Home > World Events > Zarqawi is dead. Hooray!

Zarqawi is dead. Hooray!

June 9th, 2006

What effect it will have remains to be seen, but Abu Musab al-Zarqawi richly deserved his fate. As well as being responsible for many gruesome acts of terrorism and murder, he was one of the leaders in stirring up civil war in Iraq. Of course, it would have been better if he’d been dealt with in early 2003, when the Pentagon had him in its sights.

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  1. June 9th, 2006 at 21:07 | #1

    So are you advocating armed posses that go around looking for criminals BEFORE they commit a crime and then kill them? I am sure that idea will fly.

    No. I am suggesting that after he shot the first half dozen people it would have been no bad thing if somebody had shot him.

  2. June 9th, 2006 at 21:10 | #2

    If you want to apply the rules of war to terrorists then they have to be afforded all the rights and protections of the Geneva Convention. ie all the prisoners in Gitmo are being held against the rules and should be released and the people that imprison them can be tried in the international court as war criminals. We hold others to high standards as the Serbian leaders found out.

    The Geneva Convention does not stop you killing enemy leaders using an F16.

  3. Sj
    June 9th, 2006 at 21:25 | #3

    The Geneva Convention does not stop you killing enemy leaders using an F16.

    Kinda like the way the Crimes Act doesn’t stop you from stealing cars.

  4. June 9th, 2006 at 22:41 | #4

    More like the way the Crimes Act does not stop the police from shooting criminals when the general public is being threatened.

  5. SJ
    June 9th, 2006 at 23:09 | #5

    Terje, law doesn’t stop anything. That’s not its purpose. It makes certain things punishable in order to deter the commission of such things.

    The law in Australia does not permit the police to kill people.

    They are permitted to act in self defence, or in defence of a third party, just as all the rest of us are.

    Basically, if some bad guy is waving a gun in your face, and is an immediate threat, there’s some justification. If he’s asleep, or doesn’t have the gun in his hand, then there’s no justification.

  6. June 9th, 2006 at 23:12 | #6

    Terje – “No. I am suggesting that after he shot the first half dozen people it would have been no bad thing if somebody had shot him.”

    So you would support general arming of civilians? As I remember it the result of the massacre was a dramatic tightening of gun laws – seems to be a bit of a contradiction here.

    “The Geneva Convention does not stop you killing enemy leaders using an F16.”

    No it doesn’t however it does prevent removing enemy POWs from the country where they are captured. If you want to class terrorists as legitimate military forces so you can take them out with F16s then you have to respect the other rules – as I said before you can’t have it both ways.

    “More like the way the Crimes Act does not stop the police from shooting criminals when the general public is being threatened.”

    However it does allow a policeman that shoots a suspect in anything but self defense to be tried for murder. It is the inconvenient rule of law that applies in Australia but not in Iraq.

  7. Seeker
    June 10th, 2006 at 00:06 | #7

    I am glad Zarqawi is dead, one less piece of scum to deal with. But it remains to be seen whether it makes a whole lot of difference to the Iraq situation, either way.

  8. June 10th, 2006 at 00:09 | #8

    A dramatic loosening of the gun laws would have been more effective. The Port Arthur killings are textbook example of why the general population should be armed. If every girl had a six-shooter in her purse, the port arthur killer WOULD have been shot by the time he killed the first half-dozen people.

    In populations which are heavily armed, mass murders tend to not happen, wonder why?

  9. June 10th, 2006 at 01:24 | #9

    > tend to not happen

    Or, looking at Israel, the mass murderers result to explosives.

  10. June 10th, 2006 at 01:25 | #10

    Er, “resort”.

  11. kcom
    June 10th, 2006 at 01:40 | #11

    “If you want to apply the rules of war to terrorists then they have to be afforded all the rights and protections of the Geneva Convention. ie all the prisoners in Gitmo are being held against the rules and should be released and the people that imprison them can be tried in the international court as war criminals. We hold others to high standards as the Serbian leaders found out.”

