplicated thread, but beyond this, I have nothing more to say. So marginalize away...

Yes, they were going to plant his dead body in the space shuttle and crash it into the UN.

I'm not going to debate this with you or anyone else. In fact, as of today, I'm officially retiring the all-seeing eye dog from MetaFilter, and from the blogosphere more generally, out of protest. As long as I've been a guest here, I've always tried to tell the truth as I see it, and that's all I could ever really hope to do. Beyond that, it's your choice whether to see what's happening for what it really is or not. It's no longer my concern. Goodbye, and thanks for the many great discussions I've been privileged to have with you all.
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 8:10 AM on June 8, 2006


Though I'm sympathetic to dios's articulate disgust at the unreflective cynicism and groupthink that permeates so many of the political discussions 'round these parts, in this case it seems that a healthy dose of cynicism is called for. Here's one reason why: this is good news in a pretty limited sense. He's a bastard, he's dead. Fine. But that reaction takes about two seconds - after which it's reasonable to start asking questions about the future. And since the 'good news' from Iraq has almost without exception proven to be a spot of sunshine amid a hurricane of tragedy, malfeasance, incompetence, and criminal disregard, there's plenty of precedent for assuming, if not the worst, than a continuation of the merely Very Bad.

Things are better than the pessimists think and worse than the optimists think, as usual (by definition, you might say). You don't come to MetaFilter for reasoned moderation, do you? Seriously: does anyone?

The conspiracy theories seem stupid on face, but then I'd have said that about a lot of things that turned out to be true over the last half-decade.
posted by waxbanks at 8:17 AM on June 8, 2006


Dios is, and always has been, the King of being "emotionally invested in stupid partisanship."

Where's Paris?
posted by AspectRatio at 8:25 AM on June 8, 2006


3 years ago I would have never imagined that the Bush administration would cook up phony intelligence in order to advance a war that was never meant to be anything more than a Haliburton and Friends investment racket. So maybe this news is what it appears on face. But I don't make any assumptions anymore.
posted by slatternus at 8:25 AM on June 8, 2006


I suppose there's no irony in a juxtaposition with the Ann Coulter thread.
posted by Mr. Six at 8:30 AM on June 8, 2006


Dios, it seems to me that a lot of the cynicism here derives from the administration's all-too-transparent manipulation of the news, whether regarding Iraq, Katrina, electoral politics, etc. I'm glad that Zarqawi won't be killing anymore*, but that doesn't change the fact that I don't trust this administration (or the media, for that matter) even a little bit. As bad as you say Mefites are about taking something Unequivocally Good and spinning it to meet their partisan aims - experience shows that that description fits our leaders. To a bloody t.

*I find myself incapable of saying the I am GLAD that Zarqawi is dead. Does that make me a moral-relativist? I certainly wouldn't be able to kill the man with my own hands. But I am very, very glad that he won't be killing anyone anymore. Still, there have got to be other ways to prevent someone from killing, right?
posted by fingers_of_fire at 8:34 AM on June 8, 2006


I'm glad he's dead. Although, his group makes up 5 percent of the insurgent problem in Iraq today even by administration assessments.

Whackjob conspiracy theories get a second look because of the opacity of the current administration. Everyone has a theory as to what's behind the door when the door is always closed... and the administration knows that.

Oh. Please put down the broad brushes.
posted by mania at 8:38 AM on June 8, 2006


all-seeing eye dog: so you're going to flame out (mildly) rather than back up your unsupported assertion? Y'know, you actually had me curious for a moment and I was wondering where this hypothesis came from. I'd be interested in hearing any alternative source of information other than the oh-so-trustworthy official ones. But this little pouty schtick simply bears out the reaction that you didn't have anything.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:40 AM on June 8, 2006


all-seeing eye dog, please take your huff here.
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:41 AM on June 8, 2006


Paris is banned.
posted by thirteenkiller at 8:52 AM on June 8, 2006


You know what really matters here?

That each of us take a moral position on this transient news item, since the public display of opinion validates and defines our identities.

All I know is that this is self-evidently a Good or Bad Thing and anyone who disagrees with me must therefore have serious psychological problems.
posted by sonofsamiam at 8:56 AM on June 8, 2006


what's the deal with the head-on-a-platter pic? biblical much?

Is Al-Zarqawi In Custody? Iraqi Interior Minister Refuses To Say (1/05)
posted by amberglow at 9:01 AM on June 8, 2006


and from NewsMax (and for mania): Officials Mum on Rumored Zarqawi Capture (1/05)
posted by amberglow at 9:05 AM on June 8, 2006



This is embarassing. And revolting. And sad.


yes, that's what I thought when I read your comment. you're free to consider Zarqawi's death as fuel for your own jingo delusions that Team USA is winning in Iraq. you're free to do that, to try to forget that you're losing, and losing bad, and your own countrymen (those who have the actual guts to fight the war you're cheerleading for on the Internet) will have to stay there and die, and keep losing for many years.

but insulting an entire community because we don't buy your latest "mission accomplished" jerkoff fest? that's a new low, even for dios standards.

want to feel sad? think about all the thousands of civlians murdered in this civil war sparked by your attack and by your President's inability to run Iraq after he had invaded it. think of your responsibility, as a voter and as a citizen, for putting in power TWICE the President who preemptively and without reason attacked Iraq, igniting this bomb.

you have Iraqi and American blood on your hands, dios.
don't lecture us. you may not like us, but our hands are cleaner.

and to monju, your twin superhero of bad faith: you want celebrations for this irrelevant death of a thug? go to LGF, or FreeRepublic. you'll like it there. the party's on. go already.
posted by matteo at 9:12 AM on June 8, 2006


Clapping for death is medieval.
posted by Kirklander at 9:13 AM on June 8, 2006 [1 favorite]


Even his fellow Republicans admitted that Bush was pandering to his base

Partisan pandering by politicians? Paint me perplexed. I'm shocked.

it took five years into a bloody, protracted, costly, unjustified and illegal war based on lies and deception to kill a second-in-command

Uh, didn't we invade Iraq in 2003? That's just over three years ago.

it's your choice whether to see what's happening for what it really is or not

You chose the latter.
posted by oaf at 9:14 AM on June 8, 2006


Interesting backstory, from 10/04 : A CIA report has found no conclusive evidence that former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein harboured Al Queda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, which the Bush administration asserted before the invasion of Iraq. ...
ABC quoted an unnamed senior US official as saying that the CIA document raises "serious questions" about Bush administration assertions that Zarqawi found sanctuary in pre-war Baghdad. ...

posted by amberglow at 9:16 AM on June 8, 2006


and to monju, your twin superhero of bad faith: you want celebrations for this irrelevant death of a thug?

What? Where did I call for celebrations? Or were you merely attributing what you perceived as my intentions to my single word response to bshort?
posted by monju_bosatsu at 9:17 AM on June 8, 2006


Saddam was trying to catch Zarqawi
posted by sonofsamiam at 9:17 AM on June 8, 2006


you have Iraqi and American blood on your hands, dios.

Oh, please. I don't support the war, and would rather see our troops back home than in a country full of people who are trying to blow them to bits, but pretending that Zarqawi's death is anything other than good is just stupid.
posted by oaf at 9:18 AM on June 8, 2006


"think about all the thousands of civlians murdered in this civil war sparked by your attack..."

"you have Iraqi and American blood on your hands, dios.
don't lecture us.you may not like us, but our hands are cleaner."


Wow, talk about a drama queen! I hadn't realized that dios was that evil....

Don't worry dios there's always the "Pilate Option" for removing that blood on you hands.
posted by MikeMc at 9:24 AM on June 8, 2006


Uh, didn't we invade Iraq in 2003? That's just over three years ago.

Neoconservative plans for colonizing Iraq were developed well before 9/11 (2001).
posted by Mr. Six at 9:39 AM on June 8, 2006


With Zarqari dead and Saddam captured the insurgency should grind to a halt round about... never?
posted by Artw at 9:44 AM on June 8, 2006


“And his death is a good thing. And everyone, no matter their political stripes, ought to have enough moral integrity and intellectual honesty to be able to admit this is a Good Thing” - dios

“but pretending that Zarqawi's death is anything other than good is just stupid.” - posted by oaf

Was Zarqawi a high value target? Yes.

Was it necessary to expend resources to kill him? Probably - the level of resources and time and competance in execution are debatable.

Would I have pulled the trigger myself if so ordered? Yes.

Do I celebrate killing anyone, no matter how terrible an enemy? No.

It’s not “good,” it was war and it was necessary. And anyone’s celebration of it has as much impact on the war effort and is as meaningful as the melodrama around this debate.
(not meant as an attack on any particular individual, just some of the thoughts expressed as illustrated by oaf and dios above who I have respect for, but can, like some on the other side of the issue, indeed like all of us, miss the point)

+ what CunningLinguist sed

“That each of us take a moral position on this transient news item, since the public display of opinion validates and defines our identities.” - posted by sonofsamiam

You’re an idiot! I totally disagree.

...no, waitaminute.

/jerryspringerfilter
posted by Smedleyman at 9:53 AM on June 8, 2006


The Short, Violent Life of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, in the August 2006 Atlantic
posted by kirkaracha at 9:54 AM on June 8, 2006


To any sane person, the death of Zarqawi is an unadulterated Good Thing. To any person who gives one tenth of one shit about the future of Iraq and the Iraqi people, the death of Zarqawi is an unmitigated Great Thing. To any person who cares opposes terrorism in the name of human rights, the death of Zarqawi is undoubtedly Good News.

But here, we have people who can't admit it is Good News. Here, this news is down-played, discounted, and mocked. Here, some people can't even clear their throat about how this is good news and instead want to change the subject, preach conspiracy, or put forth any countering news to diminish this news. Quite simply, people are trying to turn this Good News into not good news.

And why? It's obvious why. Here, there are people who are so emotionally invested in their stupid partisanship that they fear that this Good News may benefit their partisan enemies. And in their small, cocooned world, that is the ultimate question. And since this objectively Good News may benefit their partisan enemies, they discredit this.


Will Zarqawi's death have a measurable impact on the insurgency in the short term? Probably not. But you're damn right it's a good thing, and it's a huge psychological victory.

Cats are scrambling over one another to insist this really doesn't matter, and of course it's because they hate Bush and because some of them really would like to see the U.S. lose this war.

