Thursday, June 08, 2006

al deada

Depending on who you ask and when you ask it, Abu Musab Zarqawi is either the cunning and fearsome leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, or a hapless poseur. Others, including the this lengthy Atlantic profile, say the Zarqawi we know is mostly myth. And we should be rightly skeptical of information provided by the Pentagon on anything.

But whatever the case, it's great news that Zarqawi has been killed. Yes, we can add even more caveats: it's true that al Qaeda in Iraq is just a bunch of violent maniacs hated by the locals, and that the real problem, the inability for the Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds to find a political solution to patch up ancient divisions, won't get resolved even if AQ in Iraq is completely eliminated. As with the Saddam capture, this is not a turning point.

But let's also be clear. This maniac and his band of foreign terrorists have been going around beheading people, bombing hotels, bombing civilians, and just killing Iraqis and American soldiers alike with ruthless efficiency. Zarqawi disrupted the furtive attempts at peace and successfully helped foment chaos in parts of Iraq. There are few tangible goals our military in Iraq can achieve in Iraq at this point, but killing Zarqawi has gotta be right near the top. Good job.