    The Geneva convention on POWs protects the following people:

    “In principle to be entitled to prisoner of war status the captured service member must have conducted operations according to the laws and customs of war, e.g. be part of a chain of command, wear a uniform and bear arms openly. Thus, franc-tireurs, terrorists and spies may be excluded. In practice these criteria are not always interpreted strictly. Guerrillas, for example, may not wear a uniform or carry arms openly, yet are typically granted POW status if captured. However, guerrillas or any other combatant may not be granted the status if they try to use both the civilian and the military status. Thus, the importance of uniforms — or as in the guerrilla case, a badge — to keep this important rule of warfare.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prisoner_of_war

    Here is an excerpt from one of the links in the article:

    “It is a violation of the laws of war to engage in combat without meeting certain requirements, among them the wearing of a distinctive uniform or other easily identifiable badge and the carrying of weapons openly. Impersonating soldiers of the other side by wearing the enemy’s uniform and fighting in that uniform is forbidden, as is the taking of hostages.”

    I’ll admit I’m no lawyer but it seems to me that there is a quid pro quo involved. You follow the rules of being a soldier and you’re entitled to the protections of the Geneva conventions.

    If you don’t, that doesn’t mean it suddenly becomes a police case. It’s a long way from a guy trying to hold up a bank in downtown Chicago and someone like Zarqawi purposely bombing and shooting civilians to achieve a political goal.

  12. milano803
    June 10th, 2006 at 08:39 | #12

    This is such fantastic news for the people of Iraq.

  13. June 10th, 2006 at 10:34 | #13

    Kcom – So Delta Force members who do not wear uniforms and try to blend with civilians are terrorists then?

    The problem is and always has been in these types of wars is identifying the enemy. It happened in Vietnam and it is happening again here. The way to defeat terrorists is to win the support of local people and remove their support base. Blowing up houses and killing innocent people to detain suspects is not a technique that will win a lot of people over. The Iraqi people know that this is not a usual method in the countries that are doing it and naturally resent it bitterly. This feeds the insurgency.

    Zarqawi is not the insurgency. Killing him makes little difference however the METHOD makes all difference in the world. The USA loves figureheads and they made the same mistake in Somalia in persuing General Ideed and ignoring the Hearts and Minds campaign that would been far more effective than hunting down and killing individuals. There is nothing more an insurgent leader hates than being ignored as they feed off the publicity and notariaty to enhance their own reputations.

    Until the Rule of Law is applied over all Iraq then there will be an endless supply of Zarqawis for the Americans to hunt down.

  14. Katz
    June 10th, 2006 at 11:02 | #14

    OK folks, gloating interlude is over.

    Now for a splash of cold reality:

    http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/come-home-iraq-workers-warned/2006/06/09/1149815316608.html

    “Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said their deaths underlined the dangers for people going to Iraq. “I know a lot of people working for security firms there make a great deal of money and are prepared to take the risk, but this death illustrates how dangerous work is in Iraq,” he said. “We continue to advise Australians not to go to Iraq, or those Australians in Iraq to leave.”

    Mr Downer said dozens of Australians were working as private security contractors in Iraq, and that was surprising. “The fact is, although it is very dangerous work, they can earn an enormous amount of money, and they don’t have to spend many months in Iraq to accumulate substantial amounts of money.

    “We try to discourage them, but it’s a free world. If they want to go, they don’t have to take our advice,” he said.

    The advice is significantly different to that Mr Downer offered in April 2003, when he said: “But I don’t have any doubt there will be plenty of work for Australian companies.”"

    So after three years of war and occupation, Downer has to confess that the security situation in Iraq has deteriorated to the point where Australians should not venture into Mesopotamia’s “Beacon of Light.”

    But wait a minute, if Australians aren’t going to do the crucial work of reconstructing Iraq, then who is?

