Zarqawi Killed - Will It Make A Difference?

WaPo story

To answer my own question, No. If killing Uday and Qusay, and capturing Saddam, both only proved to be bumps in the road to chaos, why should this be any different?

The main thing going on right now in Iraq is Sunnis and Shi’ites killing each other by the dozens. Zarqawi’s death isn’t going to make Sunni and Shia all lovey-dovey. There’s a low-to-mid-level civil war going on that had nothing to do with Zarqawi, and unfortunately it’s just as likely to keep on gathering steam without him as with him.

IMHO, his role has long been magnified by all parties in the war. The US’ motivation has been to identify Iraq as part of the GWoT. The Shi’ites in the government want to (a) go along with their American patrons, and (b) not be overtly anti-Sunni, because we wouldn’t like that. And the Sunnis want someone to point to and say, “Hey, it isn’t us that’s doing this.”

The one bleak hope I have is that, once the removal of the Zarqawi red herring has proved to make no difference, his absence might force the warring parties to acknowledge the true nature of the Iraq conflict, and address it head on. It’s not the way to bet, but at least it’s a hope.

Of course it’ll make a difference, just as the capture of Saddam and the death of his spawn made a difference. But if you’re measuring all progress by, whether it’ll make Iraq a place lions graze alongside sheep and love and free sex is practised in parks of central Bagdad, then of course no matter what happens you’ll always be able to declare it a failure.

Nope. The violence and so forth is due to the conditions in Iraq and the way the various factions think/feel/believe, not due to some cackling terrorist mastermind.

Yes, it made things worse.

Yes absolutely, Iraq, and especially the victims of their many crimes, would have been such a better with Saddam Hussein and his two devil spawn running around stirring up trouble, just like the world benefits immensely with having Osama bin Laden sitting in his cave sending out weekly bullentins.


It will make about as much difference as the 473 times the US has captured the #2 man in al Qaeda. Getting bin Laden himself would not make appreciable difference. One leader falls, another takes his place. Would the US have given up in WW II if Eisenhower had been killed? Of course not. Guys like Zarqawu and bin Laden were created by terrorism, not the other way around.

If you gave the Iraqi’s a choice, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they considered life under Saddam better.

You also seem to equate “a difference” with “total victory”. No the US wouldn’t have given up if Eisenhower had been killed. But presumable it would have had some negative consequences for the immediate war effort, some negative consequences for the morale of US troops and the US population, some boost for the morale of enemy troops and nations. etc. As can be expected with the death of Zarqawi.

Why ? He’ll just be another martyr; if anything his death will spur his collegues on. Why lose heart when you are winning ?

What I want to know is, who gets the X million dollars I saw advertised for his head?

Well, I can’t exactly say that killing Zarqawi and his aids is a BAD thing. He declared himself and enemy of the United States in a war zone. There’s generally few less-safe things to do than that.

But as for the effect this will have? Well, I know GD tends to be about choosing sides and swinging let me ring forth with: I dunno. And I doubt anyone else does as well.

We don’t know to what extent he was personally managing operations in Iraq and what sort of independence his subordinates had. We also don’t know who’s going to step up to the plate. AND we’re uncertain who these ‘seven aides’ were who were killed along with him.

So is it a net plus? Sure. Will it slow things down? Who knows?

It was the military that did it, so the answer is “nobody”. Either that, or Haliburton.

The thing about terrorist insurgency cells is that they’re a lot less dependent on a centralized command structure than conventional forces. The cells are already more or less independent (and some of them had nothing to do with Zarqawi whatsoever, in fact some probably hated the guy more than we did), so this won’t have an effect on them logistically. Terrorist leaders are to an extent only figureheads and cheerleaders.

The Eisenhower analogy is flawed. The Allied war effort was much more connected to and dependent on Eisenhower than the insurgency was to Zarqawi. A closer paraell would be if they took out Bob Hope and John Wayne. Yeah, it’d be a bit demoralizing, but not inherently damaging to the war effort itself.

I’m a lot less interested in if they killed Zarqawi than how many weapons and explosives they took with him.

You can’t fight a terrorism by decapitation strikes. They’re too decentralized. You have to kill all the terrorist while removing the conditions that inspire people to become terrorists. We’re botching the second point badly.

IIRC, someone tipped off the military. Likely they’ll get the money if anyone does.

As for this making a difference? Sure. War’s over. Mission accomplished. Cue the banner and aircraft carrier. Get the president his sock.

Sorry about that. Too much watching of the news. Makes me a bit cranky.

This isn’t going to change a whole lot. I’d think there may be an upswing in violence against troops as Al Qaeda will want to prove that they aren’t done. After that, back to the same old. Things won’t really change in Iraq until the Iraqi government gets stronger and the Iraqi people have faith that it can get things done.

Of course, it will make the pro war and pro Bush cheerleaders simply unbearable for quite some time.

It will probably prolong the war. The object of the invasion being to kill Arabs, as with every other death of an Arab, this one is a victory and will reassure the folks back home that the US is getting good at meeting its purpose in Iraq.

It is certainly a good thing that he was killed. I only wish that prior to his death he could have known the kind of pain and fear that he caused in the people who he beheaded.

At this point, it seems unlikely that it will make much difference in the larger picture, in terms of the ongoing violence. We’ve probably created far more people willing to fight against us or join in terrorist activities than would be deterred from such behavior by Zarqawi’s death.

It also is a matter of being a day late and a dollar short for the Bush administration. Those who want to support him and to save face personally will give him kudos. Perhaps they would be deserved if Bush had taken Zarqawi out when they had the chance, long before the start of all this shit. Zarqawi would then not have been able to develop the power and status that he did, or lead whatever movement he has. Was is worth it, their apparent political calculation that he should have been left alive back then?

Considering that it wasn’t just Zarqawi that was killed but several of his associates and his spiritual advisor, the infrastructure of the insurgency might well have been delivered a severe blow. Communications between cells and the flow of munitions and money could well have been severely interupted.

I don’t expect an immediate let up in the insurgency since the various front line cells are already equiped, but it wouldn’t surprise me if we see a difference several months down the road.

The ever-reliable Juan Cole comments:

Kinda like how the cocaine supply dried up a few months after Pablo Escobar was killed.

And that is one of the more positive aspects of it. Because apparently the strike that made pig fodder of the old terrorist was a joint Iraqi and US operation. The Iraqi troops that was part of it, will come out of this stronger and more self-confident. And it will strengthen, however slightly, the Iraqi civilians faith in the system. Of course, it’ll also have some positive influence on the morale of the US military involved in the action.

And yes, it will have some positive effect on the US public morale.

Gotta hand it to you guys. You make Ann Coulter sound quite moderate and sane by comparison.

The ironic thing is, that it is many of the same persons that belittle this terrorists end, that at other times will say that Bush’s greatest fault is that he hasn’t been able to catch Bin Laden. Well Zarqawi was an evil man. And the world is a little bit better place today than yesterday, because today he is dead.