Thursday, September 29, 2005

Manufacturing Signs of Progress

At last a sign of progress in Iraq! The US has killed the second-in-command of al-Qaida in Iraq ... again. Bush trumpeted this success in a speech on Wednesday:
    "This guy was a brutal killer," Bush told reporters in remarks that were also carried live on cable TV. "He was one of [Abu Mussab al-] Zarqawi's top lieutenants. He was reported to be the top operational commander of Al Qaeda in Baghdad."

But, as lenin points out, we seem to have heard this one more than a few times before. Now even Newsweek has started to become suspicious.
    ... veteran counterterrorism analyst Evan Kohlmann said today there are ample reasons to question whether Abu Azzam was really the No. 2 figure in the Iraqi insurgency. He noted that U.S. officials have made similar claims about a string of purportedly high-ranking terrorist operatives who had been captured or killed in the past, even though these alleged successes made no discernible dent in the intensity of the insurgency.

    "If I had a nickel for every No. 2 and No. 3 they've arrested or killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, I'd be a millionaire."

    ...In January 2004, for example, the U.S. military announced the arrest in Fallajuh of Husam al-Yemeni, who was described in press accounts out of Baghdad as the '“right-hand man'” of Zarqawi. In November 2004, Iraqi officials announced they had arrested in Mosul a man named Abu Saaed, who was described by the Iraqi national-security adviser as Zarqawi's 'alleged lieutenant.'

    IRAQIS NAB TOP ZARQAWI AIDE read the headline on the Fox News Web site on Jan. 24, 2005, touting the arrest of yet another man, Sami Mohammed Ali Said al-Jaaf, also known as Abu Omar al-Kurdi...

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