Are any of them going to deny that? With a straight face? Please. To them, partisan politics and Internet snark are more important than the fact that fewer people will be blown up or beheaded. I guess it's easier to arrange your priorities that way when you're sitting safely in a computer chair and not patrolling Ramadi or going to work in downtown Baghdad every day to feed your family.
posted by Alexandros at 9:56 AM on June 8, 2006


I liked sonofsamiam's comment, which I will reproduce in part below:

You know what really matters here?

That each of us take a moral position on this transient news item, since the public display of opinion validates and defines our identities.

All I know is that... anyone who disagrees with me must therefore have serious psychological problems.

posted by cell divide at 10:05 AM on June 8, 2006


the fact that fewer people will be blown up or beheaded.

Alexandros, as much as I'd like to believe you're right, I have little doubt that the killings and beheadings will continue unabated, if not at a greater pace as Zarqawi is now martyred in the eyes of his followers.
posted by NationalKato at 10:05 AM on June 8, 2006


Cats are scrambling over one another to insist this really doesn't matter, and of course it's because they hate Bush and because some of them really would like to see the U.S. lose this war.

Strawman much?
posted by bshort at 10:07 AM on June 8, 2006


the real interesting question is who dropped a dime on him and why? ... it could have been someone who simply wanted him to pay for his crimes and to have iraq become a more peaceful place

or there may have been other motives
posted by pyramid termite at 10:12 AM on June 8, 2006


fewer people will be blown up or beheaded.

What is your evidence for that? So far, hundreds even thousands of terrorists and fighters have been killed in Iraq and there has been no let up. In Viet Nam, Algeria, Somalia, Palestine, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, and any number of places with this kind of conflict, major leaders have been killed with no discernable difference in the level of intensity of violence. What evidence do you have of Zarqawi's level of competence, leadership, ability to direct beheadings or explosions, etc.? What do you know of the setup of Zarqawi's sect? In an insurgency with perhaps hundreds of different groups operating, how will one death result in fewer deaths overall?

It's important that you answer these questions because you've just called anyone who questions the fact that this may not change things in Iraq a traitor who wants Americans and Iraqis to die.

This is obviously a victory for the Iraqis and the Occupation forces, but I resent the idea that if you question just how much a victory it is, it's because you want people to die because of Bush-hatred. That's outrageous and you should be ashamed of yourself for posting that.
posted by cell divide at 10:12 AM on June 8, 2006


So we knew where Zarqawi was, and we dropped bombs on him and made him a martyr instead of capturing him and asking him questions about where his boss might be. Nice job, Rummy.
posted by fandango_matt at 10:21 AM on June 8, 2006


I must say I'm a bit disturbed by all the death-porn going on in the major media right now: that matted, framed picture of Zaqawi's dead face, the looped video of the 500-lb bomb destroying the building, and the Iraqis climbing atop the rubble, holding up rugs and detritus.

Meanwhile...
posted by NationalKato at 10:33 AM on June 8, 2006


Saying that any human's slaughter is good and deserving of celebration is truely abhorrent. That said, I hope there's enough of him left so we can put his head on a spear in front of the White House and have Rummy feed on his heart.
posted by effwerd at 10:44 AM on June 8, 2006


Partisan pandering by politicians? Paint me perplexed. I'm shocked.

Paging oaf... the context of my comment was dios trashing people here for "silly partisanship." Context matters, dude.
posted by digaman at 10:46 AM on June 8, 2006


Juan Cole has a collection of documents on al-Zarqawi. Today's entry on his blog provides the basis of my thoughts. al-Zarqawi was a bad dude, no doubt, and raised the banner of "Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia" for propoganda reasons. If fact, like many terrorist thugs, he'd had lots of beef with bin Laden and his followers over the past decade. But once the US started branding all terrorists, if not all Muslims, as "Al Qaeda," al-Zarqawi decided his distaste for them was outweighed by recruiting gains he could make borrowing the al-Qaeda mantle. According to Cole, al-Zarqawi probably made some recruiting strides amongst the Baathist Sunni's in parts of Iraq, who make up a minority (25-30%) of the population. Given that the majority of the insurgency is not religiously and/or ideologicaly motivated as much as they are simply rankled by an American occupation, his death means very little. A proverbial "drop in the bucket."
posted by bardic at 11:27 AM on June 8, 2006 [1 favorite]


Cats are scrambling over one another to insist this really doesn't matter, and of course it's because they hate Bush and because some of them really would like to see the U.S. lose this war.

Strawman much?


No, he's right. One of my cats leapt right out of the litterbox to find a way to spin this anti-Bush. Those furry little bastards really have no sense of perspective.
posted by COBRA! at 11:31 AM on June 8, 2006


Thirty-one
Good weapons are instruments of fear; all creatures hate them.
Therefore followers of Tao never use them.
The wise man prefers the left.
The man of war prefers the right.
Weapons are instruments of fear; they are not a wise man's tools.
He uses them only when he has no choice.
Peace and quiet are dear to his heart,
And victory no cause for rejoicing.
If you rejoice in victory, then you delight in killing;
If you delight in killing, you cannot fulfill yourself.

On happy occasions precedence is given to the left,
On sad occasions to the right.
In the army the general stands on the left,
The commander-in-chief on the right.
This means that war is conducted like a funeral.
When many people are being killed,
They should be mourned in heartfelt sorrow.
That is why a victory must be observed like a funeral.
posted by taosbat at 11:42 AM on June 8, 2006


Zarqawi’s Death Not Likely to Undercut Al Qaeda Leadership in Iraq
"The death of terrorist Abu Marsab al-Zarqawi is unquestionably good news. But there is little evidence that his absence will create a vacuum in the foreign fighter leadership in Iraq. Two points:
1. Zarqawi was replaced as the Al Qaeda leader in Iraq months ago. Recall the news from earlier this spring that Zarqawi had been replaced as the leader in Iraq by Abdullah bin Rashed Al-Baghdadi (a nom de guerre). Al Qaeda’s Iraq cells had already reorganized before this happened and will readjust again.

2. Al Qaeda’s global leadership was getting sick of their partner in Zarqawi. Last year, Osama bin Laden’s chief deputy Ayman Zawahiri sent a letter to Zarqawi that contained a 'striking critique' of Zarqawi’s insurgency strategy. 'He comes down like a ton of bricks on what has happened tactically,' one U.S. analyst said describing the letter. Even Iraqis sympathetic with the goals of the insurgency have grown to disapprove of al Qaeda’s actions. Over the last year, there were several instances in which the local population turned on Zarqawi’s followers and attacked them.
In other words, Zarqawi’s star had fallen over the last six months, and there is reason to believe that his falling from favor was a key ingredient in this operation. Someone gave up details on him because they wanted him out.

Of course, this doesn’t change the fact that we should rejoice in today’s news. But we should also be clear in our analysis about what it means for the next steps. There is little evidence of a leadership vacuum in the foreign fighter leadership and cause for serious concern that the current violence in Iraq will not abate.

[ThinkProgress | June 08, 2006]
posted by ericb at 11:44 AM on June 8, 2006


Good news.
posted by russilwvong at 11:44 AM on June 8, 2006


dios -

Bush is responsible for the deaths of over 200,000 Iraqis. How many people has Zarqawi killed?

Who's the greater threat? The mafia don, or the punk with a .22 robbing the liquor store?

Yea, a barrel of oil is down a dollar. Big whoop.

Your faux outrage over my not dancing in the street because some bugaboo was bombed to death in a country we have no business occupying should make me laugh.

Instead, it reminds me of the shallowness and myopia of the conservative cause, a cause that interchanges mountains and mole hills when it suits their fancy, a cause that has slowly but surely been ruining my country since January of 2001.
posted by rougy at 12:08 PM on June 8, 2006


Alexandros, we've already lost---in tons of ways and with long-lasting consequences. We actually lost the minute they decided to invade Iraq, and everything else since then has been reinforcing that.

This guy's death now is not good or bad--it's just another "turning the corner" utter bullshit moment for Bush to crow about to us as he holds a severed head aloft--after having made Al Zarqawi a boogeyman to begin with. It's repulsive and disgusting, and we're now creating a martyr which will also rebound on us, like every single thing we've done and failed to do in Iraq.
posted by amberglow at 12:13 PM on June 8, 2006


rougy sez:
Instead, it reminds me of the shallowness and myopia of the conservative cause, a cause that interchanges mountains and mole hills when it suits their fancy, a cause that has slowly but surely been ruining my country since January of 2001.
Goddamn, I miss the previous 200 years, when there was no such thing as a 'conservative cause' in America.
posted by waxbanks at 12:34 PM on June 8, 2006


Who cares about the economy?

Who cares about actual casualty counts?

Who cares about outright fraud?

All that matters to some folks are symbolic victories.
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:38 PM on June 8, 2006


(oh, and symbolic defeats)
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:38 PM on June 8, 2006


Meh, let 'em have their celebratory champagne jam for a few days. The realization that they're still standing in shit will happen soon enough.
posted by NationalKato at 12:47 PM on June 8, 2006


Michael Berg on CNN
posted by homunculus at 12:48 PM on June 8, 2006


CNN transcript. Soledad O'Brien tried really hard several times to get Mr. Berg to endorse the administration's party line.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:55 PM on June 8, 2006


ericb comes up with the goods again. nice job.
posted by caddis at 1:02 PM on June 8, 2006


Like I said about 100 comments ago, Dios - we keep capturing or killing people, bad guys to be sure, and then declaring victory. Announcing that we've turned a corner. That it'll take a few minutes to fold the crumpled remains to the insurgency up and get our boys home. My disappointment in the management of this war and my country does not change the fact that the insurgency seems to be causing more chaos than ever and that our military, both in terms of lives of individual soldiers and in overall capability, is being pissed away.

At this point there is clear data to show that the removal of this or that "key" player is not going to change a thing, and you can only tell me you've turned a corner so many times before I'm going to have to assume that you're running in circles. It's not like Zarqawi was some kind of brilliant master strategist running the show from a high tech HQ somewhere. He was, at best, an overglorified cheerleader.

As good news goes, this ranks near an announcement that a baby rhino was born at the zoo.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 1:04 PM on June 8, 2006


After Welcome Piece of News, a Decision to Stay Silent:
As news that United States forces had killed the most wanted terrorist in Iraq began to spread through the American security apparatus late Wednesday afternoon, President Bush and his top advisers were meeting in the White House with congressional leaders, who were nervous about continued trouble in Iraq.

