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June 9, 2006
The Famous Last Words No One Heard

So Abu Musab al-Zarqawi didn't die instantly from the bombing of his safe house in Baquba two days ago, as it turns out. He lived long enough to know who killed him:

Major-General Bill Caldwell said that he had learnt early yesterday that al-Zarqawi had survived the initial airstrikes on his two-floor breeze-block hideout.

“We did, in fact, see him alive,” General Caldwell said. “He mumbled something but it was indistinguishable and it was very short.”

US medics tried to save the life of the most-wanted man in Iraq, but it was too late, General Caldwell added. “Zarqawi attempted to sort of turn away off the stretcher,” he said. “Everybody resecured him back on to the stretcher but he died almost immediately from the wounds he’d received.

“He obviously had some kind of visual recognition of who they were because he attempted to roll off the stretcher, as I am told, and get away, realising it was the US military.”

I couldn't blog about this earlier, but I did hear the press conference that General Caldwell held to discuss Zarqawi's death. I predicted that someone would ask about whether the Americans had finished him off with a coup de grace, and almost as the words left my lips one of the reporters asked if Zarqawi had any bullet wounds. Caldwell seemed nonplussed at this question at first, but eventually stated that as far as he knew, Zarqawi had no wounds that would have been caused by a bullet.

What if he had? What if Zarqawi had still been somewhat conscious when the Iraqis and Americans first discovered him? He had long bragged that he would not be captured and had told associates that he traveled with a suicide belt or vest (one such vest was found in the rubble) in order to kill anyone who tried to arrest him. Under those circumstances -- and given that the commander had ordered the mission to fire on his position instead of knocking on his door -- I would have preferred one dead Zarqawi to three or four dead American or Iraqi soldiers.

I must admit that my one regret on hearing the news early yesterday morning was the assumption that Zarqawi went so quickly as to be ignorant as to who engineered his exit. From Caldwell's description, that appears to have not been the case. With the brutal methods he personally used on his victims, he should count himself lucky to have left this mortal coil with his head still attached to his body.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at June 9, 2006 8:04 PM

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» We Got Him!! from The Sundries Shack
Yes. Yes! YES!! BAGHDAD, June 8 –Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the mastermind behind hundreds of bombings, kidnappings and beheadings in Iraq, was killed Wednesday evening by an air strike northwest of Baghdad, U.S. and Iraqi officials said Thursday. ... [Read More]

Tracked on June 9, 2006 11:13 PM

» Zarqawigate? from Sister Toldjah
Just when you think the press couldn’t get any more absurd. Read this from John at Powerline: General William Caldwell told a press conference this morning that Musab al-Zarqawi survived the bombing of this safe house, at least briefly, and was ... [Read More]

Tracked on June 10, 2006 7:58 AM

» Our Victory Against Al-Qaeda from Flopping Aces
Just when I think I have seen every despicable tactic by the left comes another uppercut to America. Now the left and their cohorts, the MSM, have decided our troops would risk their careers, their lives, everything just to beat Zarqawi to death. Thes... [Read More]

Tracked on June 10, 2006 8:54 PM


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