A Note on the Death of Abu Museb Al-Zarqaawi

One aspect of the recent spectacular bombing death of alleged Iraqi terror leader Abu Al-Zarqaawi has thus far passed without comment. This sad fact is yet another indication of the conditioned tolerance we have absorbed regarding the ongoing killing of innocent civilians there.

We are told that along with the alleged u201CMr. Bigu201D of Iraqi terror, his u201Cspiritual advisoru201D (who led the U.S. to him) was killed as well as a yet unidentified u201Cwoman and child.u201D The supposed spiritual advisor has not been labeled a terrorist and no one has commented on whether his death was in fact justified. As for the woman and child, no one has identified them either (at least in the western press to date).

For the sake of argument let's assume Al-Zarqaawi was indeed as evil as he is portrayed. I have no evidence to the contrary.

Let us again suppose that he was a ruthless serial killer of Americans here in the U.S., and that law enforcement trapped him in a remote house in a California date palm orchard along with his minister and an unknown u201Cwoman and child.u201D And that they were all surrounded by law enforcement (as was Al-Zarqaawi in Iraq surrounded by U.S. and Iraqi military).

Would we not be horrified and outraged to learn that instead of waiting out a surrender or at least offering to wait until the hostages/innocents could be safely extricated, that the U.S. government decided to drop two 500 lb. bombs on this surrounded house? Killing everyone inside instantly, except for Mr. Big, who somehow survived a bit longer?

Even the worst serial killer would not have been u201Ccapturedu201D in a way that killed three other people, at least two of whom seem to be mere victims of bad circumstance. While there have been notable exceptions (the Branch Davidians, the Philadelphia MOVE group) law enforcement doesn't normally ignore the presence of others, hostages or innocents, even to capture the worst criminals. And with the Davidians and MOVE, they were offered a chance to surrender and bombing wasn't the first thing done.

Yet in Iraq the killing of women and children is totally ignored so long as u201CMr. Bigu201D is killed. The valuable intelligence and even propaganda value of capturing this guy was totally ignored in the rush to bomb him into oblivion, along with anyone else in a 100-yard radius.

The horrific element here is that unlike incidents involving Marines revenge killing people hiding in their houses, no one even blinks at these other deaths. Not a single word of condemnation is uttered. We are conditioned to think that this savagery is normal, even expected, even laudable.

I recall at least one reported incident during the original invasion of Baghdad when a restaurant was bombed (u201Cprecision bombingu201D we are told) in a vain attempt to kill Saddam Hussein. Only later, after DNA tests on the shattered remains were conducted, did word filter out that Saddam wasn't even there, but that others were, including a 5-year-old girl. Not a peep of commentary about her senseless death. Just another statistic for the u201Ccollateral damageu201D tally.

So the rule has been, and is, that the U.S. forces can kill anyone and everyone, no matter how young or old, if they happen to be unlucky enough to end up where some U.S. mission planner thinks a valuable target is located. Bombs away!

These innocent children (and others) are killed as a matter of policy. We are supposed to cheer (or moan) depending on whether the particular Mr. Bigs are actually killed, but as for the rest, well, they are as insects on the ground. Sometimes blood money is paid out by military u201Ccivil affairsu201D officers to grieving families, sometimes not.

Yet we are bombarded with war propaganda about children going to newly re-opened Iraqi schools and grimy looking Iraqi kids getting inoculations by military medics. All hail democracy! It's for the children!

Iraqi parents just have to hope that their little Iraqi loved ones don't happen to end up underneath one of those precision guided laser bombsights of democracy… To America, those deaths don't count, aren't even acknowledged, much less condemned. They are just somebody else's children who got in our way. To George Bush's Wehrmacht, those kids don't even exist.

Yet some continue to wonder why they hate us. Why the endless Iraqi carnage drags on. Why after one Mr. Big is taken out, a dozen more take his place. And why by all sides, children and innocents are killed without giving it a second thought.

June 12, 2006