"What you really need to do," Representative Ray LaHood of Illinois told the president, "is go get Zarqawi," according to an account by the White House press secretary, Tony Snow, who was at the meeting.

"I said 'Yeah, we'll just order that up right now,' " Mr. Snow recalled in an interview this morning.

Minutes after that exchange, at 3:45 p.m., the national security adviser, Stephen J. Hadley, left the room in response to a Blackberry message to call the American ambassador to Iraq in Baghdad, Zalmay Khalilzad.

"We think we have Zarqawi," Mr. Khalilzad told him.
What great timing!
posted by kirkaracha at 1:05 PM on June 8, 2006


Wow, Michael Berg is fantastic.
posted by thirteenkiller at 1:10 PM on June 8, 2006


Like I said about 100 comments ago, Dios - we keep capturing or killing people, bad guys to be sure, and then declaring victory. Announcing that we've turned a corner.

OK, who has announced a corner-turning victory here? I see administration officials issuing nothing but caution. Where, where, where are you seeing this?

Zarqawi is getting a nice tan in hell right now. I hope he enjoys it. This pathetic excuse for a human was a blood-thirsty maniac responsible for countless deaths in Iraq, Jordan and elsewhere.

Let go of the Bush-hate for 5 seconds and see an evil person is gone.
posted by b_thinky at 1:17 PM on June 8, 2006


Let go of the Bush-hate for 5 seconds and see an evil person is gone.

Ok... done.

Iraq is still Fucked. Bush is still an ass.
posted by Artw at 1:19 PM on June 8, 2006


I know someone posted a wonderful summary, complete with links, to all the 'turning a corner' quotes in a previous MeFi thread. I'm unable to find it....
posted by NationalKato at 1:26 PM on June 8, 2006


Let go of the Bush-hate for 5 seconds and see an evil person is gone.

Are you happy yet?
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:28 PM on June 8, 2006


wow...that michael berg interview is amazing. he's a far better person than i probably am. i hold the same opinions as he does, but i don't know if could if i'd had a loved one killed by zarqawi. god or gods willing, i'll never have to find out.
posted by lord_wolf at 1:35 PM on June 8, 2006


Art-Sarqawi
posted by Rumple at 1:36 PM on June 8, 2006


The US military has killed far more civilian Iraqis than Zarqawi. So one family took a hit out on the capo of another family. Big whoop. We've become terrorists now. We have no moral high ground upon which to stand. Fuck Bush.
posted by fourcheesemac at 1:39 PM on June 8, 2006


I heard Michael Berg as I was going back to work after lunch on NPR today. Astounding. The interviewer wanted him to be glad that Zarqawi was dead quite terribly, but Berg was resolute. Hearing real principle on the radio made my day.

As for Zarqawi, I'm mildly surprised that he was real. I'd've put $10 on him being a creation of the CIA. Given that Zarqawi's main function seemed to be putting a face on the Iraqi resistance for USians to hate, I can't see his death as that momentous for the civil war in Iraq.
posted by graymouser at 1:48 PM on June 8, 2006


Neoconservative plans for colonizing Iraq were developed well before 9/11 (2001).

And that's irrelevant, unless you count the duration of a war to include its planning. It started in 2003, not 1999, or whenever PNAC set its sights on toppling Saddam.

It’s not “good,” it was war and it was necessary.

Is it good for Iraq? Is it bad for Iraq? Don't weasel out by saying it's neither.

after having made Al Zarqawi a boogeyman to begin with.

So the White House was just making up how dangerous Zarqawi was, and scapegoating him for things he didn't really do? I'm not that naïve, amberglow.

Yes, Bush sucks, and Iraq is still pretty much in the crapper, but at least Zarqawi won't be decapitating anyone else. Ever.
posted by oaf at 1:53 PM on June 8, 2006


Small things please small minds.
posted by Artw at 2:03 PM on June 8, 2006


As long as we're splitting hairs oaf, al-Zarqawi's death is good for a majority of Iraqis, i.e., the Shia, with the understanding that other medieval thugs like Moqtada al-Sadr are pleased as punch over this, since it's another hurdle towards a pro-Iran Shia theocracy cleared.

America needs to stop pretending that a fully functioning democracy is the goal here. It can't happen. What they need to do is realize they've empowered Iran for the 21st century, since they're the only regional power with the money and political pull to establish a "good guy" dictatorship that will lend something of an ear to American interests.

So if al-Zarqawi's death hastens the realization that this is all about Realpolitik, not "advancing freedom," I guess it's a good thing. But excuse me if I'm going to avoid pat moralizations about how al-Zarqawi's death is an unmitigated good for Iraq. Like I said, drop in the bucket.
posted by bardic at 2:06 PM on June 8, 2006


posted by oaf And that's irrelevant, unless you count the duration of a war to include its planning. It started in 2003, not 1999, or whenever PNAC set its sights on toppling Saddam.

That would have been September 12, 2001.
posted by fandango_matt at 2:10 PM on June 8, 2006


The plans for Iraq were already made prior to that. They were merely put into effect in the freak-out period.
posted by sonofsamiam at 2:12 PM on June 8, 2006


This thread is the gift that keeps on giving. Conspiracies and spin galore! I'm truly impressed by the lengths some people will go to in order to avoid having to acknowledge that something just got done which was good for our side in the war.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 2:12 PM on June 8, 2006


That would have been September 12, 2001.

But still not when the war started, which was 2003.
posted by oaf at 2:13 PM on June 8, 2006


Steven, honest question: Please define "our side" (as I assume you're speaking as an American, like me). If you did some thinking about the situation, you'd quickly realize that in many ways "our side" doesn't necessarily equate with "the Iraqi populace's side," which is crucial to understanding what's going on here, and why the death of al-Zarqawi is, like I've said multiple times, a drop in the bucket.

First off, if Zarqawi was the "mastermind" behind the entirety of the insurgency in Iraq (Rumsfeld's quotation from today), then I guess we're in good shape, because no more IED's will go off, no more midnight mortar attacks will occur, and no American troops or Iraqi civilians will die.

However, I have a feeling this isn't going to happen. Meaning, in fact, "our side" has taken a two-bit hoodlum like al-Zarqawi and pumped him up into "Terrahist Numero Uno." Which is propoganda, plain and simple. The reason I don't think his death was staged is simple--the US needs bugaboos like him and that other guy, bin-Laden I think it was, to maintain any pretense of a "war against terror," because at least that makes some sense, as opposed to a war being actively waged against the people we're supposedly democratizing. Anyways, I'd be happy to make a gentleman's bet that within the next two weeks, the US media will breathlessly give us yet another "Al Qaeda number two man." And in three years, maybe we'll catch or kill him.

Honestly, I'm just sick and tired of the occupation-apologist ranters like yourself who accuse me of somehow actively rooting against my national self-interest. I'm not. I'm trying to get at something resembling the truth, since at this point no amount of goodwill or fond feelings will overcome the horrid debacle that is the American occupation of Iraq. But you obviously come into threads like this trying to find ways to pat yourself on the back for your self-righteousness. Good for you, I guess.
posted by bardic at 2:26 PM on June 8, 2006


Analysis: Bin Laden might find relief in al-Zarqawi's death
"...by 2005, al Qaeda's leaders were worried that al-Zarqawi's beheadings of civilians were turning off popular support for their jihad in Iraq. Al Qaeda's leaders were also deeply concerned about al-Zarqawi's efforts to provoke a Sunni-Shia civil war in Iraq.

While bin Laden and al-Zawahiri, both of whom are Sunni fundamentalists, may privately consider Shias to be heretics, they have never said this publicly. Al-Zarqawi by contrast has referred to the Shia as 'scorpions' and has organized suicide operations against some of the holiest Shia sites.

The concerns of al Qaeda's leaders about al-Zarqawí's use of beheadings and his campaign against the Shias were underscored in a letter sent from al-Zawahiri to al-Zarqawi that U.S. military forces discovered in Iraq last year. In the letter, al Qaeda's number two gently suggested that it was time to end the beheadings and to start acting as more of a political leader in anticipation of the eventual U.S. withdrawal from Iraq.

In recent months, al-Zarqawi has stopped beheading his victims, but he has not let up in his campaign against the Shia. Upon hearing the news of al-Zarqawi's death, bin Laden and al-Zawahiri likely will release audiotapes indicating their joy that al-Zarqawi has finally received what he has always wanted -- martyrdom at the hand of the infidels.

But privately, they may hope that al-Zarqawi's successor in Iraq is more amenable to taking directions from al Qaeda central, which is located somewhere on the Afghan-Pakistan border. Viewed this way, al-Zarqawi's death could bring bin Laden some relief."

[CNN | June 08, 2006]
posted by ericb at 2:42 PM on June 8, 2006


So the White House was just making up how dangerous Zarqawi was, and scapegoating him for things he didn't really do?

Yep. I've already mentioned a Washington Post story on the Pentagon's "propaganda campaign to magnify the role of the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq." (More from Rolling Stone.) Just last month the Pentagon released a blooper reel that made Zarqawi out to be a desperate oaf who can't handle a machine gun, and today President Bush is calling him "the operational commander of the terrorist movement in Iraq." Fuckup or mastermind? Why not both?

OK, who has announced a corner-turning victory here?

President Bush:
Zarqawi's death is a severe blow to al Qaeda. It's a victory in the global war on terror, and it is an opportunity for Iraq's new government to turn the tide of this struggle.
Just like last month's formation of a new government was a "turning point." Just like the January 2005 elections were both "a turning point in the history of Iraq" and "a milestone in the advance of freedom." Just like it was a "turning point" when we turned over "real and full sovereignty" in June 2004 ("Let Freedom Reign!"). Just like the formation of a temporary governing council in July 2003 was an "important milestone." I'm dizzy from all the turning points.

It started in 2003, not 1999, or whenever PNAC set its sights on toppling Saddam.
PNAC letter to President Clinton on Iraq, January 26, 1998.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:53 PM on June 8, 2006


"Turning the tide" is the new "turning the corner" for Bush.

CNN: Bush drops 'turning the corner'.
posted by ericb at 2:58 PM on June 8, 2006


Bush Stays the Course on ‘Turning Point’ Rhetoric.
posted by ericb at 3:02 PM on June 8, 2006


“I know someone posted a wonderful summary, complete with links, to all the 'turning a corner' quotes...”

