Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 08, 2006

Dead Bogeyman

So Zarqawi is now officially supposed to be dead.

As everybody will remember:

One internal briefing, produced by the U.S. military headquarters in Iraq, said that Kimmitt had concluded that, "The Zarqawi PSYOP program is the most successful information campaign to date."

According to the legend, Zarqawi was a member of Ansar al-Islam, a small terrorist group in the Kurdish north of Iraq. That group and its well known camp was never bothered by U.S. forces, who had control of the region.

The one-legged, later on two-legged Zarqawi was useful as a bogeyman and as the one presumed guilty for any and all attrocies in Iraq. There was no need to look elsewhere for evildoers, as everything could be put to his and his comrades name.

Any shepard captured or killed by U.S. forces was advertised to have been a Zarqawi operative, which prompted me to provide a make your own newsrelease for such  successes.

After it became obvious knowledge that Zarqawi was a psycholgical operation figure, the  endless stream of killed Zarqawi aids stopped flowing and, in May, for the first time a Zarqawi video appeared. It showed a hapless man who did not even know how to handle his weapon. The U.S. military, as obviously planed, made fun of him being so incapable.

But that campaign did not help anything either. So now it was time to finally bury him.

For Maleki and the occupation force, this success is urgently needed as the Iraqi cabinet is still incomplete is only just completed and the security situation is getting worse by the day.

What success is easier to get, than to burn a fictive agent who had become unusable for any other purpose anyhow?

But only the U.S. public will be fooled by this and only for a few news cycle.

For the Iraqis living in Iraq nothing has changed. The electricity will not be there, the water will not flow and the pointless killing will not stop.

Posted by b on June 8, 2006 at 07:25 AM | Permalink


This all presumes that he remains dead this time. It would be idiotic PR to kill off your primary antagonist too many times in a row when things get hot, but crying wolf is something these guys have proven pretty adept at.

Posted by: Monolycus | Jun 8, 2006 7:43:45 AM | 1

Emanuel Goldstein is dead. Long live Emanuel Goldstein!

Perhaps, in all actuality, Emanuel Goldstein's are a dime a dozen in the dark tomb of American sciamachy.

You know, the single-bullet theory, er , uh, I mean the lone gun-man codification.

you might also start learning about terms like "systems disruptions" and "open source warfare" and not just as academic exercises.

Good ol Arlen Specter (R-PA)—who was in charge of organizing an investigation into the


Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jun 8, 2006 8:07:42 AM | 2

A "giddy" session of Parliament", sounds like 'hyped up' PR to me - this from the Washington Post story:

Minutes after the Zarqawi's death was announced the long-debated interior, defense and national security posts were filled in a giddy session of parliament. Abdul Qadir Muhammed Jassim, a Sunni Arab and former Iraqi army commander, was named defense minister, Jawad al-Bolani, a Shiite, was put in charge of the interior ministry, and Sherwan Alwaeli, a Kurd, was named the country's top official for national security.

"I call on Iraq's various communities to take responsibility for bringing sectarian violence to an end, and for all Iraqis to unite behind Prime Minister Maliki," Khalilzad said.

Posted by: Rick Happ | Jun 8, 2006 8:27:22 AM | 3

Whatever about the Zarqawi myth, the fact that they killed this PR machine spin engine off and nominated two "key puppet" ministers, means that Maliki probably told Blair last week or so.

"Get those "special ops" Israelis outta here."

New developments in Kurdistan coming soon.

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Jun 8, 2006 9:00:21 AM | 4

Yawn . . .

Posted by: D | Jun 8, 2006 9:20:37 AM | 5

Exactly. It was the first thing I heard this morning [after some nice music] and I said to myself, "So what?"

Posted by: beq | Jun 8, 2006 9:30:07 AM | 6

I guess they've 'turned another corner' in Iraq. What's this, their fifth or sixth time around the block? I've lost count.

It does make me wonder if the Repubs might finally nab Binladen in order to assist with the November midterms; or if they'll save that 'victory' for a bigger domestic PR emergency.

Posted by: gylangirl | Jun 8, 2006 9:48:13 AM | 7

At any rate, it got the journalists literally cheering again instead of asking rude questions about Marines' 'ethics'.

Posted by: gylangirl | Jun 8, 2006 9:49:57 AM | 8

Speaking of ethics. More on Watada with a link to thank him at the bottom.

Posted by: beq | Jun 8, 2006 9:54:55 AM | 9

I guess the warfloggers are doing their customary premature and unwarranted victory dances about now. Morons.

