While listening to the radio this morning, I heard one of the multiple repeats of the news that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (the terrorist leader of al-Qaida in Iraq that personally beheaded American hostages and directed multiple attacks on Iraqi civilians, Iraqi security forces, and U.S. military forces) has finally been successfully terminated. (It took long enough to accomplish this.) I guess he’s off to get his 72-virgin reward.
The news commentator called Zarqawi, “The man that terrorized Iraq for more than three years by carrying out dozens of deadly suicide bombing attacks.” Criminy, that guy was more resilient than we thought. Maybe the commentator didn’t realize her gaffe, but I hope the producer got someone to fix the script before the next newscast.
Nobody thinks this will seriously cripple al-Qaida in Iraq. (The demise of “one of the most accomplished mass murderers in the modern history of terrorism” (here), not the news script gaffe.) The organization’s structure is such that another well-trained terrorist will quickly rise to fill Zarqawi’s place.
But the symbolism is apparently important among terrorists and their supporters. The jihadists have pointed to Zarqawi’s miraculous preservation as evidence of the righteousness of their cause. (I’m not sure how their murdering of citizens, including women, children, and tennis students figures into that picture.) The “glorious” death of the terrorists’ leader might actually give some of the jihadists and their supporters pause.
Al-Qaida put a smiley face on the news, calling it “joyous,” and saying, “The death of our leaders is life for us.” Interesting logic. It gives you some insight into the way these people think. Heck, if they’re that happy about it, I say let’s make them happier. Let’s wipe out all of their leaders so that they can have more “life.” It would appear that this would have the added benefit of improving life for Iraqis in general.
In an interesting side note, when Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced Zarqawi’s death, the Iraqi press corps erupted with joyful cheering. When President Bush made the announcement, the U.S. press corps responded with stony silence.