‘Bbbbbut he was just a boogie man created by Bush!’ ‘Photo op!’
Before getting to the meat of this post, let’s review a sampling of what the hate-Bush anti-war left were saying last Thursday after it was announced that Iraq’s number one Al Qaeda terrorist had been killed thanks to the US military.
Scott Thill at HuffPo:
Ah, the more things change, the more they remain the same. If there are any Americans left who believe that the death of Zarqawi is anything other than an orchestrated photo-op, then it’s time to start scouting out apartments in Vancouver.
Air America talk show host Jerry Springer:
JERRY SPRINGER: We never should have gone in from day one. Now, and I understand, tens of thousands of people have been killed because we choose to go into Iraq. That is true. We killed a hell of a lot more people just by decision to go into Iraq than ever died at the hands of Zarqawi.
Air America talk show host Randi Rhodes:
RANDI RHODES: Even the White House Press Secretary says this today at the press briefing. He says if you look at some of the al-Qaeda memos to Zarqawi, where you had direct leads, will you please stop beheading people, it’s bad PR. I think you have to say to yourself, my God, al-Qaeda is telling Zarqawi to cut the crap with the killing of Iraqis and yet we haven’t cut the crap with the killing of the Iraqis.
From Rhodes website:
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is dead. Bush’s #1 boogie man in Iraq has been killed in an air strike. So the war’s over, right? No. Well, the majority of the killing and violence must be over, right? No. Does anything really change? No.
The war in Iraq is primarily a civil war coupled with an insurgency pushing back against those who invaded and now occupy their country. Al Qaeda wasn’t in Iraq until Bush blew it up. And now they have a new martyr to bootâ€¦one who was built up by Bush himself.
“There is no evidence of operational links between his Salafi Jihadis in Iraq and the real al-Qaeda; it was just a sort of branding that suited everyone, including the US. Official US spokesmen have all along over-estimated his importance. Leaders are significant and not always easily replaced. But Zarqawi has in my view has been less important than local Iraqi leaders and groups. I don’t expect the guerrilla war to subside any time soon.”
MSNBC Hardball host Chris Matthews:
“Well could one concern be that if they bragged, and appropriately so bragged, about killing Zarqawi, a real bad guy, who killed Nicholas Berg and a number of other people in the most vicious way, beheading them, that they would expose the fact that they haven’t caught Mullah Omar, the head of the Taliban, haven’t caught Zawahiri, the number two guy, number three guy over there, and they certainly haven’t caught Bin Laden. Are they concerned that, that bragging at this point would look like bragging about a Triple-A World Series rather than a real one?”
If ever there were people who needed a reality pill, it’s the above and anyone else who thinks like them on this issue. To those people, here’s a reminder what kind of vicious creature Zarqawi was before Bush ‘created’ him:
The Jordanian-born Zarqawi is described in most biographies as a minor thug until he traveled to Afghanistan in the early 1980s to take part, along with Osama bin Laden, in the mujaheddin struggle against Soviet occupation. When he returned to Jordan in 1992, he turned his anger against Jordan’s monarchy and was arrested and imprisoned for seven years after being accused of plotting against the government. He left the country after his release.
In Germany, U.S. and European intelligence officials have said, Zarqawi formed his own terrorist cell with Jordanian and Syrian exiles who saw him as a rival to bin Laden and the growing al-Qaeda network. Zarqawi apparently returned to Afghanistan, where he reportedly established a terrorist training camp in the eastern part of the country.
In early 2001, Jordanian authorities convicted Zarqawi in absentia for conspiracy to blow up tourist sites frequented by Israelis and Americans. After the Sept. 11 attacks, he was said to be in Iran.
After the U.S.-led multinational attack that overthrew the Taliban government in Afghanistan, Zarqawi appeared on a U.S. list of most-wanted al-Qaeda terrorists still at large in early 2002. Intelligence officials said that at some time during the summer of that year, Zarqawi spent two months in Baghdad, where he received medical treatment for an undisclosed problem with his leg.
By then, administration attention was locked on Iraq. In a speech in Cincinnati on Oct. 7, 2002, Bush outlined the “grave threat” Hussein posed to the United States. Citing “high-level contacts” between Iraq and al-Qaeda “that go back a decade,” he said that “some al-Qaeda leaders who fled Afghanistan went to Iraq. These include one very senior al-Qaeda leader who received medical treatment in Baghdad this year, and who has been associated with planning for chemical and biological attacks.”
Bush never mentioned Zarqawi’s name, but Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, in a speech to the U.N. Security Council on Feb. 5, 2003, described him as the head of a “deadly terrorist network” tied to al-Qaeda and harbored by Hussein.
So let it be officially declared that Zarqawi was indeed considered a very dangerous terrorist threat *before* the war in Iraq, contrary to the opinions of the those now asserting that he would be a small-time terrorist (as if there were such a thing) had Bush not been a “warmonger!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” and waged war with Iraq.
Furthermore, just to show what a danger he still was at the time of his demise comes this report from the New York Times:
AMMAN, Jordan, June 10 — At the time of his death, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was still trying to transform his organization from one focused on the Iraqi insurgency into a global operation capable of striking far beyond Iraq’s borders, intelligence experts here and in the West agree.
His recruiting efforts, according to high-ranking Jordanian security officials interviewed Saturday, were threefold: He sought volunteers to fight in Iraq and others to become suicide bombers there, but he also recruited about 300 who went to Iraq for terrorist training and sent them back to their home countries, where they await orders to carry out strikes.
There have been scattered reports that Iraq had become a training ground, but Jordan’s assessment was the first to offer firm numbers.
Of a range of intelligence experts in the United States, Europe and Jordan interviewed about Mr. Zarqawi’s reach, only the Jordanians offered such detail.
Counterterrorism officials in the United States said that they, too, had seen a flow of terrorists into Iraq from other countries, including Saudi Arabia and Egypt, seeking training under Mr. Zarqawi and his associates.
But they said that they believed the “bleed out” of people trained and sent home to await orders was probably significantly lower than 300.
Steven Simon, a former National Security Council staff member now at the Council on Foreign Relations, said: “My sense is that the next step might have been mobilizing his recruitment networks to attack Europeans. That’s one reason I think his death makes a difference.”
As the insurgency became increasingly driven by Iraqis, Mr. Zarqawi expressed an interest in spreading his reach globally, in effect challenging Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri as the leader of a global terrorist war.
Authorities across Europe have identified dozens of young militant Muslim men who have either left Europe to fight in Iraq or have been stopped while planning to do so. American forces in Iraq have said at least three French nationals are among the dozens of foreign fighters they have captured there.
German authorities, meanwhile, have arrested 18 suspected members of the radical group Ansar al-Islam and the Zarqawi network since December 2004, including three Iraqis charged with plotting to assassinate Ayad Allawi during a visit to Germany last year, when he was Iraq’s prime minister.
Will this now – at last – put to bed the silly nonsensical assertions made by the Bush-hating wing of the Democratic party since last Thursday, some of who seem to think Zarqawi was just a figurehead in Iraq? No, it won’t. Especially considering that the same crowd who harshly criticized the President for two years about how he ‘let Zarqawi get away’ now want to switch gears and make Zarqawi’s death out to be not such a big deal. Acknowledging how dangerous Zarqawi really was would mean admitting they were wrong in their, ahem, ‘revised’ assessment of the threat they thought he possessed to Iraq and the international community. Not only that, but an admission of wrongness on their part would also mean they were asserting via implication that Zarqawi’s death was good news for Iraq – and most importantly to the usual suspects, good news for the President they so fervently despise.
Update I: Get ready for more conspiracy theories: Al-Zarqawi Autopsy Over, Results Withheld
Update II: LOL! (For a more serious discussion of the issue mentioned in that post, go here)