Meta-Blog

SEARCH QandO

Email:
Jon Henke
Bruce "McQ" McQuain
Dale Franks
Bryan Pick
Billy Hollis
Lance Paddock
MichaelW

BLOGROLL QandO

 
 
Recent Posts
The Ayers Resurrection Tour
Special Friends Get Special Breaks
One Hour
The Hope and Change Express - stalled in the slow lane
Michael Steele New RNC Chairman
Things that make you go "hmmmm"...
Oh yeah, that "rule of law" thing ...
Putting Dollar Signs in Front Of The AGW Hoax
Moving toward a 60 vote majority?
Do As I Say ....
 
 
QandO Newsroom

Newsroom Home Page

US News

US National News
Politics
Business
Science
Technology
Health
Entertainment
Sports
Opinion/Editorial

International News

Top World New
Iraq News
Mideast Conflict

Blogging

Blogpulse Daily Highlights
Daypop Top 40 Links

Regional

Regional News

Publications

News Publications

 
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi: dead
Iraqi Democracy: Alive

Posted by: Jon Henke on Thursday, June 08, 2006

Stipulated: insofar as murderous monsters deserve to die, the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is a very good thing. For that, we can be glad. However — if I might spoil the good news with potential implications — there are two compelling reasons to believe that the moral victory might not translate to a strategic victory.

  • As discussed yesterday, the insurgency in Iraq is more of a tactical obstacle (and tragedy) than a strategic obstacle. Zarqawi and company killed people, but they did not appear to possess much actual power.


  • Killing infamous al Qaeda leaders, while gratifying, is not necessarily beneficial. Certainly, for example, we'd all like to see Osama bin Laden dead, but I'm far from certain that his death would make us any safer. In fact, his death might only serve to spur further attacks from vengeful followers. Osama bin Laden, The Cave Dweller might just be less dangerous than Osama bin Laden, The Martyr.


As Ezra Klein observes, "the insurgency is self-sustaining, not reliant on a charismatic leader or strategic genius for its perpetuation." Consider what Eric Martin points out at American Footprints. In response to Kathryn Jean Lopez's observation that "The Israelis have proved [that "[w]hen you get rid of a leader, it’s very hard to replace him"} time and time again", Martin writes...
"Doesn't the fact that one would have to prove it "time and again" sort of suggest that the each such instance wasn't such a "big operational success"? And if they have had such massive victories so often, why the, you know, ongoing problems and stuff?"
Nor does Zarqawi's death resolve the institutional problems plaguing the Iraqi government. Von @ Obsidian Wings notes that Zarqawi "did not create the ethnic tensions in Iraq; he merely exploited them." In this sense, Zarqawi's death is best understood as a delightful subordinate to the important strategic conflict.

Divider



Though not as widely observed, there is very good strategic news today, though.
Minutes after the Zarqawi's death was announced, the long-debated posts of interior minister, defense minister and national security adviser were filled in a giddy session of parliament. Abdul Qadir Muhammed Jassim, a Sunni Arab and former Iraqi army commander, was named defense minister, Jawad al-Bolani, a Shiite, was put in charge of the interior ministry and Sherwan Alwaeli, a Kurd, was named the country's top official for national security. Bolani, unlike his predecessor, Bayan Jabr, is not affiliated with Shiite militias.
Pluralistic, cross-ethnic representation in the various security ministries is vital. And as Charles Bird says, with "a fully manned government in place, al-Maliki can more effectively address the sectarian violence in Baghdad."

Iraq will not be a western liberal democracy for the foreseeable future, but it can certainly be a progressive democracy within the context of the Middle East. Today's announcement is a significant step toward that goal.
 
TrackBacks
Return to Main Blog Page
 
 

Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
But Jon, if only we had never pursued this Iraqi quagmire and instead poured troops into Afghanistan to capture bin Laden, the left would be hailing President Bush as a saviour...

Proving yet again that the left can’t stay consistent because it defeats their purpose.

Going after Zarqawi - it wont do anything

Going after bin Ladin - it’ll end the war on terror

But that’s just a sidebar to the obvious. The violence will continue, but the rate and from what sectors of the insurgency it comes from will be interesting to follow.

****

Seeing as how our forces did a followup of 17 raids after this one, it will be interesting to see what the terrorist part of the insurgency does after this.