Posted by: ran | Jun 8, 2006 11:24:37 AM | 10

Warfloggers indeed, but I would argue not morons. My great fear is that since we have crossed the rubicon Lil nero caesar wearing his 'dark ero's crown has moved his Bishop and can't it move it back. Nabokov once said, the Bishop was a metaphor for a search light, (read: Business For Carlyle) whereas the Knight was "a lever adjusted and tried, and readjusted and tried again," (think Iran, total war, full-spectrum dominence at home and abroad). All the while, they have no choice but to go for broke. Making the pile higher is their moto. Because they know they face Queen Beatrix of the hague if they blink. And they will take us all down with them in their ideological tale of arrogance, hubris and greed.

The Wolf And The Lamb

WOLF, meeting with a Lamb astray from the fold, resolved not to lay violent hands on him, but to find some plea to justify to the Lamb the Wolf's right to eat him. He thus addressed him: "Sirrah, last year you grossly insulted me." "Indeed," bleated the Lamb in a mournful tone of voice, "I was not then born." Then said the Wolf, "You feed in my pasture." "No, good sir," replied the Lamb, "I have not yet tasted grass." Again said the Wolf, "You drink of my well." "No," exclaimed the Lamb, "I never yet drank water, for as yet my mother's milk is both food and drink to me." Upon which the Wolf seized him and ate him up, saying, "Well! I won't remain supperless, even though you refute every one of my imputations." The tyrant will always find a pretext for his tyranny.

And the most frightening move is yet to come. If they lose or if they win we lose.

Lear: Who is it that can tell me who I am? The Fool: Lear's shadow

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jun 8, 2006 12:27:13 PM | 11


Lear's shadow cont.

And what of us? The Seraph of Sorrows...Kali's revenge?

The Fourth turning.

From a review:

The fourth turning prediction suggests a final abandon of futurist promises of social security, Medicare, and elder benefits. These New Deal projects will lie in the dust bins of history. Today's advice is to prepare for both economic and political upheaval. The federal government will need to simplify and reduce, size and scope. All levels of government need to prune legal, regulatory, and professional thickets that stymie institutional change. Government needs to thin out procedural requirements that could delay or weaken emergence measures in a crisis. Communities should improve their own functional support for schools, housing infrastructure (sewer,power,water,roads), transportation, safety, justice, social service from their own local resources and stop depending upon federal fund assistance. Personal responsibility for the future health care and income means people, today, should begin to save intensely. The saving must be signficant increase reaching 20-25 percent of their incomes. The author believes a consumption tax will benefit the middle class. A consumption tax would not tax income creating a wealth creation sphere. However, money is not the only solution. Bottomline, the family will be the ultimate safety net against disaster because of its never infinite resource capability and flexibility.

The Dog And The Shadow

A DOG, crossing a bridge over a stream with a piece of flesh in his mouth, saw his own shadow in the water and took it for that of another Dog, with a piece of meat double his own in size. He immediately let go of his own, and fiercely attacked the other Dog to get his larger piece from him. He thus lost both: that which he grasped at in the water, because it was a shadow; and his own, because the stream swept it away.

Studying Gustaw Herling, has taught me lessons in hope. It very much reminds me of the following which I collected from my virtual travels, "The more I understand hope, the more I realize that all along it deserved to be in the box with the plagues, sorrow, and mischief; that it serves the needs of those in power as surely as belief in a distant heaven; that hope is really nothing more than a secular way of keeping us in line.

Hope is, in fact, a curse, a bane. I say this not only because of the lovely Buddhist saying "Hope and fear chase each other's tails," not only because hope leads us away from the present, away from who and where we are right now and toward some imaginary future state. I say this because of what hope is."

Sorry to be so myopic degeneration into madness, but I'm less than athird of the way into this book and..well, I drinks abit...

And [we] must have whiskey oh, you know why...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jun 8, 2006 1:15:22 PM | 12

"Zarqawi has always been dead. We have always been at war with al-Sadr."

Tony Snow, Press Briefing, October 25th 2006

Posted by: Rowan | Jun 8, 2006 1:33:46 PM | 13

Weird reaction

People started applauding and cheering. I hadn’t seen that kind of reaction since Saddam Hussein was captured and there was a similar spontaneous outpouring of excitement from the Iraqi press corps that was gathered.

