What to say about the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi?
Firstly, all death by violence is deplorable, even this one. "Thou shalt not kill" is pretty straightforward language in my book. Employing the standard eupemisms with which war-mongers mask their horrors, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said Zarqawi was "terminated", as if Arnold Schwarzennegger had just nailed him. He wasn't terminated, he was killed in cold blood. Did he deserve it? That is not for me to say. "Judge not, lest ye be judged."
Secondly, the timing is strangely fortuitous for the US and Iraqi governments, who are battling to counter the negative publicity of Haditha and other scandals. There are already many well-based doubts about Zarqawi's public persona, and about Bin Laden's well-timed PR stunts for the Bush regime. The timing of this death will only add to the doubts. Full details of the killing are yet to be released, but it appears this was yet another air raid. Let us see if any more Iraqi civilians have died as "collateral damage". (see update below)
Thirdly, do not assume that this death will dramatically alter the course of events in Iraq, or elsewhere in the world (though Bush & Co will surely say it does, and bring forth "proof" to boot). Zarqawi will be considered a martyr by those who subscribe to his murderous ideology. Thanks largely to Bush, terrorism has been an increasingly popular past-time for many over the past 5 years: that will not change because the US media's latest Face Of Evil is gone. "Every time a Zarqawi appears we will kill him," Maliki said. Yeah, sure. The Israelis have a similar policy - it's not working too well is it?
Fourthly, (and wingnut readers might find this one very hard to understand) if this event really does lead to a lessening of violence in Iraq, everyone who cares about the welfare of ordinary Iraqis should be glad. Iraqis are caught between homicidally careless US troops on the one hand and imported Islamic fundamentalist terrorists like Zarqawi on the other. Most Iraqis want both groups gone from their country as soon as possible.
Finally, who will be the US media's next Face Of Evil? Hmmn, where's Osama? Hey, watch out, George: it could be you!
UPDATE: Civilian deaths seem likely: ABC News says seven people were killed in the helicopter attack, including two women. (The goons at ITM say they were "responsible for collecting intelligence for the al-Qaeda HQ cell" - but they would say that, wouldn't they?) See my post below if you don't think this issue is important. Madeleine Albright once said that all the Iraqi children who died from UN sanctions were a fair price to pay, so maybe some will think it's worth killing a few civilians to get Zarqawi. To them I say, what if it was YOUR mother and YOUR daughter who were killed?
UPDATE 2: The Telegraph reports that two 227kg bombs from F-16 jets (not helicopters) obliterated Zarqawi's "safe house". Photos indicate several other buildings were also damaged. And Rumsfeld says:
Top commanders "came to a conclusion that they could not really go in on the ground without running the risk of having him (Zarqawi) escape, so they used air power and attacked the dwelling that he was in, having a meeting", Mr Rumsfeld told a Brussels press conference...Well, I can think of at least one other single person on this planet, Donald. His methods are not as mediaevil, but they are far more effective if wholesale death is what you are looking for.
"I think arguably over the last several years no single person on this planet has had the blood of more innocent men, women and children on his hands than Zarqawi. He personified the dark, sadistic and mediaeval vision of the future of beheadings and suicide bombings and indiscriminate killings."
Bush also used a cowardly euphemism to describe the killing:
"At 6.15pm Baghdad time (12.15am Thursday AEST), special operation forces, acting on tips and intelligence from Iraqis, confirmed Zarqawi's location, and delivered justice to the most wanted terrorist in Iraq," Mr Bush said at the White House.Delivered justice. Just like Abu Gonzales.
Last word goes to Maj-Gen Caldwell, who admitted that a woman and child were among the dead but still had the gall to say:
"Last night was the first time that we have had definitive, unquestionable information as to exactly where he was located, knowing that we could strike that target without causing collateral damage to other Iraqi civilians and personnel in the area."So I guess, by this logic, the woman and child were both terrorists. But I wonder what the child was doing? I wonder how old the child was? I wonder was it a boy or a girl? I wonder if anyone in Heaven, or Paradise, will ever be able to explain to that child why his/her life had to be sacrificed for this noble cause?