Exit Zarqawi

Bush's best Iraq excuse
By ADAM REILLY  |  June 8, 2006

SELF-FULFILLING PROPHECY: Zarqawi legitimized Bush's Iraq rationale
Think the Iraq War was a bad idea? You and me both, cowboy. But if you’re not cheering the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, you’ve got a screw loose. Check out this run-down of Zarqawi’s handiwork. Getto the one about Zarqawi sending a car bomb into a group of kids getting candy from US soldiers, and even the most pious observer should get a hint of satisfaction at Zarqawi's death. Anyone who presides over this much bloodshed doesn’t deserve to live.

Having said that, as the scramble to assess Zarqawi’s legacy continues apace, it’s worth highlighting the grotesque symbiotic relationship he shared with President George W. Bush. Without the Bush Administration’s negligent management of post-Saddam Iraq, Zarqawi couldn’t have been as brutally effective as he was. And Zarqawi? He returned the favor by legitimizing Bush’s conflation of 9/11 with the Iraq invasion. Saddam in bed with al Qaeda? Fight the terrorists there so we don’t fight them here? These arguments were utter bullshit when the US invaded, but the mayhem perpetrated by Zarqawi made them a self-fulfilling prophecy. Hell, Zarqawi was even kind enough to change his network’s name from Monotheism and Holy War Group (boring!) to Al-Qaeda in Iraq back in 2004, thereby co-opting terrorism’s hottest brand and bolstering Bush’s defense of the Iraq venture in one fell swoop.

The dark hatred that fueled Zarqawi’s project won’t vanish with his death. If we’re lucky, though, Zarqawi’s replacement(s) won’t have his knack for setting Sunni against Shiite and killing and maiming en masse. Time will tell. In the meantime, we can all indulge in some dark enjoyment of the more absurd aspects of Zarqawi’s death, as newscasters everywhere struggle to correctly pronounce his name (gamely fought, Dolores Handy!) and US soldiers use photos that look to have been framed at a Sears Portrait Studio to prove he’s dead. A fittingly undignified end for a loathsome human.
Related: Playing war, Fantasy World, Numbing carnage, More more >
  Topics: News Features , Politics, U.S. Politics, George W. Bush,  More more >
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