Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Great. Now Let's Go Home

BAGHDAD — Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki announced Monday that two top insurgent leaders had been killed, including a somewhat mythic figure who has operated under the name Abu Omar al-Baghdadi. Mr. Baghdadi has been reported dead or detained several times previously, and his very existence had been called into question a few years ago by American military leaders.

How many "top Al Qaeda leaders" have been captured or killed since the the war in Iraq began? The list is as long as it's unimpressive. Is this somehow supposed to reassure us that we're making progress in Iraq? Are we to believe that these two guys, whoever they are, won't be replaced immediately by two more?

It reminds me of the constant trumpeting of the arrest of major Mexican or Colombian drug lords, who are replaced just as immediately, and the arrest of whom makes absolutely no difference in the vain attempt to halt the flow of drugs to Americans who want them.

Both men were found in a hole in the ground.
“The security forces surrounded the hole, and when they got them out they were dead,” Mr. Maliki said at the news conference. Mr. Maliki said computers and letters were found that included communication between the men and Osama bin Laden.
I'm curious to know why they were dead. Were they just shot to death in cold blood? If so, why weren't they captured alive and tried? 
To the casual observer, this might seem like progress. But if you follow the history, you'll realize that these captures are meaningless. They should be ignored, and they aren't leading to any real change in the underlying situation in Iraq, which is still a complete disaster.

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