Posted by: b | Jun 8, 2006 2:08:01 PM | 14

I would imagine that their cheering in Iran also -- perhaps twice, in conjunction with both the demise of Zarqawi and the interior appointment of Jawad al-Bolani.

Posted by: anna missed | Jun 8, 2006 2:23:05 PM | 15

Pat Lang's got a good post up on this.

Posted by: Groucho | Jun 8, 2006 2:23:40 PM | 16

There are some fishy facts about all this.

Khalilzad, the US ambassador in Iraq, was supposed to brief a Senate committee yesterday, June 7. That meeting was canceled which did resulted in a protest letter by some Dem senators released yesterday.

To cancel an appearance before a Senate committee one would suggest some lead time, especially when the person to brief was supposed to come from Iraq to Washington DC but never made an attempt to do so. I'd suggest some 24h lead time for this cancelation.

According to the news, Bush was informed of the "successful" bombing of Zarqawi yesterday evening 9:30 EST. That is then some 36h after the decision must have been taken to cancel the Senate briefing.

So when did they know of this "Zarqawi raid"? What was the timeline?

It does not look like urgent action was taken after some tip came in but like a careful planed and not-so-urgent operation.
Another weird thing. The video (wmf) of the bombing shows something big going off at a lone standing house within a palm grove. The pictures presented of the dead Zarqawi show a quite unhurt face. The rubble though looks serious.

Not many people have experience with bomb damage but I can tell you it is serious stuff that rips everything appart. This does not look like the bomb was on top of Zarqawi or whoever is pictured as dead here.

Maybe I am wrong her but I have some doubts that any of this is "real".

Posted by: b | Jun 8, 2006 2:50:06 PM | 17

Zarqawi came into his own, alive and with two legs, in the video of the ‘beheading’ of Nicholas Berg. Ever since then, he has had the misfortune to have an endless series of ‘senior aides’ who have been captured. Too many to count.

I guess figments become so real that at some point ppl have to believe they died! Just like regular people can do!

Posted by: Noisette | Jun 8, 2006 3:06:05 PM | 18

via Groucho Pat Lang

We Americans and our Israeli friends are obsessed with our own conception of what the mentality of people different from us ought to be. We can not deal with the reality of completely different and adversarial world views and mind sets. We account for systematic hostility toward adoption of our ways by attributing this "backwardness" to "bogey men" who from sheer evilness and perversity lead their fellows astray. Having done this, we then build them up in our minds and media as "supermen" whose elimination will end resistance to our "program" of "modernity."

Zarqawi was largely the creation of the collective American mind. In fact, he was the leader of less than 10% of the Iraqi insurgents. His people like to blow themselves up on "their way home." Will his pious madmen stop doing that now? We will see. Present thinking is that AQ in Iraq is now overwhelmingly Iraqi in its personnel.

The other 90% of the people in the Iraq insurgent groups are whatever they have always been.

Posted by: b | Jun 8, 2006 3:08:20 PM | 19

@ b #17

I have been doing exactly those same calculations about Khalilzad's cancelled appearance, ever since news of Zarqawi's death came across 12 hrs ago. Also wondering about the relatively unblemished face and the video of the crumbled site, knowing nothing of how 500 ton bombs explode. I wondered if maybe the unseen body looked bombed, just as the limbs of soldiers fly off in encounters with IEDs.

Well, at least, there won't be more stories about all the trouble perpetrated by al Zarqawi. It is possible that some group in Iraq insisted that the terror-bogeyman be "eliminated" in order to force a more real debate about the brutal situation that is Iraq? And that those in D.C. acquiesced, hoping, at least, to erase Haditha from the headlines?

Posted by: small coke | Jun 8, 2006 5:03:12 PM | 20

Rather than suspending disbelief of Zarqawi's existence or chasing one's tail down the rabbit-warren of a weird conspiracy by trying to rationalise the peculiar acts of sociopaths, it was more comfortable to suspend abhorrence of capital punishment in any form and go with the flow.

Of all the people responsible for the slaughter and mayhem in modern Mesopotamia; Zarqawi was the most elusive, but realistically he doesn't have the 'notches on his belt', than many who are far easier to 'track'.

Most of those responsible for the bloodbath appear in the media doing that weapons as a penis substitute routine far more frequently than Zarqawi.

In fact the wretched and tawdry glee with which some of these warmongerers 'celebrated' the destruction of that home with two projectiles each loaded with 500lb of high explosive would surely be sufficient to obtain a conviction in absentia from a hangin, fryin, taintin, or shootin, redneck jury.