Abd wutg the government now having a full cabinet (side thought, how long do cabinets normally take to fill) it will be interesting to see how the political situation tracks now.
 
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://
I think you may be right in what you’re intimating Jon. That the bigger news today is the Iraqi govt filling up those important cabinate positions. Perhaps "bigger" isnt the right description, but between that and Zarqawi being killed, I think the cabinate possitions being filled will lead to a more stable Iraq than the fact that Zarqawi is dead. I think this is mainly because we have already won the military war in Iraq. What matters now is the Iraqis winning the political war, and this is a big step in the right direction on that.

That all being said, I think you and Ezra discount too much the "cutting off the head" strategy that Israel has taken to. While, yes, the head does grow back, it doesn’t grow back as well each time. It leaves them disorganized for a short time, and then with most likely less effective leadership. This is what fizzled the 2nd Intafada and, I suspect, contributed somewhat to the current civil war that is fermenting in Palestine. I think we can see its success further in the disruption of al Qaeda as well.
 
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
Correction, I meant Eric Martin. Not Ezra Klein, who’s quote I 85% agree with.
 
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
But Jon, if only we had never pursued this Iraqi quagmire and instead poured troops into Afghanistan to capture bin Laden, the left would be hailing President Bush as a saviour...

Proving yet again that the left can’t stay consistent because it defeats their purpose.

Going after Zarqawi - it wont do anything

Going after bin Ladin - it’ll end the war on terror
Wingers can’t even keep their whining straight.

First of all, the Taliban is stronger now than it has been since December 2001. The reason why the left wanted to put more troops in Afghanistan was to do the job right. Completely eliminate the Taliban, secure, to the extent possible, the border with Pakistan, and reconstruct the country. Now, with NATO about to take over, it looks like things are going from bad to worse.

As for getting bin Laden, the left is only holding Bush to his word. He said he was going to get him "dead or alive." So are you telling us that Bush was lying? I defy you to find one quote anywhere from any prominent person on the left that says capturing bin Laden would end the war on terror.

As for the new government ministers, what Jon omits is that their appointment coincided with the agreement to release thousands of detained Sunnis from Iraqi prisons, many of whom never had a charge leveled against them. Something tells me that more than a few of these guys will have some scores to settle. Many. I’m sure, will be more than happy to join the Sunni resistance and exact a little revenge.

Good job on killing Zarqawi, although too bad Bush didn’t kill him four years ago when he had the chance.



 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
mkultra - The Taliban’s power is also largely in Pakistan, where we can’t deploy. The fact that they’ve grown in power there is a result of Al Qaeda shifting resources back to the fight there from Iraq, and their relative impunity in Pakistan’s tribal regions. Their forays back into Afghanistan will be met with a strong Coalition response, and I highly doubt they will be able to hold ground in Afghanistan for any extended period of time.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
What matters now is the Iraqis winning the political war, and this is a big step in the right direction on that.
Absolutely right. After the Saddam regime was deposed, it was all political. Our role since then has been training and security operations, with the goal of creating space for the political battle.
That all being said, I think you and Ezra discount too much the "cutting off the head" strategy that Israel has taken to.
Oh, it certainly has beneficial effects — especially when operational leaders are taken out, instead of famous leaders. No argument there.
First of all, the Taliban is stronger now than it has been since December 2001.
LOL! I need to do a post on this one day. It comes up about every six months. The Taliban is back! Yeah, well, the white separatists militias control large segments of the US, too. They do, because nobody else is there. Every once in a while, the Taliban will surge out from the mountains and make some noise. Unless you propose we play the mountain equivalent of urban warfare, there’s just not a lot we can do about that. Or that we want to do about it. You want to expend US lives to take back the empty hills of godforsakennowhere? Do you think we ought to pursue them into Pakistan? I mean, I’m all ears, but I haven’t heard a lot of Democrats advocating we invade Pakistan. But... Perhaps you’ll be the first. Be my guest.
As for getting bin Laden, the left is only holding Bush to his word. He said he was going to get him "dead or alive." So are you telling us that Bush was lying?
No, I would say he was wrong. But this is your chance to advocate the invasion of Pakistan. I’m all ears!
As for the new government ministers, what Jon omits is that their appointment coincided with the agreement to release thousands of detained Sunnis from Iraqi prisons, many of whom never had a charge leveled against them. Something tells me that more than a few of these guys will have some scores to settle. Many. I’m sure, will be more than happy to join the Sunni resistance and exact a little revenge.
Maybe so, maybe so. One bridge at a time. Meanwhile, it wasn’t too long ago that you were telling us that the ministries were irreversibly infiltrated and associated with the militias. Now, a Sunni and a Kurd are in charge of major ministries, and a Shiite who is unassociated with the militias is in charge of the Interior Ministry.

