Thursday, June 08, 2006

Further on Zarqawi

Some observations:

1. The phrase, repeated endlessly from Tony Snow, the generals in Iraq, and Preznit Bush: "What the American people need to understand is ..." (or its variations, "What people need to understand is ..."; "You need to understand that ..." and "What you have to realize is that ..." -- implying (at least to my mind) that we don't get it, and it (whatever IT is they would prefer to be the prevailing perception) must be constantly verbally reinforced.

2. CNN had Michael Berg (whose son was beheaded by Zarqawi in Iraq) on several times today, but in one segment, when he began calling for the impeachment of George Bush, he was very abruptly cut off, before he finished his sentence.

3. There was frequent footage of the bombed out house where the 500-lb bombs killed Zarqawi. Piles of rubble and twisted metal, no sign of "the house," just blasted stone and debris. How did Zarqawi's body come out of this so relatively unscathed, so that they were able to retrieve him immediately, clean him up, take identifying photos of his face, take fingerprints, have a DNA sample ready to test and promise the results so quickly? In applying for permanent residence, I had to have my fingerprints taken five times, because they couldn't be "read" due to minor abrasions on the skin on several fingertips. Are we to understand that Zarqawi's fingers were undamaged in the 500-lb bomb blast that obliterated the destroyed house? One reporter said they examined "what was left of him." How very fortunate that two major identifying body parts--his head and his fingers--were not damaged in the blast.

4. It was reported that a woman and child were among those killed in the house where Zarqawi and some high-level Al-Qaeda operatives were staying, but nothing about whose house it was, who was the woman, and how old was the child.

5. Officials appeared miffed at reporters' or viewers' questions about the timing of this positive big news

More on Michael Berg:
Reached by telephone today, Michael Berg said he took no satisfaction in al-Zarqawi's death, condemning it as another event perpetuating the never-ending cycle of violence in Iraq.

"Any loss of life is a tragedy," he said. "This war is based on lies, lies that the Bush administration perpetrated on the world.They told us lies about Iraq, lies about weapons of mass destruction, lies about al Qaeda, lies about 9/11."

Also worth noting this article from just 2 months back:
The U.S. military is conducting a propaganda campaign to magnify the role of the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, according to internal military documents and officers familiar with the program. The effort has raised his profile in a way that some military intelligence officials believe may have overstated his importance and helped the Bush administration tie the war to the organization responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Islamic Terrorists

Zarqawi Finally Dead?

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the most-wanted terrorist in
Iraq with a $25 million bounty on his head, was killed when U.S. warplanes dropped 500-pound bombs on his isolated safehouse northeast of Baghdad, coalition officials said Thursday. His death was a long-sought victory in the war in Iraq.

Al-Zarqawi and several aides, including spiritual adviser Sheik Abdul Rahman, were killed Wednesday evening in a remote area 30 miles from Baghdad in the volatile province of Diyala, just east of the provincial capital of Baqouba, officials said.

"Al-Zarqawi was eliminated," Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said.

The U.S. military showed a picture of al-Zarqawi with his eyes closed and spots of blood behind him after he was killed by an air strike north of Baghdad.

U.S. military spokesman Maj. Gen. William Caldwell displayed the photo during a news conference in Baghdad.

Caldwell also showed a videotape of the attack in which he said F-16 fighter jets dropped two 500 pound bombs on the site. He said Iraqi police were first to arrive on the scene, followed by coalition forces.

Al-Zarqawi's body was found and moved to a secure location, where it was positively identified at 3:30 a.m. Thursday, Caldwell said, adding that the confirmation was made with scars, tatoos and fingerprints known to be al-Zarqawi's.

He also said a DNA analysis was being performed to be absolutely sure, but he expressed no doubt that the terror leader was in the house that was hit.

He also said al-Zarqawi's spiritual adviser Abdul Rahman al-Iraqi was at the site.

"We had absolutely no doubt whatsoever that Zarqawi was in the house," Caldwell said.

At the White House, President Bush hailed the killing as "a severe blow to al-Qaida and it is a significant victory in the war on terror."

But he cautioned: "We have tough days ahead of us in Iraq that will require the continuing patience of the American people."
(story has been expanded since I first linked to it) More here, here, here, here, here and here.

I think the thing that is suspicious is how the guy comes out with a video just a month or so ago, and now he's dead. Basically, as if they presented some new patsy as "Zarqawi" in the video, only to later kill him...

Of course, it needs to be pointed out that initially Bushco avoided killing Zarqawi...

Same guy?

More thoughts:
1) I'm glad if they got a real bad guy, though would have been nice to put him on trial
2) this surely won't end the Iraq violence, could even make things worse
3) was there anything to the timing of this? Did Bush just need a bump or is there some bad news they are covering up, or distracting from (certainly the Haditha massacre springs to mind)?