Alt. Summary:

posted by Smedleyman at 3:18 PM on June 8, 2006


Al-Zarqawi Death Ignites the Net -- Bloggers and news agencies offer wide-ranging reaction to the demise of the terrorist leader in a U.S. air strike.
posted by ericb at 3:23 PM on June 8, 2006


Meanwhile: fuck all changes.
posted by Artw at 3:26 PM on June 8, 2006


Steven, honest question: Please define "our side" (as I assume you're speaking as an American, like me).

I'm well aware that for many people here, there's no agreement as to who the good guys and bad guys are, who is "our" side and who is the "other" side. Fact is, a disturbingly large number of Americans want us to lose in Iraq.

There was a press conference in Baghdad this morning to announce Zarqawi's death. The Iraqi reporters applauded when they heard the news. American reporters at that press conference didn't -- and that's really sad.

As to exactly who I think "our" side is, I'm on the side of the Americans. I've always contended that there was strong congruence between the interests of the Iraqi people and the Americans, but it's not perfect and there are ways in which our interests conflict with theirs.

One big way in which the two are different is in the way that Iraq has served as a honey pot for terrorists. It became a magnet for international al Qaeda, who poured men and money in to try to defeat us. That was bad for the Iraqi people, especially those who died in al Qaeda attacks, but in the long run it actually was good for us, because it concentrated our enemies in a place where we could fight them with our Army (and Marines) using our weapons of choice.

I've also always contended that there was no altruism involved in our decision to invade. We did it out of narrow self interest, and our continued presence is still driven by narrow self interest. We're doing this for ourselves, not for the Iraqis. I believe that in the long run it's going to be good for the Iraqis (not ideal, but definitely better than if we hadn't gone in) but even if it made things worse for Iraqis it was still the right thing to do.

Today's killing of Zarqawi was a good thing for the American side in the war. And that's why so many people don't like it; they aren't actually on the American side, even if they are nominally American themselves. For them, America isn't "our side".

Which is really sad.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 3:41 PM on June 8, 2006


Poll: U.S. Disapproves of War in Iraq
"The death of al-Qaida leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq came as more Americans than ever thought the war in Iraq was a mistake, according to AP-Ipsos polling.

The poll, taken Monday through Wednesday before news broke that U.S. forces had killed al-Zarqawi, found that 59 percent of adults say the United States made a mistake in going to war in Iraq - the highest level yet in AP-Ipsos polling.

Approval of President Bush's handling of Iraq dipped to 33 percent, a new low. His overall job approval was 35 percent, statistically within range of his low of 33 percent last month. The poll of 1,003 adults has a sampling error margin of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

...More than half, 54 percent, said it's unlikely that a stable, democratic government will be established in Iraq, a new high in AP-Ipsos polling."

[Associated Press | June 08, 2006]
posted by ericb at 3:46 PM on June 8, 2006


Remember the SAT's?

Hitler : Osama

Rommel : Al-Zarqawi

(If he had been killed during the war) Rommel's death celebrated by US because military mastermind is no longer around : Al-Zarqawi's death celebrated by US because military mastermind is no longer around

This is why we celebrate. Its very simple.
posted by markulus at 3:47 PM on June 8, 2006


a disturbingly large number of Americans want us to lose in Iraq.

I think a large number of Americans don't think "we" can win. Big difference.
posted by ericb at 3:48 PM on June 8, 2006


The Iraqi reporters applauded when they heard the news. American reporters at that press conference didn't -- and that's really sad.

it is actually really inappropriate for any reporter to applaud at a news conference. Reporters should not be on a side, or, rather, they should be on the side of impartial reporting of the facts, and leave the applause up to commentators, ones clearly labelled as opinion-givers, not fact-dispensers.

I do realize that FOX news does not adhere to this basic principle but it is one worth striving towards, nonetheless.
posted by Rumple at 3:52 PM on June 8, 2006


General William E. Odom, Director of the National Security Agency from 1985 to 1988, compares Iraq and Vietnam:
"The Vietnam War experience can’t tell us anything about the war in Iraq – or so it is said. If you believe that, trying looking through this lens, and you may change your mind.

...Only by getting out of Iraq can the United States possibly gain sufficient international support to design a new strategy for limiting the burgeoning growth of anti-Western forces it has unleashed in the Middle East and Southwest Asia."

[Nieman Watchdog | March 08, 2008]
Haig: Vietnam Mistakes Repeated in Iraq
"Former Nixon adviser Alexander Haig said Saturday military leaders in Iraq are repeating a mistake made in Vietnam by not applying the full force of the military to win the war.

'Every asset of the nation must be applied to the conflict to bring about a quick and successful outcome, or don't do it,' Haig said. 'We're in the midst of another struggle where it appears to me we haven't learned very much.
[Associated Press | March 11, 2006]
posted by ericb at 3:57 PM on June 8, 2006


* read through thread, eyes glazing over *

Man, when I heard about this all I thought was "oh? That's a plus."

I don't feel like that reaction undermines my general stance against the Iraq war, but neither do I find the exhortations to cheer the event like I was a congressman saying the Pledge to be particularly conducive to my enthusiasm.

Zarqawi's had it coming for a long time. Ideally, he'd have been tried and convicted by Iraqis in a court of law, but Iraq's pretty far from that point, and Zarqawi was one of the obstacles. I'm personally not so optimistic about the other obstacles, because they seem like things heroes can't just stride in and slay.
posted by furiousthought at 4:03 PM on June 8, 2006


A guerrilla insurgency like AQIM isn't defeated in a single battle. Victory against such insurgencies is definitely possible, but it's a long slog and a war of attrition. There are no big "turning points" and this wasn't one.

But there are victories, and this was one. They didn't just get Zarqawi today; in that same building were several other major players, and there were a dozen coordinated raids in Baghdad today which should have netted even more people. Moreover, today's action was part of an ongoing campaign; they've bagged some other big players in recent weeks, and have used intelligence from those to find others, including those bagged today. And there will be more intelligence gained today, and further raids as a result.

There will unquestionably be responses to this. Expect at least one really big bomb attack in the next few days, for instance. But if you knock out enough of the top couple of tiers of an organization like AQIM, the organization can fragment, with individual cells cut loose and on their own. That means they no longer have access to money and supplies from the parent organization, which limits them, and it means they no longer can coordinate their activities with other cells or the overall strategy of the parent organization. Instead, they use their reduced capability to fight the war as they see fit -- and usually some of the lower level people doing this make mistakes and make attacks which are counterproductive to their long term campaign -- which will happen, too.

In the long run what usually happens to individual cells, if they never reconnect, is either that they eventually dissolve out of failed morale or apathy, or else they transform into criminal gangs who operate to make money instead of to accomplish some sort of political goal.

None of this is inevitable, but everything I'm seeing tells me that the general anti-insurgent campaign against AQIM is going quite well. Not perfectly, of course, and anyone who claims that, or claims there will be no setbacks is a blithering idiot. And the fact that it's going well doesn't mean AQIM is defeated and is no longer a danger. But it's going well, and AQIM is losing.

AQIM is not the only insurgency in Iraq. But you take it a piece at a time. The other two big threats I'm most concerned about are the native Sunni insurgency, and the Sadr forces which have ensconced themselves in Basra. Each of those is a different problem and requires a different solution.

One part of the solution for the Sunni insurgency was to pry them loose from AQIM. That was very tough, but it's mostly a done deal now, and part of why things have been going badly for AQIM recently is that Sunnis have been telling us where AQIM operatives have been hiding.

The main thing that the Sunnis are afraid of is payback from the Shiites and Kurds for the Saddam years. I think the Sunni dead-enders have largely given up by now on turning back the clock and once again ruling the nation, but they're still very afraid that the Shiites and/or Kurds will eventually start slaughtering Sunnis wholesale in revenge. But the general process of government formation and the way that both the Shiites and Kurds have been making a major effort to try to include the Sunnis in that process is going a long way towards reassuring them. That was a key victory -- but it wasn't something that happened on a particular day, or which could really be portrayed with a single headline. (Though the huge Sunni participation in the last election comes close to such a thing.)

The problem with the Sadr forces is that the Brits aren't doing anything about them. I've heard rumors that the main reason Moqtada is still breathing is that it was part of a deal made with Sistani to get his support -- which was absolutely essential. In war sometimes you have to make tradeoffs.

But eventually Sadr is going to have to be dealt with. However, I think it's mainly going to be the Iraqi government itself which does so, in a year or two, probably through a mix of military and diplomatic action. And in any case, as the government process continues to gain momentum and credibility, and as the Iraqi army continues to gain numbers, training, and morale, it's going to be harder and harder for the Sadr forces to stand against them. Moqtada is a clown, and eventually he's going to die for his country, but for the moment that can be put off. He's a threat, but not an imminent threat (as it were). A successful war is all about prioritization, and right now he isn't a priority.

This kind of attrition war against a brutal insurgency is very much a case of small gains and small setbacks which accumulate over a long period of time. To really decide whether either side is "winning" or "losing", you have to take the long view. And you also have to keep in mind just what each side's objectives were.

We haven't won yet, and victory is not assured, but we are winning.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 4:09 PM on June 8, 2006


Reporters should not be on a side...

I'm sorry, but I don't agree with you. If Ernie Pyle were alive today, he wouldn't agree with you, either.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 4:11 PM on June 8, 2006


Steven C. Den Beste writes "Fact is, a disturbingly large number of Americans want us to lose in Iraq."

No; maybe the equivalents of the people who showed up at demos in the '60s with NLF flags and banners reading "Victory to the Viet Cong" do, but here's the thing. The US doesn't have an actual loss condition in Iraq. It is not winning or losing, it is perpetuating a brutal occupation that costs thousands of human lives. Those of us who are against the war don't give a rat's ass about "winning" and "losing." We want the US forces out of the country immediately. If that negatively impacts the US's ability to wage pre-emptive war, all the better. But the anti-war movement is not making puerile wishes for the US to "lose." We are fine if it stops.
posted by graymouser at 4:20 PM on June 8, 2006


I've also always contended that there was no altruism involved in our decision to invade. We did it out of narrow self interest, and our continued presence is still driven by narrow self interest. We're doing this for ourselves, not for the Iraqis. I believe that in the long run it's going to be good for the Iraqis (not ideal, but definitely better than if we hadn't gone in) but even if it made things worse for Iraqis it was still the right thing to do.

No. That automatically means it was not right to do--you do not invade and occupy another country for narrow self-interest. It's immoral and abhorrent. It's disgusting and evil. It's us acting like Hitler or Stalin. It's perhaps the worst thing one country can do to another, especially without provocation or reason.

