Just so you don’t get me wrong, Zarqawi killed in bombing raid is really good news as far as I am concerned.
But before we get too carried away we should think about the forty years he spent on this planet and what he actually did, as well as what he actually meant. The Wikipedia article Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is as good a starting point as any.
Was he a product of the War on Terror, rather than a pre-existing agent against whom the War was declared? There is no doubting the misery he heaped on the Iraqi people of course.
There is a fascinating speculation at the end of the Wikipedia article:
A day before Zarqawi was killed, a U.S. strategic analysis site  suggested that Zarqawi could have lost the trust of al-Qaeda due to his anti-Shia stance and the massacres of civilians allegedly committed in his name. In the afternoon of June 8, the day after Zarqawi’s death, American ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalizad stated that he did not foresee a payout of the 25 million dollar bounty on Zarqawi’s head because the decisive information on his whereabouts came from “al-Qaeda in Iraq” operatives already in U.S. custody. It remains to be seen if this was a genuine analysis or merely information warfare played by the U.S., already informed about Zarqawi’s whereabouts, to divide the enemy and stress alleged ties between al-Qaeda and the Iranian regime.
Just what in the long run Zarqawi’s death means remains to be seen.
* See also Zarqawi Killed in Baquba on Juan Cole’s Informed Comment. Juan Cole is Professor of History at the University of Michigan; his site — “Thoughts on the Middle East, History, and Religion” — is excellent.
Meanwhile life no doubt goes on pretty much as Riverbend in Baghdad described it so vividly on 6 June 2006.
There’s an ethnic cleansing in progress and it’s impossible to deny. People are being killed according to their ID card. Extremists on both sides are making life impossible. Some of them work for ‘Zarqawi’, and the others work for the Iraqi Ministry of Interior. We hear about Shia being killed in the ‘Sunni triangle’ and corpses of Sunnis named ‘Omar’ (a Sunni name) arriving by the dozen at the Baghdad morgue. I never thought I’d actually miss the car bombs. At least a car bomb is indiscriminate. It doesn’t seek you out because you’re Sunni or Shia…
Emily Dickinson wrote, “hope is a thing with feathers”. If what she wrote is true, then hope has flown far–very far–from Iraq…