Thursday, June 08, 2006
That said, Maj. Gen. Caldwell stated in the press conference broadcast about 0600 Pacific that among the dead in the house were a woman and a child. I am sorry that the child had to die, but it illustrates the evil of Zarqawi and his ilk that they shield themselves with innocents. As to the woman, I grieve for her to the extent that she was present in the house against her will. If she was a supporter of the terrorists, then she deserved what she got just as much as Zarqawi.
Gen. Caldwell said that actionable intelligence gathered at the Baqouba site led to 17 raids that have been carried out in the last 20 hours against other terrorists in Baghdad and elsewhere. The dominoes are falling.
I expect that, after the shock of Zarqawi's death has worn off, there will be a flurry of terrorist activity in Iraq, to demonstrate that the terrorists are still potent. But Zarqawi was the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq for a reason--he knew how to use terror in the most effective way, and evidently was expert at motivating his forces. It will be difficult for the enemy to replace someone with so much operational experience and boldness. It is to be hoped that it in fact will be impossible to do so.
The long term value here is that a "high value" target has been eliminated and, contrary to the myths propagated by the lamestream media, there is not an infinite pool of talent from which al-Qaeda can draw its leaders. Those remaining must be concerned for their own safety, especially now that so much information has been gleaned at the Zarqawi site and undoubtedly from the other 17 raids. The bad guys haven't been rolled up, but I suspect that they're experiencing arterial bleeding.