    Silly me. I forgot. There is no reconstruction in Iraq. Remember? the US stopped funding it.

    Q: So what is the US and Australia doing in Iraq?

    A: Killing Zaqawi.

    Q:Why?

    A: To make Iraq a Beacon of Light in the region.

    Q: But they’ve stopped spending money on that Beacon of Light dream.

    A: Shhh! Maybe if we don’t mention it people won’t notice.

  15. MichaelH
    June 10th, 2006 at 11:20 | #15

    If the killing of one man, of whom there is more speculation than fact, is “fantastic news”, it really does highlight how little good news there is in Iraq, aside from the occassional school getting painted.

    Zarqawi is a welcome distraction from the real story in Iraq, which is the enormous chasm that has opened between the Pollyanna-ish predictions of the Iraq War advocates (eg Downer)in 2003 and the current reality.

  16. June 10th, 2006 at 14:00 | #16

    Katz – “Mr Downer said dozens of Australians were working as private security contractors in Iraq, and that was surprising. “The fact is, although it is very dangerous work, they can earn an enormous amount of money, and they don’t have to spend many months in Iraq to accumulate substantial amounts of money.”

    It is not a suprise to me – we paid for their training. The SAS is losing heaps of highly trained people, that we paid up to half a million dollars for, to private security firms that pay $1000.00 per day. What would you do? Be and SAS soldier on 50 or 60 thousand a year or work for private firms. We then have to pay for new SAS troopers to be trained. Good isn’t it.

  17. Katz
    June 10th, 2006 at 14:17 | #17

    Ender,

    That’s the problem with professional armies. They cost a fortune to maintain. Insurgents merely need patience and they’ll beat the best equipped and best trained professional army. Immediately a professional army is deployed the political, human relations, and financial meters start ticking at a furiious rate.

    And the SAS takes the problem one stage further. Democracies and standing armies have difficulty in co-existing. As taxpayers, we’re not allowed to know the identities of these public servants. They live in isolation from the wider community. They are the playthings of executive government.

    This is a far cry from the ideals of the citizen-soldier of the ANZAC myth and a far cry from all of Australia’s military commitments, from Gallipoli to Vietnam.

    Howard’s constant spinning on the ANZAC myth is possibly an attempt to disguise just how much military culture has changed in Australia, to the detriment of democratic control over and influence in the Australian military establishment.

  18. Spiros
    June 10th, 2006 at 14:59 | #18

    “In populations which are heavily armed, mass murders tend to not happen”

    For example, they didn’t happen at Columbine in 1999, when the two heavily armed high school students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold didn’t murder 12 people, and wound 24 others.

  19. June 10th, 2006 at 15:57 | #19

    Schools themselves aren’t heavily armed. Pharyngula had a big argument over a physics teacher bringing a pistol to class for one dramatic experiment a year.

    I remember some old story, possibly apocryphal, of a Palestinian trying to shoot up an Israeli diner and getting shot down in short order. As I noted, that leaves other options.

  20. kcom
    June 10th, 2006 at 15:58 | #20

    The Iraqi people know that this is not a usual method in the countries that are doing it and naturally resent it bitterly. This feeds the insurgency.

    I would just caution you to be careful of bald-faced assertions like that. It might seem logical to you but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true. I’ve seen a lot of celebrating going on in Iraq, if the pictures coming from there are any indicator.

    As to the Delta Force, I wish I knew more about how they operate. I don’t have any knowledge in that area and don’t know what the implications of the Geneva Conventions as applied to them are.

    Zarqawi is not the insurgency. Killing him makes little difference however the METHOD makes all difference in the world.

    Again, I would say be careful of the blanket assertions. Only time will tell if it makes little difference or a lot of difference. When the Saudis killed their local al-Qaeda head, and then killed his successor several months later (and his successor, too) it made a lot of difference. That was only clear in retrospect, though. At the time, the long-term effect was unknowable.

