(guest post by Taylor Marsh)
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is dead.
I stayed up to the wee hours to watch the live news coverage. Zarqawi’s death was immediately confirmed last night by General George Casey, who heads up the U.S. operations in Iraq. The announcement was made in a brief news conference, which included Prime Minister al-Maliki, who was supposed to talk about an agreement he’d made to finally appoint people to head the Interior and Defense Ministries. Instead, al-Maliki made the announcement about Zarqawi. I guess the names of his Interior and Defense ministers will come later, one can only hope at this point.
The news about al-Zarqawi’s death came after a very "bad day" in Iraq. Every time I read Baghdad Burning all I can do is shake my head, but yesterday it seemed even worse.
There’s an ethnic cleansing in progress and it’s impossible to deny. People are being killed according to their ID card. Extremists on both sides are making life impossible. Some of them work for ‘Zarqawi’, and the others work for the Iraqi Ministry of Interior. We hear about Shia being killed in the ‘Sunni triangle’ and corpses of Sunnis named ‘Omar’ (a Sunni name) arriving by the dozen at the Baghdad morgue. I never thought I’d actually miss the car bombs. At least a car bomb is indiscriminate. It doesn’t seek you out because you’re Sunni or Shia.
We still don’t have ministers in the key ministries- defense and interior. Iraq is falling apart and Maliki and his team are still bickering over who should get more power- who is more qualified to oppress Iraqis with the help of foreign occupiers? On top of all of this, rumor has it that the Iraqi parliament have a ‘vacation’ coming up during July and August. They’re so exhausted with the arguing, and struggling for power, they need to take a couple of months off to rest. They’ll leave their well-guarded homes behind for a couple of months, and spend some time abroad with their families (who can’t live in Iraq anymore- they’re too precious for that).
During the news conference, General George Casey said al-Zarqawi’s death would not end the insurgency. That’s for sure. It’s pathetic that Casey has to remind everyone that this doesn’t solve our challenges in Iraq, considering how far gone the country is at this point. But with Bush and the administration feeding progress propaganda to us at every turn it’s a point that must be made.
Now we’ll get to see the truth about Murtha’s case regarding insurgents vs. al Qaeda types in Iraq. The reality is that it’s going to take a lot more than killing al-Zarqawi to change reality on the ground in Iraq.
Good riddance to al-Zarqawi, especially what he did to Nick Berg. But his death comes so late in Bush’s preemptive war games it’s hard to appreciate it at all.