I’ve no idea how this will turn out, but you don’t seem to have a good predictive record yourself.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
The Taliban’s power is also largely in Pakistan, where we can’t deploy

G.W. Bush, January 29, 2002 State of the Union:
Pakistan is now cracking down on terror, and I admire the strong leadership of President Musharraf. But some governments will be timid in the face of terror. And make no mistake about it: If they do not act, America will.

Rhetoric, meet Reality.

Congratulations to the American armed forces who killed Zarqawi. It may not change the world, but it sure changed his day.
 
Written By: Pug
URL: http://
LOL! I need to do a post on this one day. It comes up about every six months. The Taliban is back! Yeah, well, the white separatists militias control large segments of the US, too. They do, because nobody else is there. Every once in a while, the Taliban will surge out from the mountains and make some noise.
From those wild-eyed lefties at The Economist, dated today:
ACROSS a wide swathe of southern and south-eastern Afghanistan, the Taliban have never looked stronger since they were driven from power by an American-backed alliance in November 2001. And the government of President Hamid Karzai has never looked weaker, controlling only the towns and, during daylight hours, the main roads. The Taliban are not in a position to unseat the government and win the war; not while Western troops remain. Last February, however, General Michael Maples, director of America’s Defence Intelligence Agency, told Congress that the Taliban insurgency is growing and presents a greater threat to the Afghan central government’s authority than at any point since America’s victory.
Jon v. the head of DIA. Hmmm. Wonder who is correct.
Maybe so, maybe so. One bridge at a time. Meanwhile, it wasn’t too long ago that you were telling us that the ministries were irreversibly infiltrated and associated with the militias. Now, a Sunni and a Kurd are in charge of major ministries, and a Shiite who is unassociated with the militias is in charge of the Interior Ministry.

I’ve no idea how this will turn out, but you don’t seem to have a good predictive record yourself.
Nice try. Of course, I predicted sectarian strife would envelop Iraq even before the war began. It was my principal reason for being against the war. And, of course, installing a Shiite unassociated with the militias does not magically un-infect the ministries of their militia ties. One would think this wouldn’t need to explained, given how obvious it is. After all, the Iraqi government could put McQ in charge of the interior ministry, it wouldn’t make the ministry any less tainted.

As I explained previously, the dilemma here is that if the government were to install someeone without some leverage over and ties to the militias at the head of the ministry (as seems to be the case), he wouldn’t have enough clout to effect change. I simply do not see how in the world the new guy is going to be able to root out death squads. What’s he going to do? Fire them? Ha ha ha ha ha ha.

But hey - the world needs cock-eyed optimists. Keep up the good work, Jon.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
But hey - the world needs cock-eyed optimists.
Well, I think it’s safe to say that your side is pretty weak on supplying optimists of any stripe, cock-eyed or otherwise.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Osama bin Laden, The Cave Dweller might just be less dangerous than Osama bin Laden, The Martyr.

No.

The Cave Dweller set Zarqawi onto his killing spree in Iraq and the Cave Dweller will assist the next leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq. The Cave Dweller has very good connections with the pillars of Saudi money. As the Cave Dweller he is a figurehead who has good connections and gets stuff done. As a The Martyr all he can be is a figurehead.

Furthermore when he dies (he is an old and sick man) he will become "the Martyr" anyways. Dying will not make Osama bin Laden (the worlds greatest terrorist, the instigator of 911, the enemy of America, the liberator of Afghanistan) any more notorious in death. He is a martyr when he dies either way. Either he dies at the hands of America as testament to the strength of America or he dies of old age fighting America till the last when God takes him. Either he will be a martyr who fell to his enemies or a martyr who was too clever and resourceful for his enemies to catch.
 