So moments were spent applying lateral thinking to the problems associated with visiting retribution on the asses of those murderers who are currently protected by a phalanx of hired guns.

It didn't take long to come up with a couple of doozies and an unscrupulous corner of one's character, really wishes that they be implemented.

Not out of vengence, but as a deterrent to further slaughter.

It seems likely that many of these grinning butchers have convinced themselves of their safety, and it is this sense of 'untouchableness' which allows them sleep after a hard day of killing people.

Even if they whined self defence on the Zarqawi ogre and his hereforeto unknown 'spiritual advisor', that defence surely couldn't wash when it came to the ,downplayed in the media, deaths of the others, one of whom was a four year old girl.

Given the current sensitivity of 'colateral damage' and the reluctance with which their spokesman revealed details of the others who were blown apart, it is unlikely that these assassins fabricated the 'civilian' deaths.

One comment put the whole shabby routine in perspective.

That was when the english gutter-press tracked down the brother of a brit whose head had been allegedly sawed off by Zarqawi.

When asked 'how happy' the news of Zarqawi's demise made him feel, he commented that he didn't see any human's death as a cause for celebration.

Posted by: | Jun 8, 2006 6:32:33 PM | 21

I suppose it was with some reluctance (on part >of a part< of the administration) that the boogyman had to go. After all the Sunni resistance itself was gunning for him, and there is little doubt that it was some faction of the resistance that sold him out. Its a little disconcerting and illogical when your enemies friend turns out to share the same distain for the enemy as you. And givin that the U.S. administration desperatly needs such distinctions to remain clear -- for the purpose of propagandizing the conflict for its domestic audience -- this is a page that they will probably, in retrospect, wish they didnt have to turn. Because in so turning this page is to not only lose the iconography of "fighting al-Qaeda terrorism" in Iraq, but also re-casts the conflict in decidedly and in nationalistic Iraqi terms -- as opposed to international (terrorist) terms. Several things could result in such a shift, most notably, with the removal of Zarqawi and its apparant al-Queada agenda, a more potent pan-arab agenda could materalize to fill the vacume, money in other words from sources (Saudi) that would feel more comfortable in hedging the Shiite regional hegemony -- minus the (al-Queda) threat to their own regiems. The removal of Zarqawi also removes the barrier to Sunni-Shiite cooperation in the nationalistic struggle within Iraq in resistance to the occupation. Zarquawi, after all was the major impediment to the formation of a non-sectarian nationalistic identity to the resistance. Seems to me that the death of Zarqawi is an important development -- but not for the usual reasons or expectations.

Posted by: anna missed | Jun 9, 2006 5:48:31 AM | 22

There are two aspects to Zarqawi: actual terrorist/insurgent and US media bogeyman.

Most observers believe his actual contribution to the insurgency was limited, with the media puffing up his actual role to something approximating substantiality. Occasionally, someone will note that Zarqawi himself may have welcomed or encouraged this enhancement to his own reputation. Iraqis themselves, Sunnis and Shia alike, don't like foreigners creating trouble in their country and would quickly destroy their small numbers if the US weren't there. In this regard, his death is important only if he was the actual leader of the small percentage of foreign insurgents in Iraq so that his death will affect their recruitment and effectiveness. My impression is that he was not that important.

As Zarqaqi the Spectre for the Blankleys and Krauthammers to flog to whip up the war frenzy, he had some marketing value, at least for a while. Advertising Rule #1 for marketers is to personalize the product for your target audience. Joe Camel, Marlboro Man, Lee Iococca, Brittany Spears, the GEICO gecko, etc, etc. They even market sports teams with individual players or coaches thought to be telegenic or colorful enough to get attention. And they have personalized the crisis with Iran for us by turning President Ah. into Hitler; so much easier to market hate with one villian than a motley collection of anonymous mullahs. Zarqawi? Well, frankly, his ratings these past few months had fallen off sharply. Time to cancel his show. Nothing is lost, though; bogeymen are easy to create. I look for the US to role out a new, improved Zarqawi - even more terrifying than the original model. September would be a good time.

Smoke, mirrors and fog machines. Except for Zarqawi himself, nothing has changed.

Posted by: lonesomeG | Jun 9, 2006 8:54:08 AM | 23

Damn. Just read Billmon's latest on Zarqawi. I'm late as usual.

Posted by: lonesomeG | Jun 9, 2006 10:07:18 AM | 24

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