How many Iraqis should die for our narrow self-interest? All of them? 1 thousand? 100 thousand? 1 million?
posted by amberglow at 4:23 PM on June 8, 2006


It'd be in our self-interest to invade and occupy Canada. Also Venezuela. And Nigeria. And every single other country with oil or resources we need.

It would be just as wrong to do that to those countries. Just as evil.
posted by amberglow at 4:24 PM on June 8, 2006


How many Americans should die in order to spite our narrow self-interest? All of them?

I don't think that any interest of our automatically justifies everything we feel like doing to anyone else, and don't try to pretend I said I did.

But when it comes to preventing a catastrophic terrorist attack against this country, I'm willing to go quite a long way in terms of doing violence elsewhere.

I do not think American lives are infinitely valuable and that Iraqi lives are worth zero. But I do value American lives more than Iraqi lives -- because to value everyone's life equally is deeply immoral.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 4:28 PM on June 8, 2006


but we are winning.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste

Man, winning sure feels crappy.
posted by NationalKato at 4:31 PM on June 8, 2006


Can someone here define "we are winning?"
posted by ericb at 4:32 PM on June 8, 2006


Reports from U.S. military officials indicate Zarqawi was exposed by those closest to him, suggesting an internal power struggle. Gen. George W. Casey, the top U.S. military commander in Iraq said, “Tips and intelligence from Iraqi senior leaders from his network led forces to al-Zarqawi and some of his associates who were conducting a meeting … when the air strike was launched.”
posted by ericb at 4:34 PM on June 8, 2006



But when it comes to preventing a catastrophic terrorist attack against this country, I'm willing to go quite a long way in terms of doing violence elsewhere.


Here's a newsflash for you: Iraq had nothing to do with any catastrophic terrorist attacks anywhere in or outside of the US---ever.

And using Iraq and Iraqis as a honeypot is evil--simply evil. If we're allowed to do that to other countries then other countries will do it to us, and so on. That's ok with you?
posted by amberglow at 4:48 PM on June 8, 2006


Steven, I appreciate your willingness to look through the sanctimonal bullshit of most occupation supporters, but what you call "ethical cynicism" is pretty much callow indifference to human life and suffering.

Simple question: How were the interests of tens of thousands of dead Iraqi civilians served by this war?

And yeah, define winning--it seems to me you're saying that avoiding another terrorist attack on US soil is the ultimate goal. How did invading Iraq change any of that, or make US citizens safer (obviously not the 2,500 dead troops)? If anything, it was a diversion from getting bin Laden. And realizing that the US is allied with the same murderous Saudis that flew planes into our buildings. Saudis, Steven. The ones Bush likes to hug and kiss during photo ops in the Rose Garden. Not Iraqis.

But the occupations sounds like a life or death thing for you. If you're under the age of 42, I'm curious as to why you aren't over there fighting to keep our country safe? Could something possibly be holding you back from participating in the most important event, in your understanding, of our lifetimes?
posted by bardic at 5:01 PM on June 8, 2006


Can someone here define "we are winning?"

Here's my definition from July of 2003.

Here's a newsflash for you: Iraq had nothing to do with any catastrophic terrorist attacks anywhere in or outside of the US---ever.

NewsFlash 1942: America invades Morocco, which had nothing to do with the Pearl Harbor attack.

But it did have to do with the strategy of winning the overall war. In fact, it was an essential step. And the invasion of Iraq was also an essential step in winning the war we're currently fighting.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 5:02 PM on June 8, 2006


*occupation
posted by bardic at 5:03 PM on June 8, 2006


I'm glad, Steven, that Iraqi lives are not worth zero, in your equation. Would you say, that if American lives are worth 100, Iraqi lives are worth, maybe, 10? Or is it closer to 5?

For future political discussions it might be helpful if you elucidated your hierarchy a little more, on a nation-by-nation level.

For example, the essay of your own which you linked says, in part:

"The lowest tier is everyone, every person alive. Above that is the people of my nation, and a very short list of other nations I think of as comrades: The UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. (and not Israel)"

So, if the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are up to what I've arbritrarily ascribed 100, and one can presume that Israel's very mention in the list probably puts it at somewhere around an 80 or 90. Now we know that Iraq > 0, but I feel there's some much more we could learn about the value of life in non-Anglo countries.
posted by cell divide at 5:05 PM on June 8, 2006


And using Iraq and Iraqis as a honeypot is evil--simply evil. If we're allowed to do that to other countries then other countries will do it to us, and so on. That's ok with you?

Nope. What's that got to do with anything?

Keep in mind that I categorically reject any argument based on moral equivalence. There's no room in war for the Golden Rule, and I find any argument based on that logic to be unconvincing and uninteresting.

As to what we're doing being "evil", of course it is. It's also right.

It is not always given to us in life to have a clear choice of action which is absolutely "good" to solve a problem we face. Sometimes all the choices available to us, including refusing to make a choice, are evil. The right act is the one which is the least evil -- but it will still be evil. That's how things are sometimes.

What we're doing now is evil, but in my opinion all the alternatives were worse. And that's why the choice we made, and what we're doing now, is right.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 5:08 PM on June 8, 2006 [1 favorite]


Huh? We cut a deal with Morocco to land their in order to stage a larger assault against the Axis in North Africa. There was a mid-term strategic importance to the region, and once we did our business (quite succesfully) in North Africa, we packed up and moved north into Italy, through Sicily if I recall correctly. Any occupation of Morocco lasted less than the on-going three year one, and we certainly didn't stay and nation build every tiny country we moved through along the way. Try again.

Again, you hoist yourself on your own rhetoric--when fitting, you call this "Total War"--civilian casualties be damned, no more Mr. Nice Guy America! We are going to act out of self-interest! So why is Bush constantly talking about promoting democracy? Why doesn't he just nuke the cities of Cairo, Baghdad, Kabul, Damascus, and cluster-bomb parts of Gaza and the West Bank?

Better yet, why not Riyadh? The 9/11 hijackers were mostly Saudi. None of them were Iraqi.

You're being completely disingenuous here.
posted by bardic at 5:09 PM on June 8, 2006


... even if it made things worse for Iraqis it was still the right thing to do.

100,000 innocent dead Iraq men, women and children later ... I'm speechless.
posted by JackFlash at 5:11 PM on June 8, 2006


Steven C. Den Beste writes What we're doing now is evil, but in my opinion all the alternatives were worse.

I can't have a discussion with you then. I literally cannot have a discussion with you.

But it's no wonder you're a chicken-hawk, letting teenagers do your (by your own admission) "evil" work for you.
posted by bardic at 5:12 PM on June 8, 2006


Cell Divide, your question is not one I can answer, because it isn't possible to exactly quantify these things. Worse, even if you could it wouldn't help because it is never possible to exactly predict the consequences of any choice you make. So even if I decided that Iraqi lives were worth precisely 82.459% of American lives, it would not be possible to determine ahead of time exactly how many Iraqi lives a given operation would destroy, and how many American lives it would save.

All you can do is guess. My guess was that the price was justified in doing what we're doing in Iraq.

But I feel easy in that, because we've killed fewer Iraqis than Saddam would have in the same period of time had he remained in power, and in the long run far fewer Iraqis will end up dead as a result of what we've done than would have died if we hadn't acted. Even though we didn't invade for the benefit of the Iraqis, I believe that they actually will benefit because of it.

So though the deaths we've caused weigh heavily on me, I do not feel any doubt that our decision was the right one.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 5:13 PM on June 8, 2006


But it's no wonder you're a chicken-hawk, letting teenagers do your (by your own admission) "evil" work for you.

The "chicken-hawk" argument doesn't stand close scrutiny. Are you contending that only those who are actively serving in the military should be permitted to advocate war?

Our governmental system is based on the idea that the military serves civilian authority, and that the military does not directly participate in decisions about whether to go to war. It is an essential part of our system that those decisions be made by civilians. Are you suggesting that it should be changed? That instead of Congress being required to approve wars, that all decisions about wars should be made by the Joint Chiefs?

If not, then why am I as a civilian any different than any other citizen who participates, directly or indirectly, in making that decision? Or is it your contention that I am permitted to participate, but only if I oppose war?

I agree with you that you and I cannot have a discussion about this -- but I doubt we agree on the reason why it's impossible.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 5:20 PM on June 8, 2006


100,000 innocent dead Iraq men, women and children later ... I'm speechless.

That number is completely bogus. We're not helped in a discussion like this by "facts" which people pull out of random bodily orifices.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 5:21 PM on June 8, 2006


My guess was that the price was justified in doing what we're doing in Iraq.

We haven't won yet, and victory is not assured, but we are winning.

Steven, your failure to apply logic in a self-consistent manner is truly stunning. Extra points for the second sentence, which manages to derail itself. And again, spoken like a person who himself doesn't have the guts to put his money where his mouth is--Do you even have friends or family members serving? Have you ever considered doing some volunteer work for disabled vets? Because while I don't have the right to tell you how to think about this so-called "evil" occupation (your adjective), I do have the right to tell you that only an insensitive fuck would say that dead humans, American or Iraqi, are simply numbers above the tally of "price" since 9/11.

Disgusting.
posted by bardic at 5:21 PM on June 8, 2006


We cut a deal with Morocco to land their in order to stage a larger assault against the Axis in North Africa. There was a mid-term strategic importance to the region, and once we did our business (quite succesfully) in North Africa, we packed up and moved north into Italy, through Sicily if I recall correctly. Any occupation of Morocco lasted less than the on-going three year one, and we certainly didn't stay and nation build every tiny country we moved through along the way. Try again.

All of which was intended to defeat Italy and Germany, neither of which had anything to do with the Pearl Harbor attack.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 5:22 PM on June 8, 2006


... but we are winning.

I highly recommend picking up the reissue of "The Battle of Algiers" from Netflix.
posted by JackFlash at 5:22 PM on June 8, 2006



But I feel easy in that, because we've killed fewer Iraqis than Saddam would have in the same period of time had he remained in power, and in the long run far fewer Iraqis will end up dead as a result of what we've done than would have died if we hadn't acted.


More bullshit. You'll have to prove that statement. And prove why and how we're benefiting and why and how the Iraqis are benefiting. And do this with facts. Also, while you're at it, tell us why containment, which worked beautifully for decades all over the world (along with installation of puppets), is somehow now no good? And then tell us of North Korea and Iran and of all the countries currently being run by dictators too. Why is Saddam so special?
posted by amberglow at 5:24 PM on June 8, 2006


That number is completely bogus.

