I woke up today to the news of Zarqawi's death.
This is the best day of its kind since the announcement of Saddam's capture. And it does not seem this time as though reports of Zarqawi's death have been greatly exaggerated; this appears to be the real deal at last.
There's an especially interesting roundup of views at Pajamas Media. Note particularly the ones from Iraqi bloggers. And please contrast their attitude with Dr. Sanity's compendium of views on the left, fine exemplars of the art of the "yes, but...".
The NY Times reports an interesting incident of Tony Snow's prescience:
As news that United States forces had killed the most wanted terrorist in Iraq began to spread through the American security apparatus late Wednesday afternoon, President Bush and his top advisers were meeting in the White House with congressional leaders, who were nervous about continued trouble in Iraq.
"What you really need to do," Representative Ray LaHood of Illinois told the president, "is go get Zarqawi," according to an account by the White House press secretary, Tony Snow, who was at the meeting.
"I said 'Yeah, we'll just order that up right now,' " Mr. Snow recalled in an interview this morning.
Minutes after that exchange, at 3:45 p.m., the national security adviser, Stephen J. Hadley, left the room in response to a Blackberry message to call the American ambassador to Iraq in Baghdad, Zalmay Khalilzad.
"We think we have Zarqawi," Mr. Khalilzad told him.
Was Zarqawi the source of all evil in Iraq? No. Will his death make the insurgency go away? Not a chance. But it's another victory on the long slow and arduous road to some sort of functioning and democratic government in Iraq, and a message to others of his ilk as to what fate awaits them. And, if the Iraqi bloggers are any indication, a cause for ordinary Iraqis to rejoice.
Celebration at the death of an evildoer--and if there was a clearer example of an evildoer than Zarqawi on the face of this earth I can't quite think of one at the moment--is a tricky phenomenon. Zarqawi was human, of that I am certain. As a human being, he deserves some sort of respect. But a long time ago he forfeited the right to be mourned in the usual way, and it is appropriate to be glad of the fact that he is no longer among us to inspire whomever it might be who found his particular brand of sociopathic thuggery impressive and charismatic.
For a sociopathic thug he almost undoubtedly was, with roots in garden-variety criminality, writ large over time through political opportunity and positioning so that he could work his evil on a vaster scale than most ordinary psychopaths. If we or anyone else shed a tear for Zarqawi, it should be for the fact that a human being can become so corrupted and lost, so brutal and bereft of humanity, that his death would cause such universal and justifiable rejoicing.
Who turned him in? He certainly didn't lack enemies, including those in Jordan angered by his killing his own, like a rabid dog. The twenty-five million dollar reward probably sweetened the pot.
But celebration is clearly in order today, so sing it high, sing it low.