Written By: Unaha-closp
URL: http://
I’m confused about something. Some on the left say that killing Zarqawi won’t have any impact because ten others will rise to take his place, or some such. Here’s a typical example:
This is a psychological lift, but reality remains terribly grim in Iraq. Al-Zarqawi’s killing doesn’t dent the insurgency reality.
Others, like John Kerry, say killing him means we can get of our Iraq right now, presumably because it had such a great impact that we’re finished:
Some Democrats renewed pressure on Bush to bring U.S. troops home by the end of the year. "Our troops have done their job in Iraq," said Massachusetts Democratic Sen. John Kerry.
Well, which is it? I wish those guys would make up their minds which anti-Bush line they’re going to take.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Well, I think it’s safe to say that your side is pretty weak on supplying optimists of any stripe, cock-eyed or otherwise.
George W. Bush is President. Was there ever a man more ill-equppied to fulfill the duties of Commander in Chief? If you are not pessimistic, you are not awake.

Someday, Billy, you will come to appreciate the disaster that is the Bush presidency. You will ask yourself: Why didn’t I speak out when I had the chance? How come I spent so much time criticizng those who disagreed with me politically, when the time could have been better spent trying to remedy the true problem? How could I have been so blind?

Some day. But until then, I will expect nothing less from you.

I know you expect "my side" to genuflect to Bush. Sorry, Billy, it aint gonna happen. The American people get it: The Iraq war was a mistake. Someday you will too.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
P.S.

Why aren’t we giving Sadr the same treatment? Can’t we get intelligence on where he is? I assume we can. So why aren’t we trying to kill Sadr from the air? After all, he is as much as a terrorist as anyone else. His militia has terrorized and tortured and killed hundreds and hundreds of Sunnis precisely and only because they are Sunnis. That is terrorism. So when do we get Sadr?

Why? Because Iraq is a joke. It’s godda** joke. Sadr’s death squads roam freely. They kill with impunity. And, yet, he is allowed to roam freely. He receives the protection of the Iraqi government. The same fu**ing government we are supporting.

Why haven’t we killed Sadr? If we killed Zarqawi, why haven’t we killed Sadr with a bomb?



 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Was there ever a man more ill-equppied to fulfill the duties of Commander in Chief?
President Carter.

Next.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
Was there ever a man more ill-equppied to fulfill the duties of Commander in Chief?
Well, obviously, Al Gore, and John Kerry...

If they had been, they would have been.
 
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://
Was there ever a man more ill-equppied to fulfill the duties of Commander in Chief?
President Carter.

Next.
Thanks, Mark. I was about to respond to mk, when I saw yours. Lots of folks prefer to forget about the "highest ranking useful idiot in American history", as I like to call him.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
. Osama bin Laden, The Cave Dweller might just be less dangerous than Osama bin Laden, The Martyr.
That’s possible. Highly doubtful IMO, but possible. However, Zarqawi the Cave Dweller was never a realistic option. It was either Zarqawi the mass murderer who keeps on mass murdering, or Zarqawi the dead guy. What we got was actually one better than that: Zarqawi the guy who got blown up mere weeks after urging Iraqi Sunnis to murder Iraqi Shi’ites indiscriminately, thereby precluding him from martyr status among all but the most hard-core Sunnis we never could have reached anyway.

As Scott Adams nicely put it, Zarqawi’s death was indeed a win-win-win-win.
 
Written By: Xrlq
URL: http://xrlq.com/
As Scott Adams nicely put it, Zarqawi’s death was indeed a win-win-win-win.
Yes, a win for anyone not allied with the terrorists. So you gotta wonder about anyone who isn’t happy about it...
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://

 
Add Your Comment
  NOTICE: While we don't wish to censor your thoughts, we do blacklist certain terms of profanity or obscenity. This is not to muzzle you, but to ensure that the blog remains work-safe for our readers. If you wish to use profanity, simply insert asterisks (*) where the vowels usually go. Your meaning will still be clear, but our readers will be able to view the blog without worrying that content monitoring will get them in trouble when reading it.
Comments for this entry are closed.
Name:
Email:
URL:
HTML Tools:
Bold Italic Blockquote Hyperlink
Comment:
   
 
Vicious Capitalism

Divider

Buy Dale's Book!
Slackernomics by Dale Franks

Divider

Divider