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Abu-Musab-bin-taking-kickbacks-from-the-CIA-Zarqawi, in a desert somewhere...with a gun.
I really never knew that one's lower jaw could drop to the level of the midriff, but here I sit, dribbling on my toes, a living testimony to the capacity of the marvellous machine that is the human body to adapt to new data. Of course, it would be remiss of me not to thank the members of the Bush government for providing me with this experience and who have also provided me with a new appreciation for, and understanding of, the words 'lie' and 'blatant'.

Of course, I really should have seen it coming. With the recent reports of fine American soldiers summarily executing Iraqi children with a bullet (or several) to the head and what such acts suggest about the reality of 'operation Iraqi freedom', the US government was always going to have to pull something out of the bag. And we didn't have to wait long. Today, in an inspiring act of self-sacrifice, the Pentagon offered up one of its most valued assets - the phantom Islamic terrorist known as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Through this act, the U.S. government clearly hopes to convince the American people and the world that it really is fighting a 'war on terror' in Iraq against real 'terrorists', despite the fact that American troops have shown a proclivity for 'offing' Iraqi children and pregnant women rather than 'terrorists', (maybe they can't find any) and someone seems determined to embroil Iraqi civilians in an ethnic bloodbath.

As if this blatant and obvious manipulation were not enough, we now have to face ourselves into the nauseous backslapping and rhetoric as Bush and Co. play up this "victory" in the war on terror. For example, CNN reports:
Bush: U.S. forces 'delivered justice'

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the most recognizable face of Iraq's violent insurgency, died in a coalition airstrike near Baquba, authorities said today. U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad called al-Zarqawi "the godfather of sectarian killing and terror in Iraq." President Bush said, "Zarqawi has met his end and this violent man will never murder again."
Notice also that Bush, in true moron style, patronizingly informs us that when someone is dead, they can't murder anyone. What would we do without him. The real question here however is not whether or not Bush has a functioning brain, but whether "al-Zarqawi" has been doing anything other than decomposing for the past 2+ years, given that Iraqi militants claimed that he died in a US bombing raid sometime before March 2004.

In the above CNN report, the US ambassador to Iraq (is it possible to be an ambassador to a country that you own?) ascribes much of the sectarian killing in Iraq over the past two years to 'al Zarqawi'. But before we rush to reasonable and logical conclusions and assume that most car bombings and executions will now stop, Tony Blair wants us to know that "Zarqawi's death will not end the killing in Iraq" and that, "insurgents in Iraq will seek revenge for the killing of 'al Zarqawi' and will "fight back hard". Not much to celebrate then, which, I suppose, is only to be expected when you 'kill' a 'master terrorist' who has been dead for 2+ years.

That 'al Zarqawi' existed more or less in the lurid dreams of Donald Rumsfeld was backed up by American military intelligence agents in Iraq who reported in October 2004 that 'al-Zarqawi' was "more man than myth" and that his position as arch al-Qaeda terrorist in Iraq was essentially a creation of the Bush administration who wanted to "find a villain for the post-invasion mayhem."
US military intelligence agents in Iraq have revealed a series of botched and often tawdry dealings with unreliable sources who, in the words of one source, "told us what we wanted to hear".

"We were basically paying up to $10,000 a time to opportunists, criminals and chancers who passed off fiction and supposition about Zarqawi as cast-iron fact, making him out as the linchpin of just about every attack in Iraq," the agent said.

"Back home this stuff was gratefully received and formed the basis of policy decisions. We needed a villain, someone identifiable for the public to latch on to, and we got one."
There was also the very obviously fabricated February 2004 'letter' that was alleged, by the U.S. government, to be a communique from al-Zarqawi to Bin laden. Who can forget the stoicism of the Pentagon when it refused to reveal from whom it had obtained the 'letter' and the patriotism of Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt when he said: "the important thing is that we have this document in our hands, how it was found is not as important as the fact that we have it and that we can use it."

No doubt.

In the letter, Zarqawi conveniently took pre-emptive responsibility for the wave of sectarian attacks and shrine bombings in Iraq over the last 2 years. In the letter 'Zarqawi' 'wrote':
"We are striving urgently and racing against time to create companies of mujahidin that will repair to secure places and strive to reconnoiter the country, hunting the enemy -- Americans, police, and soldiers -- on the roads and lanes. We are continuing to train and multiply them. As for the Shi'a, we will hurt them, God willing, through martyrdom operations and car bombs."
In a tape released in April 2004 'al-Zarqawi' called on Iraqis to "burn the earth under the occupiers' feet." As yet no one has been able to explain the logic behind 'al Zarqawi's' plan to encourage Iraqis to join him in fighting American troops while at the same time attacking and killing Iraqis. It is also a mystery why 'al-Zarqawi' believes that attacking and killing Iraqi civilians is the best way to 'destroy the infidels'.

If we were in any way conspiratorially minded, we might suggest that 'al-Zarqawi' was simply a fictitious point man in a U.S. military psychological operation designed to hide the U.S. government's military and political policy in Iraq - but everyone knows 'conspiracies' do not exist. Long-standing American and British counter-insurgency tactics that amount to the same thing on the other hand...