Targeted assassinations and Zarqawi: he's really most sincerely dead
As Alan Dershowitz quite rightly points out (via Solomonia), the manner of Zarqawi's death is really no different from what is known as "targeted assassinations," often condemned when performed by Israel, and yet in the case of Zarqawi roundly applauded throughout the Western world.
Why the distinction? The Dershowitz piece is short and doesn't really attempt an analysis, except to say that the difference between the two acts appears to be that Israel can do no right in the eyes of many in the international community.
But, although I pretty much agree with Dershowitz that an enormous double standard is always applied to Israel, certainly the international community is not ordinarily in the habit of cutting the US much slack, either.
So I believe something additional is involved here, and that is the fact that Zarqawi was a terrorist whom even extreme leftists and Hamas apologists have had trouble wrapping their minds around. He resembled nothing more than the bogeyman, a figure of horrific brutality more appropriate to the nightmares of childhood.
And yet here he was, seeming to revel in his status as the biggest, baddest, meanest, most-sadistic sonofabitch in the world. With video to prove it. Only the furthest gone on the left (such as, unfortunately, Nicholas Berg's father; see here for a transcript and discussion of Berg's post-Zarqawi's death interview) can find empathy for Zarqawi himself.
The terrorist mastermind targets of Israel's bombs are for the most part faceless to most of us. Their propaganda machines are much slicker than Zarqawi's, and their profiles are much lower. Zarqawi made the error of getting most of the world to hate him with great passion. It's what he wanted, of course; but the consequence is that even most of those who condemn the same acts when committed by Israel can't find it in their hearts to condemn this one.
The form the condemnation takes is rather, a bunch of "yes, buts...", especially the idea that this killing won't help--that, like the proliferating broomsticks in "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" of Disney's "Fantasia" (another archtypical child's nightmare), striking down a terrorist only causes a thousand more to spring up in his place.
This is a statement of faith rather than a proven fact, but no matter; it makes good copy. My guess is that not too many have been inspired by the Z-man or the manner of his death, but I certainly cannot prove it.
But in news that has been somewhat overshadowed by Zarqawi's death, it is appears that only hours after the announcement a stalemate was broken and three appointees of the new Iraqi government were approved by its legislature. Austin Bay is paying attention, however, and he has an excellent roundup of the positive strategic implications of Zarqawi's death and of developments in the new government of that beleaguered country. These do not seem insignificant; please take a look.
So, once again: Ding-dong. He's really most sincerely dead.
[Mayor]: As Mayor of the Munchkin City,
In the County of the Land of Oz,
I welcome you most regally.
[Barrister]: But we've got to verify it legally, to see
[Mayor]: To see?
[Barrister]: If she
[Mayor]: If she?
[Barrister]: Is morally, ethic'lly
[Father No.1]: Spiritually, physically
[Father No. 2]: Positively, absolutely
[Munchkins]: Undeniably and reliably Dead
[Coroner]: As Coroner I must aver,
I thoroughly examined her.
And she's not only merely dead,
she's really most sincerely dead.
[Mayor]: Then this is a day of Independence
For all the Munchkins and their descendants...