al-Zarqawi Killed

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has said that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the most wanted terrorist for his role in the insurgency, “was eliminated” last night, “when US warplanes dropped 500-pound bombs on his isolated safehouse.”

Al-Zarqawi and several aides, including spiritual adviser Sheik Abdul Rahman, were killed Wednesday evening in a remote area 30 miles from Baghdad in the volatile province of Diyala, just east of the provincial capital of Baqouba, officials said…

The announcement about al-Zarqawi's death came six days after he issued an audiotape on the Internet, railing against Shiites in Iraq and saying militias were raping women and killing Sunnis. He urged the community to fight back…

Al-Zarqawi is believed to have beheaded two Americans — Nicholas Berg of West Chester, Pa., and Eugene Armstrong, formerly of Hillsdale, Mich. — prompting supporters to dub him "the slaughtering sheik."
Steve Benen, posting at Political Animal, notes: “Iraqi and U.S. officials agreed that his death would not necessarily stem the violence and insurgency -- and as if to prove the point, an explosion ripped through a busy outdoor market in Baghdad just a few hours after Zarqawi's killing was announced. Regardless, when a dangerous terrorist can no longer wreak havoc, it's good news.” And then he goes on to remind us that Bush could have taken out al-Zarqawi four years ago, before he was responsible for 700 terrorist killings in Iraq, but didn’t.

NBC News has learned that long before the war the Bush administration had several chances to wipe out his terrorist operation and perhaps kill Zarqawi himself — but never pulled the trigger.
Benen adds: “This NBC report was later confirmed by the Wall Street Journal and Australian journalists who got on-the-record comments from the former head of the CIA's Osama bin Laden unit. So, while it's no doubt good news that Zarqawi is no more, it's worth remembering that Bush wasn't willing to hit this known al-Qaeda terrorist in a known location based on air-tight intelligence before the war even began.” Indeed.

That’s the way it is with the Bush administration. Every good deed has a shit-streaked lining.

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