I guess the Lancet is bogus -- and this was 18 months ago.
posted by JackFlash at 5:29 PM on June 8, 2006


But you said previously that the war on terror is the most important challenge facing America right now, and that an "evil" Iraq war (in Iraq or against Iraq? Please clarify.) is entirely necessary. Personally, I think that's all baloney, but I'm curious as to what's holding you back from military service if the issue is so important to you? I take it you think your life is of more value than those of the many teenagers serving our country. Correct me if I'm wrong.

As for civilian leadership of the military, of course I'm for it. But I'm not the one advocating an "evil" slaughter of tens of thousands civilians for an undefined length of time and a rather poorly defined cause of "advancing freedom."
posted by bardic at 5:31 PM on June 8, 2006


All of which was intended to defeat Italy and Germany, neither of which had anything to do with the Pearl Harbor attack.

Don't mess with someone who teaches US history for a living. FDR's "European Strategy" was on the table since the late 1930's by war planners in DC. Further, Japan was part of the Axis, i.e., directly allied with the fascist governments of Italy and Germany. Further, US self-interest demanded that something be done to help out both the English and the Russians (who were widely reviled by American leaders, and the feeling was mutual) because the loss of either Moscow or London wasn't just a loss of an ally, but a direct gain in terms of propoganda and most importantly, natural resources, for Germany.

Wrong again, but thanks for playing. A better question, and one that you still haven't answered, is why the US has done nothing to change its relationship with Saudi Arabia, given that 3/4 of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi. Granted, you can't always follow the nation-state model these days to track international terrorists, but you seem quite attached to it.
posted by bardic at 5:38 PM on June 8, 2006


Check out the Brookings Institute Iraq Index [PDF] and you'll see very little "progress" or "winning."

Interesting to note -- as of May 2005 it is estimated that the 'Estimated Strength of the Insurgency Nationwide' is greater than 21,000 with 'Estimated Number of Foreign Fighters in the Insurgency' at 800 - 2,000. It's a civil war that's raging over there...and we're in the middle of it.

While you're at it check the figures for crudeoil production, electricity, people with access to potable water, people with access to sewer systems and you'll see that Jack Murtha is right: "There’s not only no progress, it’s worse than it was prewar."
posted by ericb at 5:42 PM on June 8, 2006


That number is completely bogus.

I guess the Lancet is bogus -- and this was 18 months ago.


Damn...there are those pesky things called facts, again!
posted by ericb at 5:44 PM on June 8, 2006


*Interesting to note -- as of May 2005*

Typo -- should read 2006.
posted by ericb at 5:46 PM on June 8, 2006


As to what we're doing being "evil", of course it is. It's also right.

War is Peace. Your moral contortions have passed through infuriating to amusing.

And BTW, Ernie Pyle would not have been caught dead at a staged news conference, and if he had, he would not have applauded. Maybe you have a better example of why reporters should be biased?
posted by Rumple at 5:50 PM on June 8, 2006


I just want to give Steven props for making the effort to stick out this argument, instead of taking a dump and running, like some others I won't mention.
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:57 PM on June 8, 2006


I guess the Lancet is bogus -- and this was 18 months ago.

They're biased towards truth, a very unpatriotic stance. They need to get with the program and realign themselves with truthiness.
posted by Mr. Six at 5:57 PM on June 8, 2006


steve -

"As to what we're doing being "evil", of course it is. It's also right."

Of all the outrageous and ignorant things said on this thread, that has to top the list.
posted by rougy at 6:01 PM on June 8, 2006


Amberglow, Bardic:

Well-done friends, but you are screaming into a bottomless pit. I guess sometimes you just have to do that.

You know what they hung the Nazis at Nuremburg for? Waging an aggressive war... No one was ever been tried in a global setting for genocide till 1996. Now, where else, seriously where else, is there a pre-emptive war being waged?

It's illegal in the grossest sense, it's immoral in the most generous sense of that word and it benefits no one but big multi-nationals and the well-fed honkies that hold their stock. Many people know this, many more people seem to be able to look past their 9/11 boners to start to acknowledge this, but there are some people who are never going to own up, and perhaps these people in their heart of hearts don't even understand what it means.

Sadly, the US doesn't hold some magic talisman of "moral authority" that is going to keep the oil flowing and the biggest national debt ever from being called in by a world that is ever more tired of our antics, nothing lasts forever. I've never held that the evil and the willfully obtuse who rationalize death based on the accident of geography get their just rewards, but in a way, I'm more willing to accept the eventual super-bad times ahead just because all these fuckers are coming along too.
posted by Divine_Wino at 6:04 PM on June 8, 2006


The "chicken-hawk" argument doesn't stand close scrutiny.

It sure as hell does when virtually *every single one* of the war's architects is of an age when he could have served in Vietnam (during a national draft, mind you) and somehow avoided doing so.* So Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, and all the rest of the scumbags, including most of the right-wing commentators in the media are chickenhawks. This has naught to do with whether non-military persons can criticize, support, or comment on the war. But it is remarkable how many of the 101st fighting keyboardists have *never* served in the *volunteer* military, even prior to this conflict yet find the breath to exhort the teenagers and old men and single mothers on the front lines on to a Glorious Death for the Fatherland.

And everyone else who supports the war without even sacrificing a thing -- which is to say every American who supports the war and continues, say, to drive an SUV -- is tainted by association with these pathetic specimens of the genus girlyman.

Screw y'all. Chickenhawks.

* And not only that, but managed to demolish the character and career of a presidential candidate who did volunteer and serve with honor in spite of belonging to the privileged class that did not have to serve.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:05 PM on June 8, 2006


I'm curious as to what's holding you back from military service if the issue is so important to you?

I'm 52 years old and I'm severely handicapped.

You'll have to prove that statement. And prove why and how we're benefiting and why and how the Iraqis are benefiting. And do this with facts.

It isn't possible to prove it. But if we only act on things we can prove beyond any doubt, we'll never do anything.

Folks, when I started participating in MetaFilter again a few months ago, I decided I was going to try to avoid getting involved in political discussions, for three reasons: 1. I don't need the heartburn. 2. No one is ever going to convince anyone. 3. What is said here doesn't matter anyway in the grand scheme of things.

So I'm going to stop participating in this thread now.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 6:08 PM on June 8, 2006


No one was ever been tried

No one has ever been tried
posted by Divine_Wino at 6:09 PM on June 8, 2006


So I'm going to stop participating in this thread now.

Lucky you.
posted by Divine_Wino at 6:13 PM on June 8, 2006


If it isn't possible to prove it (and it easily should be, since you're talking numbers and statistics), then you shouldn't spout it. Saddam was contained and no threat. Iraq was the second-most secular and westernized country in the region, and had successfully avoided falling into the ayatollah/mullah leadership trap. Now it's sliding decapitated-headfirst into that trap, condemning millions of lives to misery and inequality. But they're just Iraqis, so what the hell, right?
posted by amberglow at 6:15 PM on June 8, 2006


I'm 52 years old and I'm severely handicapped.

Lots of 50 year old guys from the reserves in Iraq. Some of them are even coming home severely handicapped.

Nobody here is mourning Zarqawi. But some of us are so sick of the lies and manipulation and deathmongering of the Bush administration that we *just don't care* about the latest spectacle of media assurances that We Are Winning the Long War.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:19 PM on June 8, 2006 [1 favorite]


What I want to know is: Who gets the 25 million dollar bounty? The bombadier? The entire plane crew? Oh, right. W & Rummy.
posted by DesbaratsDays at 6:51 PM on June 8, 2006


... Just this year, the Washington Post published a document showing that the Pentagon had an active program to legendize Zarqawi.

"The Zarqawi campaign is discussed in several of the internal military documents. 'Villainize Zarqawi/leverage xenophobia response,' one U.S. military briefing from 2004 stated. It listed three methods: 'Media operations,' 'Special Ops (626)' (a reference to Task Force 626, an elite U.S. military unit assigned primarily to hunt in Iraq for senior officials in Hussein's government) and 'PSYOP,' the U.S. military term for propaganda work..." (Washington Post, 10 April 2006) ...
posted by amberglow at 6:56 PM on June 8, 2006


Bounty for Zarqawi 'will be honoured'
"Intelligence officials identified al-Iraqi with the help of an insider in Zarqawi's network and began tracking his movements, watching when the two would meet.

Earlier, the US State Department said the United States had not identified anyone eligible to receive the bounty.

No US government agency has nominated anybody for the reward, which is the largest the United States offers, along with the same amount for al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack.

'I've seen a lot of news reports that either a Jordanian individual or group provided information or perhaps a neighbour provided information which led to the strike being carried out successfully. I can't confirm those reports,' McCormack said.

...In the case of Zarqawi, a State Department official said authorities were still sorting out the information.

'No one has been nominated to receive the money so far - and maybe no one ever will be,' said the official.'"

[AP/Reuters | June 09, 2006]
posted by ericb at 6:59 PM on June 8, 2006


They need to get with the program and realign themselves with truthiness.

Is this whole "truthiness" meme something you'd need a television in order to understand?
posted by oaf at 7:04 PM on June 8, 2006


Is this whole "truthiness" meme something you'd need a television in order to understand?

No -- the web will suffice.
posted by ericb at 7:09 PM on June 8, 2006


...What we're doing now is evil, but in my opinion all the alternatives were worse. And that's why the choice we made, and what we're doing now, is right.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste


I marked that comment as a +fave. It's the first comment I've so marked. I need to remember that comment. It's the last scurrilous refuge of the mendacious.
posted by taosbat at 7:13 PM on June 8, 2006


Metafilter: It's the last scurrilous refuge of the mendacious.
posted by Mr. Six at 7:24 PM on June 8, 2006


Nobody here is mourning Zarqawi. But some of us are so sick of the lies and manipulation and deathmongering of the Bush administration that we *just don't care* about the latest spectacle of media assurances that We Are Winning the Long War.

Hear, Hear.
posted by homunculus at 7:40 PM on June 8, 2006


I do have to say I admire Den Beste's frankness. He says he supports this war (and surely any other countless number of things) because he believes it benefits "his people", and he is a proud nationalist, and his people's comfort is worth more then other people, even innocent ones, lives. If only all supporters of this war could be so honest about their feelings.

