Friday, June 09, 2006
al-Zarqawi From A Historical Perspective
Much has been made over the past day or so about the death of the #1 terrorist in Iraq, the Waste Of Skin And Breathable Air also known as al-Zarqawi. Some corners of the blogosphere were in a celebratory mood, others - highlighted best by the Daily Kos - sported a tone that was so glum you'd think they were in mourning.
Lets face some facts here. al-Zarqawi was little more than an Islamofascist Murdering Thug bent on killing as many American and Coalition forces as possible. He did not care how many Iraqi's paid the price for his blood lust. He killed indiscriminately men, women, and children - all to further his agenda of barbarism and chaos.
Some are trying to elevate him as a martyr. Others claim his death will not do much to stem the violence that is a daily part of life in the Land of Sand. What cannot be argued is the fact the terrorists have lost a leader - the face of their "organization".
The band of Islamofascist Murdering Thugs is little more than a loosely knit gang. There are plenty of them that are willing to execute the plans put forth by their leadership. That bench is pretty deep. What they do not have a lot of is leadership. Smart people don't usually associate themselves with people willing to strap on a C-4 laden vest and blow themselves up. I submit the bench players available to replace al-Zarqawi is pretty thin. Perhaps I am wrong. Time will tell.
History teaches us that decapitating an enemy force is a very traumatic event to that force. Back in 1943, intelligence information indicated the architect of Pearl Harbor, Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto would be traveling via airborne convoy from a specific time and place. The US Army Air Corps undertook the longest fighter intercept mission of the war, sending 18 P-38's (the finest fighter plane ever manufactured by the US according to my High School history teacher) some 430 miles to intercept Yamamoto's plane. The mission was successful, and Japan's Navy was effectively decapitated. The blow to Japanese confidence was one from which they never recovered.
Both Yamamoto and al-Zarqawi were killed by the effective use of actionable intelligence. An enemy moves and acts with far less confidence with it believes someone is watching, plotting, and planning their demise. Second guessing leads to mistakes, mistakes lead to leaks, and leaks lead to bombs crashing through the ceiling.
Someone will rise to take al-Zarqawi's place, but in the back of his mind will always be the question of when a 500 pound bomb with his name on it will come crashing down and ruin his whole day.
Here endeth the lesson.