Zarqawi’s death is giving a much needed boost to the media appearances of the terrorist experts who for three years have been consistently wrong about Zarqawi’s life. Because Zarqawi' convict-lawyer genius for gimcrack publicity coincided with the American military's need for a scapegoat (since in Iraq, unlike Vietnam, they can't really conjure up big, scary HQs just across the border in Cambodia, brimming with VC -- thus they have to make due with a reject from the Jordanian prison system), the Washington Post analysis (a thing of such breathlessness that it gives LI a nostalgic twinge – it sounds ever so Mission Accomplished, a flashback to 2003) written by Craig Whitlock rolls out sentences like these: “The death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi could mark a turning point for al-Qaeda and the global jihadist movement, according to terrorism analysts and intelligence officials.”
The error in Whitlock’s logic is given to us by any fairy tale: you don’t have to be a giant to be a giant killer. That the U.S. failed to take Zaqawi seriously, except as a propaganda excuse to link together Saddam Hussein and OBL, and then found him impossible to capture or to counter has more to do with the incredibly bad occupation planning by the our tenured and very senile War Minister than any particular genius of Zarqawi, who I’d rank up there with Clyde Barrow, but not, certainly not, Osama bin Laden.
Other self satirizing sentences from Whitlock:
“He was also a master media strategist, using the Internet to post videotaped beheadings of hostages and assert responsibility for some of Iraq's deadliest suicide attacks, usually in the name of al-Qaeda.”
“Zarqawi gave a boost to the al-Qaeda network by giving it a highly visible presence in Iraq at a time when its original leaders went into hiding or were killed after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.”
And this one is particularly good: “But whoever succeeds him will be hard-pressed to achieve the same level of notoriety or to unite the foreign fighters in Iraq under a single command, analysts said.”
Actually, notoriety seems pathetically easy to achieve in Iraq. Since there is no security to speak of, except in the Green zone, the dullest nitwit can purchase a police uniform and weapons, which are more available than electricity or water, stop the random car filled with foreigners, snatch them after a firefight, and behead them on camera in one's own good time. Russian embassy officials, journalists (who are fewer on the ground all of the time), engineers, etc., etc. The constant stream of war mongers going to Iraq to proclaim how wonderful things are are not so deceived by their own lies that they are going to make the experiment. I wish they would. Mark Steyn, in 2003, made a very touted tour of Iraq in a car, and suffered no injury. LI wishes he’d try the same stunt again, just to see if there are any deadenders out there. He can take Presidential aide Zinsmeister with him, and they can pull up at suitable stops in Ramadi and Mosul and read Zinsmeisters definitive essay, The War Is Over and We Won, to adoring crowds.
But here’s the reality: after three years of occupation, the occupying forces have failed to such a deep extent that even Basra has now become murder city. When I talk to people about the war, even those violently opposed to it, I often hear: but we now have a moral obligation to Iraq to stay. This, of course, drives me mad. It is like saying that some drunk and crazy doctor has a moral obligation to stay with the patient he has butchered -- perhaps this time, he'll pull out just the right organ with his trusty scalpel. No and no and no, our moral obligation is to do no more harm. There's no point in trying to repair harm already inflicted, but we can and should withdraw now. Withdraw at the end of 2005/2004/2003. Ah, but the brainless monster lurches on, for the movie must end with the peasants, torches in hand, burning him out.
I imagine the drones will buzz and buzz about Zarqawi for another week or so. Much better to have headlines about our miraculously intelligent forces offing a man who was apparently in such bad odor with the insurgency itself that he was no longer safe in Anbar province than to have headlines about, say, the recent announcement of the Iraqi government that 6,000 murdered people in the last six months in Baghdad have been processed through the city’s morgue (which probably understates the number of the dead).
As LI pointed out in 2004, we have already reached the turning point in Iraq: the return of Sistani to Najaf. It is at that point that the Americans essentially became irrelevant, except as a sort of praetorian guard of ethnic cleansing -- a bigger, better equipped militia.
Now it is all turning points -- because we are going around in a complete and flawless circle, one fuckup feeding into the next.
PS – My comparison of the Americans in Iraq to a mad, drunken surgeon may have been too harsh … to mad, drunken surgeons. Rumsfeld’s Pentagon quietly announced that private contractors have the right to bag Iraqis any time, way, or place they feel like it – oops! I mean, they announced that after a solemn weighing of the incident in question, given the gravity of the situation, and factoring in the necessity to fight terrorism in the long, long war, no action is going to be taken against the Aegis contractors who were filmed firing at random Iraqi vehicles in a video that was then put on the internet, to a improv sound track of Elvis Presley’s Mystery Train (although the department did warn that future videos showing mercenaries massacring Iraqis will be investigated if they violate copyright law again – you just can’t rip off Elvis Presley’s estate, you know!)
We particularly liked this graf:
“No security contractor has been prosecuted for such incidents, in part because of an agreement forged soon after the U.S. invasion in 2003 that made it impossible for the Iraqi government to prosecute contract workers. While several contractors have been relieved of their duties for shooting without cause, actions taken against contractors are generally carried out quietly and rarely, if ever, disclosed.”
Forged is good. Forged doesn’t tell us who the forgers were, or who the forged were, -- but we sure know who the fucked are, in this case – those corpses that aren’t wearing blue suede shoes. Nothing but dead hounddogs here, boss!
“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears
Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann
"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads
"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads