Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's autopsy results are in! Guess what? The cause of death was getting hit with a giant fucking bomb! I think the military investigators probably used more medical and scientific lingo in their description, but I guess I am a little surprised they even bothered to do the autopsy. Although the fact that he was alive when we got to him was interesting, I wouldn't have given a crap if the cause of death was "additional ass kicking at the hands of coalition forces". Good riddance.
Conservatives cannot stop giving each other the virtual reach-around on this one though. I have heard cries from the neo-cons on how this event is equivalent to victory, and how this is a huge loss for Al Qaeda in Iraq. I think it's great anytime a terrorist goes down, but let's keep this in perspective here.
First of all, al-Zarqawi was not affiliated with the same Al Qaeda that ran planes into the World Trade Center. He didn't even start calling his radical Islamic movement Al Qaeda in Iraq until late in 2004. So those of you wanting to make a connection between Al Qaeda and Saddam with this information, need to consider the facts. The guy was a horrible terrorist and inspired a lot of people to kill US soldiers, but to think that this will in any way negatively impact the insurgency in Iraq is to ignore the larger picture here.
A lot of people are stuck in the mindset that we have used to fight wars in the past. In the past, if you killed a leader of an opposing country, it was an enormous deal. Terrorist organizations, as I keep reminding my neo-con friends, are not countries. They do not have governmental hierarchies. The organization of a terrorist group is much more horizontal than it is vertical, which is one of the reasons that terrorist groups are so tough to fight. You can kill really important people, and it will have very little impact because it's very difficulty to characterize the actual role and connections that individuals within terrorist organizations have, how decisions are made etc.
Before we go making bold proclaimations about the impact this will have on global terrorism or even terrorism in Iraq, we should consider that we're not dealing with a conventional leader of a conventional country. al-Zarqawi's death may in fact have the polarizing effect of increasing and inspring more terrorist violence. Only time will tell.
The death of al-Zarqawi was a good thing for Iraq, but let's be careful not to overstate the significance of it in the grand scheme of things, particularly using it as a metric for success in war, when there really isn't ever success in an operation where people are losing their lives.