Thursday, June 08, 2006

Spinning Zarqawi

By Creature

For an administration in need of good news, today they got it. Not only was Zarqawi sent to meet his virgins, but Iraq's parliament also swore in three new ministers (finally). The three ministers include a Sunni Arab to head the defense ministry, and two Shiites to lead the interior and security positions. All good news for Iraq (until a new Zarqawi emerges), and a boost for the American military at a much needed time (though a real boost would be to get them the hell out of the way). The early media spin on all this news is that the White House has learned from their bravado mistakes of the past, and today they are talking in measured tones proving, in fact, that they recognize a long hard road ahead (if only they hadn't chosen to put us on this long hard road to begin with).

President Bush from the White House Rose Garden:

Bush said Wednesday's death of the Jordanian-born Zarqawi "is a severe blow to al Qaeda," a victory in the war on terrorism, and "an opportunity for Iraq's new government to turn the tide in this struggle."

"We have tough days ahead of us in Iraq that will require the continued patience of the American people. Yet the developments of the last 24 hours give us renewed confidence in the final outcome of this struggle, the defeat of terrorism threats and a more peaceful world for our children and grandchildren," he said.

The experts ring an even more somber tone:

Arab and Western security analysts were agreed on Thursday that Zarqawi's death in a U.S. air raid would not end the insurgency, even if it represents a rare triumph in Iraq for the Bush administration.

"There will be people that will be mobilized to join the caravan of martyrs, to emulate his example and to honor him," said Magnus Ranstorp, an al Qaeda expert at the Swedish National Defense College.

While the Iraqis themselves are even more skeptical:

Police escorted reporters to the house they said was destroyed in the U.S. air raid. But residents were skeptical.

"Zarqawi. Zarqawi. Zarqawi. That's all we hear about. Zarqawi was not here. This home belonged to displaced people," said a village resident, holding up a teddy bear and a child's knapsack buried in the destruction.

And, of course, the civil war will rage on regardless of Zarqawi's death:

[A]n explosion ripped through a busy outdoor market in Baghdad just a few hours after Zarqawi's killing was announced. The blast, in a predominantly Shiite neighborhood, killed at least 19 people and wounded more than 40, the Associated Press reported.

And the band played on.

(Cross-posted at State of the Day.)

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