Thursday, June 08, 2006

God is Great: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is dead. We finally got the bastard.

News reports are rightfully tempering the announcement by saying that this in no way ends the insurgency or terrorist attacks in Iraq. While he was the operational leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, his death is largely symbolic.

But symbols are important in this war. Al Qaeda picks its targets largely on their symbolic value, and replays the images of the deaths and beheadings over the Internet to amplify their effects. People in the Arab world respond to symbols. And they also respond to might.

This was a show of force on our part, a representation of dominance. And Muslims in the Arab world reacted with cheers and celebratory gunfire.

As well they should. Zarqawi didn't care about Iraqis, or even Muslims. He was a psychopath bent on turning Sunnis against Shiites to ignite a bloody civil war. He was a foreign presence in that country who wanted to bring down the democratically elected Iraqi government to create chaos in the Middle East, leaving Arabs desperate so Al Qaeda could prey on their weakness.

Now he's dead. Although previous news reports said that other Al Qaeda members were taking over the helm in Iraq, nobody had the media presence and the symbolic value of Zarqawi, and nobody will for some time. And although the terrorists will likely lash out and continue their deadly attacks, their operational infrastructure and financial resources have been weakened, making it harder to conduct the attacks in the long run.

This is a wonderful day for Iraqis and for all of Al Qaeda's enemies.

Now it's time to get Osama Bin Laden.


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