    The USA loves figureheads and they made the same mistake in Somalia in persuing General Ideed and ignoring the Hearts and Minds campaign that would been far more effective than hunting down and killing individuals.

    I would assert that to a great extent this is comparing apples to oranges. We didn’t go into Somalia to kill anyone or hunt anyone down. We went there simply to facilitate the delivery of food aid to starving people. When General Aidid tried to disrupt that process that’s when our attention turned to him and simply as a necessary hurdle to overcome to accomplish the relief mission. The big losers in the long run, of course, were those Somalis who were the intended recipients of the aid who never received it. If we had gone in there with a war strategy you would have seen a deployment and tactics that were markedly different. (There’s no way to know, of course, whether that situation would have been more successful because it was never tested. But I feel quite confident in saying that it would have been much different. For one thing, we wouldn’t have been dependent on the Pakistanis for APCs.)

  21. June 10th, 2006 at 20:09 | #21

    Kcom – “I’ve seen a lot of celebrating going on in Iraq, if the pictures coming from there are any indicator.”

    Perhaps however there is also a lot of grief from other suspect caputures. The pictures coming out are carefully chosen and controlled. Insurgent leaders usually have more enemies than friends so there would be a lot of celebrating.

    “Only time will tell if it makes little difference or a lot of difference. When the Saudis killed their local al-Qaeda head, and then killed his successor several months later (and his successor, too) it made a lot of difference.”

    How do you know what is happening Saudi Arabia? Do you imagine with the death of Zarqawi will end the insurgency in Iraq?
    You really need to watch this program on him from 4 corners
    http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/content/2006/s1625897.htm

    “When General Aidid tried to disrupt that process that’s when our attention turned to him and simply as a necessary hurdle to overcome to accomplish the relief mission”

    However you could not resist trying to get him rather than ignoring him and winning the people over. You ended up, from being cheered at the beaches when you arrived, to Black Hawk Down sort of stuff because of your inability to manage a situation where guns are not the weapon of choice. Contrast this with Australian management, on the British model, of the Cambodian elections in 1993. The commander there wisely ignored the pathetic remenant of the Kmer Rouge rather than trying to engage them and drawing attention away from the real effort.

  22. kcom
    June 11th, 2006 at 02:19 | #22

    The pictures coming out are carefully chosen and controlled.

    Please, I don’t go for conspiracy theories. Sell that to someone else.

    I take your point, but you don’t have to sell it with a conspiracy theory.

    How do you know what is happening Saudi Arabia?

    Have you heard any news of an al-Qaeda multiple bombing with the death 30 something people lately in Saudi Arabia? An embassy attacks? I think that would be pretty hard to cover up. It was common a few years ago, it’s not common now. To me, that’s a change.

    Do you imagine with the death of Zarqawi will end the insurgency in Iraq?

    No, I don’t. And I never have. And I don’t know any mature commentator on either side of the issue who ever has. But I’m also wise enough to know that neither you (nor I) have a crystal ball that allows us an omniscient view into the future. As I said, the only way to really know what will happen now that Zarqawi is dead is to watch and see what happens. Making a blanket statement that it will have little effect based on no evidence doesn’t seem to me to be a very supportable position. Whether it’s a turning point of any kind, even a partial one, will only be clear in hindsight.

    “You ended up, from being cheered at the beaches when you arrived, to Black Hawk Down sort of stuff because of your inability to manage a situation where guns are not the weapon of choice.”

    Yes, I agree. That was one of President Clinton’s great failings. It was sad how he squandered the goodwill of the world.

