June 08, 2006

Beyond Zarqawi

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...

"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."
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.

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?

5 comments:

Mack said...

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."

Gandhi, your embracing of Christian ideals is inspiring. I'm far more judgemental.

I think that fuckhead killed innocent civilians in cold blood. His behaviour is inexcusable.

gandhi said...

Welcome back, Mack.

I wrote you a long email the other day but then my PC crashed (no, the dog did not eat my homework -it's true!).

The one thing I vividly remember I wanted to say, is that you describe the ahem! On Terror as a "necessary evil", whereas I do not see why people of goodwill should ever consider evil necessary.

You say the killing of innocent civilians is inexcusable, yet you previously justified the same behaviour by US troops as "collateral damage". No doubt Zarqawi saw his casualties in the same light.

Mack said...

Gandhi, I responded, sorry you didn't get the response. I definitely appreciated the message and responded with a similarly long missive.

My point in this comment was that if one is to condemn the US Marines, who have been accused of an atrocity, then it should be ok to similarly condemn Zarqawi, who made similar and worse atrocities part of his standard operating procedure, beheading the trademark tactic of his organization, and filmed and publically bragged about the atrocities. That's why I used your words in condemning him.

Judge not, indeed; but I don't think that's an exhortation to blind oneself to the existance of evil in the world, or to sit mute when such evil reveals itself. You've been very good about recognizing and calling out evil you see in America and its policies -- use that same strength and voice to call out all atrocities against humanity; to do otherwise is an insidious brand of racism, the racism of low expectations. To not call out Arab and Muslim atrocities or to excuse such actions is to implicitly say that no more could be expected of them; that they don't have the capacity, responsibility or basic humanity to act any differently. It is in effect to say that they are children who cannot be held to account for their actions because __________ (fill in the blank). To excuse the crimes of al-Zarqawi and the monsters like him, regardless of "root causes", is to diminish in them the very attribute that makes us human; the capacity to know wrong from right and to act as a righteous, sentient being.

Also, I think you misread my posting on Cindy Sheehan. Yes, I did write that it was proper to eject her from legislative chambers, but the point of my post was that it was also proper to eject the Republican congressman's wife and that he was a bloviating hypocrite for not seeing the parallel.

gandhi said...

Another red herring???

This blog is called "Bush Out", Mack. Bush, Blair and Howard invaded Iraq IN MY NAME (and yours). These are OUR elected leaders who have committed war crimes. We have a responsibility to oppose them as loudly as we can.

I chose the pseudonym "gandhi" a long time ago to make it very clear that I oppose ALL violence. Do I really need to run a parallel blog called "Terrorists Out" just to make whatever I say on this blog "fair and balanced"? Don't be ridiculous!

The Sheehan ejection is a similar story: two wrongs don't make a right. Condemning one wrong does not equate to approving the other. Hate to say it, but this is Fighting 101st thinking, Mack...

Mack said...

I got it, brother. As we would say in the military; that objective falls outside the scope of this exercise...

Have a great weekend, y como siempre... caminate por la sombrita. Hablamos pronto.

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