Personally I'm of the school of thought which says, even if you are a nationalist, murdering innocents is never going to be in your best interest, even if it does give you short-term material or security gains, but that's not the point. The point is that Den Beste freely admits to an ubermensch/undermensch philosophy and is open about it, which in and of itself is something that we should respect and allow to stand on its own merits.
posted by cell divide at 8:23 PM on June 8, 2006


"...Representative John P. Murtha, a Pennsylvania Democrat and former marine who has become a fierce critic of the Iraq war, said now that a 'real thorn' in the side of the Americans has been removed, Iraqi forces were trained and a government was in place, the Bush administration should compose a timetable for the withdrawal of American troops.

'We cannot win this,' he said in an interview on CNN. 'It is a civil war they are involved in. Al Qaeda is a small part of this.'

He added, 'We have Sunnis fighting Shiites and the Americans are caught in between.'

The insurgency and violence in Iraq is fueled by a complicated fabric of foreign fighters, Saddam Hussein loyalists and other groups, while most recently, militias have been blamed for sectarian strife.

Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., in an interview on CNN, noted that the various groups that have contributed to the violence in Iraq were not all linked to Mr. Zarqawi.

'He did not control any of those people,' he said in the interview."

[New York Times | June 08, 2006]
posted by ericb at 8:32 PM on June 8, 2006


The Short, Violent Life of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
"‘Even then—and even more so now—Zarqawi was not the main force in the insurgency,’ the former Jordanian intelligence official, who has studied al-Zarqawi for a decade, told me. ‘To establish himself, he carried out the Muhammad Hakim operation, and the attack against the UN. Both of them gained a lot of support for him—with the tribes, with Saddam’s army and other remnants of his regime. They made Zarqawi the symbol of the resistance in Iraq, but not the leader. And he never has been.’

He continued, ‘The Americans have been patently stupid in all of this. They’ve blown Zarqawi so out of proportion that, of course, his prestige has grown. And as a result, sleeper cells from all over Europe are coming to join him now.’ He paused for a moment, then said, ‘Your government is creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.’

Western and Israeli diplomats to whom I spoke shared this view—and this past April, The Washington Post reported on Pentagon documents that detailed a U.S. military propaganda campaign to inflate al-Zarqawi’s importance. Then, the following month, the military appeared to attempt to reverse field and portray al-Zarqawi as an incompetent who could not even handle a gun. But by then his image in the Muslim world was set.

Of course, no one did more to cultivate that image than al-Zarqawi himself. He committed some of the deadliest attacks in Iraq, though they still represent only some 10 percent of the country’s total number of attacks. In May 2004, he inaugurated his notorious wave of hostage beheadings; he also specialized in suicide and truck bombings of Shiite shrines and mosques, largely in Shiite neighborhoods. His primary aim was to provoke a civil war. ‘If we succeed in dragging [the Shia] into a sectarian war,’ he purportedly wrote in a letter intercepted by U.S. forces and released in February 2004, ‘this will awaken the sleepy Sunnis who are fearful of destruction and death at the hands of the Shia.’

[Atlantic Monthly | June 08, 2006]
posted by ericb at 9:02 PM on June 8, 2006


We haven't won yet, and victory is not assured, but we are winning.

Steven, realize you're done with this, but just ask yourself: What good is it to win a war if you've lost the respect of your closest allies and lost (indeed never even had) the moral high ground? Any patriot (as you call yourself) would realize America is supposed to be better than that. Sometimes a moral system (Ethical cynism or otherwise) needs to mesh with the moral system of those around you somewhat to exact benefit from it. And if it doesn't you better be damn sure of your intelligence reports.


What I want to know is: Who gets the 25 million dollar bounty? The bombadier? The entire plane crew? Oh, right. W & Rummy.

I've always wondered how they give out the bounty. Do they stick into an account and hand the lucky bastard a debit card or hand them a big sack full of dough? How do they ensure it won't find it's way back to Al Queda or the insurgents? I imagine 25 Million could buy a LOT of firepower.

Also, does anyone think that Zarqawi doesn't look as severely pulverized in his death photo as those two massive explosions from 500 pound bombs delivered via F-16's suggest he should be.
posted by Skygazer at 9:16 PM on June 8, 2006


We were supposed to cheer when we created Saddam Hussein. We were supposed to be horrified when he became a tyrant. We were supposed to cheer when we brought him down.

We were supposed to cheer when we created Osama bin-Laden. We were supposed to be horrified when he became a terrorist. We will be expected to cheer when he is caught or killed.

This same script works for al-Zarqawi, Manuel Noriega, and countless other tyrants, dictators, and terrorists. You may think I'm insane for not getting on this merry-go-round. I say you're a fool for not getting off of it.

You may notice most of the events I mention didn't happen during the current administration. This is not 'irrational Bush hatred' and it is simplistic and insulting to say it is. This is part of a foreign policy the USA has been following for at least 60 years, and which I have been against as long as I have been aware of it.
posted by jlub at 9:18 PM on June 8, 2006


After Zarqawi, no clear path in weary Iraq
"Analysts and military spokesmen said Thursday that the death of insurgent leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, killed Wednesday when two 500-pound bombs obliterated his hideout north of Baghdad, will not extinguish the sectarian conflict that he helped foment and that is now claiming many more lives in Iraq than his campaign of beheadings and bombings.

...crucial questions, analysts say, are thrown completely up into the air: whether other foreign fighters will show themselves equally eager to slaughter civilians, whether the Sunni insurgency will split into fragments or broaden its base and, above all, whether the Shiite-Sunni killing that Zarqawi's attacks helped unleash can be reined in."

[Washington Post | June 08, 2006]
posted by ericb at 10:21 PM on June 8, 2006


Perhaps the lawyers here could explain to us which court of law tried, convicted, and passed sentence on the recently deceased...a sentence carried out by an occupying army.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 10:48 PM on June 8, 2006


Perhaps the lawyers here could explain to us which court of law tried, convicted, and passed sentence on the recently deceased...

oh, get a fucking life.
posted by caddis at 11:41 PM on June 8, 2006


"Any ethical system which was based on a reference to divine authority was logically flawed..."

Wow, never thought of countering A priori knowlege with A priori knowlege. Huh. Weird.

"I don't think it's evil to be partisan for my own nation, my own people, my own cultural values. I happen to believe that our cultural values truly are better in an absolute sense than those of many other people, but even if that were not so I'd still consider it acceptable to be partisan...but there will be times when we must put our own interests ahead of the interests of others, and I am ethically comfortable with that if I can justify it in that particular case, and with regard to conquering Iraq I can."


Man that sounds familiar....oh yeah.

"The point is that Den Beste freely admits to an ubermensch/undermensch philosophy and is open about it, which in and of itself is something that we should respect and allow to stand on its own merits." - posted by cell divide

I disagree. (Particularly if you're implying a Nietzsche perspective - he had some solid opinions on what was moral albeit while stating moral facts were illusion)

Den Beste is a relativist (cultural values statement's a dead giveaway) and it's a self-annihilating position.
Since if all values are arbitrary and justifiably so - then there is no legitimate position from which to impose moral beliefs - even that one.
So to defend that position, you need at least some impartial consideration.
Because if you defend it from the position that the values are indeed better you lose the "even if that were not so I'd still consider it acceptable to be partisan" position - in that there is no ethical ground from which to defend - including the right to resist a tyrant's imposition of values.

....so why'd we get rid of Saddam in the first place when he was doing his thing like Den Beste?

The "Chickenhawk" argument is valid not because Chickenhawks won't fight - but it is precisely because they wish others to fight for their particular interests under the illusion that bullshit "we're all in it together" nationalism.
The Three Stooge's "let's you and him fight." It doesn't matter whether they're physically perfect or 70 years old - they're not invested.

Well, I've bleed for the U.S. and it's the values that I fought for, not the "nation". We're not inherently better than anyone else. What makes us worthwhile is truth, justice and the American way of liberty for all.
It's corny, but true.
Pro-war, anti-war, Republican, Democrat, whatever - I have no use for any human who's heart isn't plugged into that program as well. And some are. And some really aren't.

Might does not make right. Ever. And that's what Den Beste's position ultimately represents. I'm taking care of my end and screw everyone else. I'm fucking you because I can.
Oh yeah, but "within reason."

"The State of Nature has a Law of Nature to govern it, which obliges every one: And Reason, which is that Law, teaches all Mankind, who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his Life, Health, Liberty, or Possessions." - John Locke

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. The true neighbor will risk his position, his prestige and even his life for the welfare of others." - MLK
posted by Smedleyman at 11:45 PM on June 8, 2006


Chickenhawks....hmmmm....

After working out last night, I decided to stop at the neigbhborhood sports bar for a bite and a brew. This middle-aged gal was setting up for karaoke, and as I was finishing my Guinness and my reuben, she started announcing her karaoke show..."And we've got something to celebrate tonight!" "What?" "A birthday?" "You got hit on?" responded various patrons. "No," said Ms. Karaoke, "we're celebrating a death. We got that bastard Zarkowie! He's an evil person." A couple of the more likkered-up fellas at the bar actually cheered and waved fists in the air.

Oh, and when attended church last Sunday -- a rare occurrence, so I was surprised to learn it was Pentecost Sunday -- the last hymn of the day was "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." Somehow, I didn't quite feel like singing along.

I swear, I'm moving to Canada. Or maybe Ireland.
posted by pax digita at 2:58 AM on June 9, 2006


OK, who has announced a corner-turning victory here? I see administration officials issuing nothing but caution. Where, where, where are you seeing this?

"...military and political breakthroughs in rapid succession that marked the biggest potential turnaround in Iraq in months."

That's what Yahoo is running today. A breakthrough! A turnaround! The biggest! Yeah, it's got the weasel word potential, but it still reads like something trying to sell me laundry detergent.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 4:15 AM on June 9, 2006


Since when did we start trafficking in snuff art?
posted by amberglow at 7:00 AM on June 9, 2006


The more I thought about the presentation of this as some sort of victory for America, the madder I got.

How many women and children were killed to get to this guy, a petty gangster no different than thousands of others in the world?