  23. brian
    June 11th, 2006 at 02:26 | #23

    In the cascade of lies told by the US and its little band of allies(Italy leaves the band next month !!)the lies about WMD’s.,Zarkawi..Saddam’s nucleur facilities,and just about everything else,the fate of Zaqawi reads like a ripping yarn…the US actually announced him dead a while ago..Oh,well..He may yet come alive when George needs another Bogeyman !!and who really believes it will make a whit of difference in Ireaq…Did capturing Saddam make a difference(THEY said at the time it would…but nobody believes them!!)..the course is still set for a total disaster!!!!perhaps with a repeat of that famous Saigon retreat in confusion and chaos!!…but this time in Baghdad .

  24. kcom
    June 11th, 2006 at 05:44 | #24

    the course is still set for a total disaster!!!!perhaps with a repeat of that famous Saigon retreat in confusion and chaos!!…but this time in Baghdad.

    If you hurry, maybe you can get your tickets now. Front row seat and everything. I know you’re looking forward to the show. You don’t have much else to look forward to, I guess. Except, perhaps, time at punctuation and capitalization school.

    And more substantively, the course is not set for anything. Unless you have a crystal ball that you’re not sharing with us or you believe there’s no such thing as free will and God has pre-ordained everything. Or Karl Marx has. Historical determinism went out of style a long time ago.

  25. June 11th, 2006 at 08:48 | #25

    John wrote:

    “Paul, can we at least agree that generational categories like Boomer and X-er are only relevant in [the West]. As far as much of the developing world is concerned, the baby boom took place in the 60s, 70s and 80s.”

    Agreed, in part. The expression “baby boomer” does sit awkwardly as a global descriptor for those born between 1946 and 1961. But while wishing that there was a better (= less birth numbers-based) term in general use, I will continue to use it because this generation in the West did share at least one important attribute (birth-numbers aside) with the Middle-East (not sure about the rest of the developing world).

    In both, fundamentalist revolutions starting in 1979 were hugely damaging to the careers (and so for men, the entire well-being) of those born after 1962. When combined with a Middle-East demographic bulge (despite which they’re still “Xers”, not “boomers”, per the above), an Arab generation’s most educated turned atavistic. Meanwhile, their Xer counterparts in the West, perhaps muted by their relative paucity in numbers, turned to living and dying alone in basements.

  26. June 11th, 2006 at 11:55 | #26

    Kcom – “Please, I don’t go for conspiracy theories. Sell that to someone else.”

    I realise I do have a bit of a thing for conspiracy theories however this is not one of them. In both the Gulf Wars the media was carefully controlled by a military that wanted to avoid the open reporting of Vietnam. This is a well documented fact and is well outside conspiracy theory. The situation in Iraq is so dangerous for jounalists that few venture outside the Green Zone. Giving a picture of this Green Zone is hardly represetitive of the greater Iraq. How many reports have you heard from Fallujah lately?

    “Yes, I agree. That was one of President Clinton’s great failings”

    You shift blame for this onto Clinton???? If this is the case then it is no wonder why your country keeps repeating the same mistakes. Perhaps it is a cultural thing. Just recently after wrecking the Somalia aid effort your CIA supported these same warlords with the result that an Islamic group is now in control of Somalia. The regime in Iran came about because of a cou organised by the same CIA that destablised an elected government. If you do not learn from your mistakes you are doomed to repeat them. Clinton – sure!!!!!!!

  27. MichaelH
    June 11th, 2006 at 15:08 | #27

    “Historical determinism went out of style a long time ago.” – kcom

    Not really.

    It just exists in a different form. Some of its’ strongest proponents were behind the Iraq War. They beleive that ‘democracy’ is the natural order, and where it dosn’t exist, you simply remove the impediments (ie Saddam) and it will miraculously spring forth.

  28. June 11th, 2006 at 21:00 | #28

    Ender,

    You said:-

    So you would support general arming of civilians? As I remember it the result of the massacre was a dramatic tightening of gun laws – seems to be a bit of a contradiction here.

    If I was John Howard there would be a contradiction within my position. However I am not John Howard so there is no contradiction.

