From my mailbox today, in regard to the welcome demise of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the most wanted terrorist in Iraq.
But keep your chin up. Hopefully, someone will step up to take Zarqawi's place.
It's from somebody named R. Lara. Or so the email said.
I dunno. Personally, I still haven't gotten over mourning Uday and Qusay, whose killings three years ago were to have signaled the end of the war. Then there was the capture of their daddy Saddam, and how that was supposed to bring the end of the insurgency. And now, Zarqawi's number came up, for the nth time apparently -- at least according to this 2004 MSNBC report.
NBC News has learned that long before the war the Bush administration had several chances to wipe out his terrorist operation and perhaps kill Zarqawi himself — but never pulled the trigger.
In June 2002, U.S. officials say intelligence had revealed that Zarqawi and members of al-Qaida had set up a weapons lab at Kirma, in northern Iraq, producing deadly ricin and cyanide.
The Pentagon quickly drafted plans to attack the camp with cruise missiles and airstrikes and sent it to the White House, where, according to U.S. government sources, the plan was debated to death in the National Security Council.
“Here we had targets, we had opportunities, we had a country willing to support casualties, or risk casualties after 9/11 and we still didn’t do it,” said Michael O’Hanlon, military analyst with the Brookings Institution.
Four months later, intelligence showed Zarqawi was planning to use ricin in terrorist attacks in Europe.
The Pentagon drew up a second strike plan, and the White House again killed it. By then the administration had set its course for war with Iraq.
“People were more obsessed with developing the coalition to overthrow Saddam than to execute the president’s policy of preemption against terrorists,” according to terrorism expert and former National Security Council member Roger Cressey.
In January 2003, the threat turned real. Police in London arrested six terror suspects and discovered a ricin lab connected to the camp in Iraq.
The Pentagon drew up still another attack plan, and for the third time, the National Security Council killed it.
Military officials insist their case for attacking Zarqawi’s operation was airtight, but the administration feared destroying the terrorist camp in Iraq could undercut its case for war against Saddam.
The United States did attack the camp at Kirma at the beginning of the war, but it was too late — Zarqawi and many of his followers were gone.
And so Zarqawi went on, the apparent inspiration for countless vicious attacks against U.S. troops as well as Iraqi men, women and children -- anot to mention the spate of horrific beheadings that began with U.S. businessman Nick Berg.
Went on, that is, until he was eliminated. (Much celebration here.)
Funny thing is, Berg's father isn't jumping with joy over the news.
"I think al-Zarqawi's death is a double tragedy," Michael Berg told The Associated Press after learning a U.S. airstrike had killed the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq. "His death will incite a new wave of revenge. George Bush and al-Zarqawi are two men who believe in revenge."
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: There's an alternate reading which would say at some point Iraqis will say the insurgency is not OK. That they'll, in fact, be inspired by the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in the sense of he was turned in, for example, we believe, by his own Iraqi, you know, number two, number three leadership in his ranks and that that's actually them saying, you know, we do not want this kind of violence in our country. And experts who we've spoken to this morning have said, this is sort of the critical moment where Iraqis need to figure out which direction the country's going to go. That would be an alternate reading to the scenario that you're pointing to.
BERG: Yes, well, I don't believe that scenario because every time that news of new atrocities committed by Americans in Iraq becomes public, more and more of the every day Iraqi people who try to hold out, to try to be peaceful people, lose it and join the -- what we call the insurgency, what I call the resistance against the occupation of one sovereign nation.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: There's a theory that a struggle for democracy -- I mean we have, you know . . .
BERG: Democracy? Come on. You can't really believe that that's a democracy there when the people who are running the elections are holding guns. That's not democracy.
(A majority of Americans seem to see it the same way, at least according to an AP-Ipsos poll published today.)
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: There is a theory that as they try to form some kind of government that, in fact, it's going to be brutal, it's going to be bloody, there's going to be loss and that's the history of many countries, that that's just a lot of people pay for what they believe will be better than what they had under Saddam Hussein.
BERG: Well, you know, I'm not saying Saddam Hussein was a good man, but he's no worse than George Bush. Saddam Hussein didn't pull the trigger, didn't commit the rapes. Neither did George Bush, but both men are responsible for them under their reigns of terror. I don't buy that.
Iraq did not have al Qaeda in it. Al Qaeda supposedly killed my son. Under Saddam Hussein, no al Qaeda. Under George Bush, al Qaeda. Under Saddam Hussein, relative stability. Under George Bush, instability. Under Saddam Hussein, about 30,000 deaths a year. Under George Bush, about 60,000 deaths a year.
I don't get it. Why is it better to have George Bush be the king of Iraq rather than Saddam Hussein?
And here's Bush looking king-like today after having run his victory lap.
I would like to believe that Zarqawi's death means that fewer innocent people will be killed, that war will soon be over , that the troops will be able to go home and that they will live happily ever after in Iraq, but, if recent history is any indication, this will only renew the terrorists' resolve.
And so, back to my keening and wailing.
UPPITY DATE: Wonkette has the best post of the day.
You know who the real winner is now that al-Zarqawi’s gone? The people of Iraq? No, they’re pretty much still screwed. It’s the editors of The Atlantic, who have a huge Zarqawi profile in their July/August issue, conveniently added to the website yesterday. Abu Musab al-Zarqari: Terrorist mastermind, total idiot.
UPPERMOST IN MY MIND DATE: Who collects the $25 million reward on Zarqawi's head?
UH-OH DATE: Here's Loretta Napoleoni, author of Insurgent Iraq: al-Zarqawi and the New Generation as well Terror Incorporated, talking to Amy Goodman (Robert Fisk) on Democracy Now about all of this.
I mean, killing al-Zarqawi is not going to solve the problem. In fact, to be honest, I think killing al-Zarqawi is turning this individual into a super martyr. Because, let's face it, it's the first leader of Al Qaeda who's actually died fighting, on the field, coalition forces. So tomorrow we'll see the proliferation of the al-Zarqawi brigades. People who want to vindicate the death of the master.
Those who think that – what Robert said is very true about Al Qaeda. In fact, I wouldn't talk so much about Al Qaeda, this so-called transnational organization which existed before 9/11. I would talk about Al Qaeda-ism, which is this new global anti-imperialist ideology , which has been embraced by the jihaddists, which has been created from the ashes of Al Qaeda, the transnational organization, through the fight in Iraq. In that, al-Zarqawi, a man we created out of nothing -- because let’s not forget that al-Zarqawi was presented to the world as the link between Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden on February 5, 2003, when in reality he wasn't [audio lost] Al Qaeda. So I think, you know, this man has embodied the icon of Al Qaedaism, and in death he will be even more powerful than in life.