It means nothing to me that this guy's dead, it means a lot that my government wants to use his death to justify all the other deaths they've caused.
posted by sonofsamiam at 7:12 AM on June 9, 2006


At least one woman (possibly pregnant) was killed in the house with Zarqawi. But that's ok because he was a Master Terrorist Personification of Everything Evil in the Universe who killed Innocent People. Hypocrisy, thy name is "America."
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:20 AM on June 9, 2006


amberglow I had the same thought. What is with the frame? On top of that, the news media seemed giddy with the video of the bombing itself. That seems kind of sick to me. The guy was evil and I do not mourn his death, but the videos of the bombing and pictures of the body seem a bit much. What's next, putting his head on a pike outside the US command center?
posted by caddis at 7:26 AM on June 9, 2006


his head on a pike in the Rose Garden, i'm thinking.

People in the region were very pissed at our pics of Saddam's kids after their death---we'll see what these pics provoke.
posted by amberglow at 7:35 AM on June 9, 2006


Al-Zarqawi: A life drenched in blood:
No sooner was Saddam captured than the US spokesmen began to mention Zarqawi's name in every sentence. "If the weather is bad they will blame it on Zarqawi," an Iraqi journalist once said to me. It emerged earlier this year that the US emphasis on Zarqawi as the prime leader of the Iraqi resistance was part of a carefully calculated propaganda programme. A dubious letter from Zarqawi was conveniently discovered. One internal briefing document quoted by The Washington Post records Brigadier General Kimmitt, the chief US military spokesman at the time, as saying: "The Zarqawi psy-op programme is the most successful information campaign to date." The US campaign was largely geared towards the American public and above all the American voter. It was geared to proving that the invasion of Iraq was a reasonable response to the 9/11 attacks. This meant it was necessary to show al-Qa'ida was strong in Iraq and play down the fact that this had only happened after the invasion.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:49 AM on June 9, 2006


Al-Zarqawi Said to Survive Airstrike
A mortally wounded Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, still alive after a U.S. airstrike on his hideout, mumbled briefly and attempted to "turn away off the stretcher" he had been placed on by Iraqi police, the U.S. military said Friday.

U.S. officials had said Thursday in announcing the attack that Zarqawi was dead when U.S. troops arrived on the scene.

Maj. Gen. Bill Caldwell, speaking to reporters at the Pentagon from his post in Baghdad, said he learned after getting briefings Friday that Zarqawi was alive when Iraqi police first arrived on the scene, but he died a short time later.

"We did in fact see him alive," Caldwell said. "He mumbled a little something but it was indistinguishable and it was very short."

[Associated Press | June 09, 2006]
posted by ericb at 9:10 AM on June 9, 2006


Perhaps the lawyers here could explain to us which court of law tried, convicted, and passed sentence on the recently deceased...

oh, get a fucking life.


Actually, it is still an interesting point. This morning Bush referred to Zarqawi as having been "brought to justice." Since the very beginning the US has muddled up a criminal investigation of the 9/11 crimes with war. Was Rommel "brought to justice"? Either the US is in a war, or it is engaging in a police action. It can't be doing both.

Taking the heinous crime of mass murder via terrorism, and transforming it into invasion of two sovereign nations and a "clash of civilizations" is the very definition of over-reaction. So yes, the question asked, was Zarqawi tried and convicted, is extremely apt.

Sun Tzu: Choose your enemies carefully, for you will come to resemble them.
posted by Rumple at 9:17 AM on June 9, 2006


Image analysis of Zarqawi's three-week metamorphosis from bumbling incompetant to terror personified.

NewsFlash 1942: America invades Morocco, which had nothing to do with the Pearl Harbor attack.

America invaded French Morocco and Algeria, which were colonies of Vichy France, which was a puppet state of Nazi Germany, which, along with Italy, had declared war on the United States on December 11, 1941, four days after the Pearl Harbor attack.

Rommel died during the war. He killed himself after the Nazis discovered his involvement in one of the plots against Hitler.

Hitler : Osama
Hitler : Osama :: Babe Ruth : Bob Uecker
posted by kirkaracha at 9:46 AM on June 9, 2006


Officials avoided previous chances to kill Zarqawi because it "could undercut its case for war against Saddam."
posted by sonofsamiam at 9:49 AM on June 9, 2006


My favorite line on all of this came from DailyKos, of all places:

"Virgins denied, creep."
posted by schoolgirl report at 10:11 AM on June 9, 2006


The 'Real Heroes' of Musab al-Zarqawi's Fall -- U.S. Special Ops Task Force 145.
posted by ericb at 10:14 AM on June 9, 2006


At least one woman (possibly pregnant) was killed in the house with Zarqawi. But that's ok because he was a Master Terrorist Personification of Everything Evil in the Universe who killed Innocent People she may well have been carrying the demon seed and needed to be shown her way into the abyss.
posted by shoos at 1:01 PM on June 9, 2006


I'm so disgusted with my own triumphalism that I'm going to go join moveon.org.
posted by shoos at 1:03 PM on June 9, 2006


And the brave men of the 303.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:13 PM on June 9, 2006


What's "brave" about this? Someone ratted out Zarqawi, we staked out his house, and called in a freaking airstrike.

Manly, yes. But I like it too. Especially when it kills a pregnant woman as collateral damage.
posted by fourcheesemac at 2:59 PM on June 9, 2006


This needs to be repeated: Officials avoided previous chances to kill Zarqawi because it "could undercut its case for war against Saddam."

posted by amberglow at 3:05 PM on June 9, 2006


This just in (in case Yahoo's three top headlines aren't enough of a reminder): Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is still dead!
posted by raysmj at 10:34 PM on June 9, 2006


"Manly, yes. But I like it too. Especially when it kills a pregnant woman as collateral damage." - posted by fourcheesemac

/I dunno man. Sometimes I dispair. - can't make amusing pop references that wittily* comment on societies need to glorify and sanitize war by elevating warriors to "hero" status and ignoring the deaths of the enemy and of course the civilians.

Need I go highbrow?
More arch?
(although they make movies about that stuff as well)

*if I say so myself.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:21 AM on June 10, 2006


Maybe I'm becoming jaded, but I can't help thinking something isn't right about all of this. The concept behind "Wag the Dog" comes to mind. In Bush's case, though, I think it's been "Wag the Fag."

After all the stink was raised about Bush's proposed solution to illegal immigration (i.e.: guest worker = amnesty), he suddenly comes out in support of the definition of marriage constitutional amendment, diverting America's attention. When that gets shot down, what happens next? "Good news" from Iraq!

Now, what about that? I've seen the video, again and again, of the two 500-pound bombs obliterating their target. Surely, I thought, anyone caught in that would be reduced to hamburger. I saw photos of the crater. How could anything survive that?

But we see photos of al-Zarqawi's corpse, intact. He looks a lot like Che Guevara, don't you think? He's identified by appearance, fingerprints, scars, etc. So much for the hamburger thesis.

And then we hear al-Zarqawi actually SURVIVED the explosion long enough to attempt to escape his gurney. Then, as U.S. forces attempt to apply medical assistance, he dies.

Our guys almost immediately launch attacks on what appears to be al-Zarqawi's network, taking dozens into custody.

That's all well and good. But we've already seen a tendency toward propaganda, outright lies and lots of misdirection, all from our own leadership. We've heard torture not only being condoned, but urged in this war on terror.

So ... my hypothesis: We've had al-Zarqawi in custody for some time now. After extensive torture, during which he revealed all sorts of information about people and locations, it is apparent he is about to die so, to wrap up loose ends, an air strike is orchestrated and al-Zarqawi conveniently survives the bombs only to die moments later. We don't see photos of the other victims -- no one wants to see human hamburger. Then, using the information obtained from al-Zarqawi, our guys go after his network.

Who remembers the guest worker proposal, or soaring gasoline prices, or the falling stock market, or the myriad other things plaquing this country? We have good news: The boogyman of Iraqi insurgency is dead!

Just watch. As soon as the heavy news coverage of this event begins to fade away, they'll come up with something else just as exciting. Maybe an announcement that they succeeded in cloning Hitler, and the baby was born on 6-6-06!
posted by Seabird at 12:30 AM on June 10, 2006


Seabird has it.
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:55 AM on June 10, 2006


Am I the only one to find this MSNBC headline strange: Women’s clothing found at al-Zarqawi house?

Yeah -- we know two women lived at the site.
posted by ericb at 10:09 AM on June 10, 2006


maybe al-Zarqawi was just so unbelievably evil that you just can't kill him? not even 1000 pds of bombs can destroy him? (it's pathetic that they're still spinning his death and keep adding to the story--i'm expecting that on Monday it'll be that he was actually found chewing on a fetus after having performed the abortion during a satanic rite involving the sacrifice of US soldiers or something)

How big was Zarqawi, though?

You can look at this pic from yesterday's parade, and think he was huge. You have only to listen to Rummy, however, to appreciate how much Zarqawi "personified" -- rather than embodied -- the "hydra headed" terror network in Iraq.

For "Mission Accomplished"-level overstatement, however, look no further than the latest Economist. ...

posted by amberglow at 1:52 PM on June 10, 2006


and from the comments there: Trophy shots of the dead are against the Geneva Convention.
posted by amberglow at 2:00 PM on June 10, 2006


...Sadly, Bush will now have to learn to pronounce a new Arabic name to make up for the death of his faux arch-nemesis.
But, oh, that is the future, and the present is the image of the Zarqawi Corpse, so very dead - see him? He's dead. Maybe the pictures aren't just bloodlust and craven exploitation. Maybe showing the Zarqawi Corpse so prominently is one way for the Bush administration to say, "See? We're not lying. This time."

posted by amberglow at 2:18 PM on June 10, 2006


"So ... my hypothesis: We've had al-Zarqawi in custody for some time now..."

/You're not going to split now as well are ya?

I dunno. The political angle is one front of war - most particularly in the U.S. But there's no evidence to support that, that I've seen.
I rarely put anything past power seekers though.

Glorifying the death of one guy certainly isn't the way to win the war.
But I do think the U.S. salivates over that kind of thing. So in a sense we're asking for it. So, if that's what's needed - a hero, a villian, righteousness, etc. etc. to push the war to get that kind of bank- meh, yeah, why not?

I'd rather crush my testicles with a pair of pliers than do that, but some people are that cold blooded, yeah.

You don't need to keep him in custody though. You just need to let the guys in the field do their jobs. So really - just give the go-ahead at the right time. When it dovetails with politcal expediancy.
Our military is very good at what it does. But very rarely is what it does aligned with political need.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:35 PM on June 10, 2006


Is he still dead?
posted by fourcheesemac at 10:19 AM on June 11, 2006


The autopsy is complete but they're not releasing it yet.
posted by homunculus at 8:06 PM on June 11, 2006


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