    My view on the arming of civilians is that both government officials (eg the police) and civilians in general should be subject to the same qualifiers before they are allowed to own and carry a fire arm. So if a police officer can carry a gun after a mental health check, a criminal background check and X hours shooting range experience then an ordinary citizen should be allowed to carry a gun after a mental health check, a criminal background check and X hours shooting range experience.

    Regards,
    Terje.

  29. June 11th, 2006 at 21:59 | #29

    Re the “Stalin dead” headline, according to Paul Barry it originally read: “STALIN DEAD – OFFICIAL” but was changed by Sir Frank to “STALIN DEAD – HOORAY”.

    Compositors refused to print it.

  30. June 11th, 2006 at 22:33 | #30

    Terje – “So if a police officer can carry a gun after a mental health check, a criminal background check and X hours shooting range experience then an ordinary citizen should be allowed to carry a gun after a mental health check, a criminal background check and X hours shooting range experience.”

    Why not just become a Police officer if you really want to carry a gun? They can sure use the personnel. Then you would be under proper supervision and discipline. Or join the Army – even the Reserves get to carry weapons.

    Do you see the common thread here – discipline and supervision. Perhaps this is why it is not a good idea to arm citizens.

  31. June 12th, 2006 at 00:47 | #31

    Ender,

    Why not just become a Police officer if you really want to carry a gun?

    I don’t really want to carry a gun and I certainly don’t want to become a police officer. I think you are missing the point. My position is that you should not need to become a police officer in order to have the same legal firearm rights as a police officer.

    Do you see the common thread here – discipline and supervision. Perhaps this is why it is not a good idea to arm citizens.

    I don’t see any common thread that is relevant. The point is that we should only seek to disarm reckless people.

    In any case this is getting off topic. If you really want to explore it as an issue then maybe raise the issue of gun regulation in the weekend section.

    Regards,
    Terje.

  32. milano803
    June 12th, 2006 at 02:31 | #32

    “They beleive that ‘democracy’ is the natural order, and where it dosn’t exist, you simply remove the impediments (ie Saddam) and it will miraculously spring forth.”

    Democracy isn’t “the natural order” and I cannot recall anyone claiming that it is. Americans, of all people, know that democracy has a cost, often a huge one. And it rarely springs forth without a lot of bloodshed. But it IS a better system of government for the greatest number of people and it cannot spring forth with impediments such as Saddam.

  33. smiths
    June 12th, 2006 at 15:41 | #33

    i hope you can all clearly see how the story is already changing and also why we really should not beleieve a word of it

    A Dying Al-Zarqawi Tried to Get Away

    By PATRICK QUINN
    The Associated Press
    Friday, June 9, 2006; 6:18 PM

    BAGHDAD, Iraq — Abu Musab al-Zarqawi could barely speak, but he struggled and tried to get away from American soldiers as he lay dying on a stretcher in the ruins of his hideout.
    The U.S. forces recognized his face, and knew they had the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq.
    Initially, the U.S. military had said al-Zarqawi was killed outright. But Friday new details emerged of his final moments.
    On Wednesday, the U.S. military tracked him to a house northwest of Baghdad, and blew it up with two 500-pound bombs.
    Al-Zarqawi somehow managed to survive the impact of the bombs, weapons so powerful they tore a huge crater in the date palm forest where the house was nestled just outside the town of Baqouba.

  34. milano803
    June 12th, 2006 at 15:52 | #34

    This doesn’t seem like too much of a change actually. I expected more details about Zarqawi’s demise to come out after the first announcement and probably we’ll see more details as time goes on. Remember, stories gets rushed out in an effort to be the first to report something of this magnitude. And when they are rushed out that fast, all the details are not usually available. What is so sinister about this?

  35. chris shannon
    June 14th, 2006 at 16:05 | #35

    Anyone interested in hearing Adel Iskander speak while in Brisbane can check out http://www.ici.qut.edu.au for deatils. Adel is the author of “Bin Laden in the suburbs: criminalising the Arab other”.

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