Let’s all sing together now!

Ding Dong! The Witch is dead. Which old Witch? The Wicked Witch!
Ding Dong! The Wicked Witch is dead.

Despite what you may have heard, there is plenty more to this Zarqawi story. Here is what is going to happen: Bush will simultaneously say this proves we are making progress in Iraq…but we can’t leave because the terrorists will likely respond with more violence so we must “stay vigilant”…the event will be used to show how Iraqis are getting close to being able to contain the insurgents…but we are still a long way off before they can “stand up so we can stand down”… Let’s take a look around and see if I’m right:

1. Bush touts al-Zarqawi as a “major blow” – Check

WASHINGTON — President Bush was celebrating “a good week for the cause of freedom,” with the killing of terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and the completion of Baghdad’s government, as he huddled with advisers.

2. Bush warns Zarqawi killing could cause MORE terrorism, implying we must stay in Iraq – Check

June 10 (Bloomberg) — Violence in Iraq may escalate in the coming weeks following the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the al- Qaeda mastermind in Iraq, President George W. Bush said.

3. Bush puts out “this doesn’t mean we can leave now” message – Check:

CAMP DAVID, Maryland (AP) — President Bush said Friday that it’s not yet clear that Iraqi forces will be able to take control of their country’s security within 18 months as the new leader there has said.

The shit is utterly predicable, right? Right. Now, let’s move on to the more disturbing pieces of this Zarqawi puzzle. 3– no make that 5 – things that stand out to me:

1. Either/Or, Not both: The administration (via military briefers) along with right-wing blogs touted a video of Zarqawi fumbling with a machine gun, apparently proving he was an idiot incapable of military strategy. So, good. We killed the idiot! Woohoo! Or do they want us to now forget he’s an idiot incapable of clearing a simple automatic weapon jam? My vote is on forget. We have killed one of the most brilliantly tactical military adversaries we have ever known! Yes, that is the line now, I’m betting. Either/Or, but not both guys.

2. Let’s not forget that this madman was encouraged and empowered by US! We did so when we decided to invade a country that had – let me put this plainly – jack shit to do with the war we were fighting. We created Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, much like we created bin Laden. bin who? bin Laden…that guy we forgot about up until about – oh, let’s say just before Republicans lose their asses in November. September 11, 2006 might be a good date. We’ll know for sure the tail is wagging us then!

3. We passed on al-Zarqawi long ago. Media Matters is on top of it, but nobody else is talking much about the fact that we could have taken out this idiot long before one boot (OK, one “official” boot) stepped foot on Iraqi sand. The problem was (and is) that we are not actually fighting a war on terror – we are fighting a war for the control of the Middle East and going after a known terrorist just wouldn’t fit with that plan. What did, however, was ignoring him and letting an Al Queda prescence grow in Iraq to sell the story, quite effectively I might add, that there was a tie between 9/11 and Iraq due to the growth of the Al Queda effort in that country. It’s classic chicken or egg sleight of hand that most of the American populace fell for.

(NYT) Top military intelligence officials knew he was in Iraq and traveling around the country before the United States invasion, but they did not fully recognize that he was preparing for an insurgency. The Bush administration found it more useful to point to Mr. Zarqawi as a link between the regime of Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda, which, at the time, he was not. It has been reported that twice the administration passed on the opportunity to attack his camp in the Kurdish area of Iraq, evidently believing that it would detract from the more important goal of toppling Saddam Hussein.

4. Internal power struggle signs bad news. Early reports were that Zarqawi was given up by people closest to him. This indicates an inside job and a power struggle among the leadership of Al Queda in Iraq. This is troubling on two fronts. First, it indicates there are others willing and able to fill the vacuum of power created by his death. These guys are experts at not getting caught (see bin Laden). Unless we got those closest to him as well, we are in for some real trouble and got duped into assisting this new power. They get a rise in terrorist sentiment due to the death of their leader as well as a vacuum to fill and assert their own power. Second, it indicates that our intelligence is only as good as what the enemy gives us. This is NOT good news and is probably the reason that we can’t seem to take out a six foot four terrrorist on dialysis!

5. Last, but not least, there are now reports that solidiers beat the terrorist who survived two 500 pound bomb strikes (damn, read that again…survived two 500 pound bomb strikes!). Not only will this give more ammunition to those who fill the power vacuum, but taints us further as aggressors and not liberators…something Gitmo, Abu Ghraib, and now Haditha did as well.

This much should be perfectly clear: No matter how many we kill and how pretty the dead head wrapped in a gold frame looks to some, we’ve not accomplished a damned thing here other than to extend our stay in a war we had no business inciting in the first place.

Meanwhile, things carry on pretty much status quo, apparently unaware that the wicked witch, in fact, was dead!

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