By now we’ve all heard the news concerning the death of Zarqawi. I’m a little conflicted about how I should feel about it”¦or rather, how I should feel about the implications it presents for the further effort in Iraq.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m as glad as the next guy that they killed the trouser-snake, but I’m not real sure if this hurts or helps us. I suppose that pretty much depends on how al Qaeda functions.
If, for instance, al Qaeda functions much like other militaristic hierarchical organizations, then killing this guy should have a noticeable effect on the war in Iraq. That is, if they operate much like our military then killing Zarqawi would be analogous to killing General John Abizaid. His death would throw the whole chain of command into an upheaval and leave all members quite vulnerable for a limited period of time. This would be a very good thing.
On the other hand, if al Qaeda behaves more similarly to gangs or packs of dogs, then this death means very little, because there are most likely a small group of men already vying for the vacant position. Think of a group of bullies in a school-yard; if you make the head-bully sit in the hall for roughhousing then the gang doesn’t fall apart. His best friend, the second most sadistic personality in the group, simply takes over and continues kicking the nerds in the nuts and pulling the girls hair as soon as the initial leader leaves the playground.
In my mind there are only two ways we’ll ever truly defeat al Qaeda:
1) We completely dismiss them no matter what they do and go about our business. This is how you beat any trouble-maker. In the end all they want is attention; take that away and they have no purpose in life. Unfortunately, they like to kill large masses of people to get attention, so that’s gonna be a problem for us. Ignoring IEDs is pretty hard.
2) Completely and utterly annihilate the Middle East. I’m talkin’ about just reducin’ the whole area to a crystallized layer of glass, causalities be dammed. Because if al Qaeda does operate like a gang, then just like decapitating the Hydra every time we kill one of their top operatives another one will appear. And unlike the Hydra the new guy will undoubtedly use the death of his predecessor as the impetus with which to rally his troops. (Hydras are kinda dumb)
Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m not completely comfortable with committing genocide. I”˜d probably have indigestion for, like, a week or so. I’m also not ready to just sit around waiting for al Qaeda to get bored with killing our civilians.
Somehow we gotta get al Qaeda fighting with someone else besides us, but to do that we first need to remove ourselves from the forefront of their vision. Let’s spend the next six months aggressively fighting the insurgency, all the while telling the Iraqis that we’re leaving at the end of six months. At the end of those six months we pull out quickly and efficiently, while simultaneously publicly reporting that the Iraqi government is just as kick-ass and democratic as the U.S.
By the time we leave we’ll have stirred up al Qaeda like a nest of hornets and they’ll be ready to fight anyone with a uniform. And who’ll they see with uniforms? That’s right”¦the Iraqis. Hopefully after a few months of machine gun fire and dirty bombs the al Qaeda guys will have forgotten all about us, allowing our culture to return to our national pastime of getting and spending. After several more months all the gung-ho a-holes will have killed each other off, leaving us with the perfect opportunity to introduce the remaining Iraqis to the wonders of Wal-Mart, Lowe’s, and Super-sized combo meals.
Who knows, in several decades we might find ourselves ordering totally cool imported movies from www.amazon.iq or listening to fresh tunes from www.itunes.iq.