Sunday, May 07, 2006

Iraqi Targeted Killings Now Kill 9 Times More Than Suicide Bombs

In a depressing report in the L.A. Times today, correspondent Louise Roug says there are now nine times more people dying in Iraq from targeted killings than in suicide bombings. Most of the murders are sectarian in nature, with Sunnis killing Shiites and the Shiites taking revenge. She reports 3,472 violent deaths in Baghdad alone from January through March.

Many of the victims, Roug says, are "found hog-tied and shot execution style. Others were strangled, electrocuted, stabbed, garroted or hanged...Many bore signs of torture such as bruises, drill holes, burn marks, gouged eyes or severed limbs."

It seems clear that the goal of the vile Sunni terrorist leader, the Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, of a sectarian war that could spread beyond Iraq to many other countries in the Middle East is close to being realized. Roug lists a tremendous surge of murders since the bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra on Feb. 22.

Such a conflict could ultimately change the borders of the region, with Iraq being dismembered for starters, and Anglo-American forces being placed in even greater jeopardy.

Just yesterday, up to five British soldiers were killed when a helicopter was shot down over Basra. Four members of an Iraqi mob died, shot by British rescue units, when hundreds of local citizens gathered to celebrate the helicopter downing.

What can be done to stop or at least curtail the killings?

The Israeli experience may be instructive in this. Suicide bombings in Israel increased in 2002, but they have fallen off since, due to an Israeli policy of going after, not only the bombers themselves, but their leaders, the ones ultimately responsible for the attacks. The Israelis targeted the Hamas and Islamic Jihad seniors, and after many had been killed, the bombings dropped. Fortunately, the Holy Land has not yet been the scene of many sectarian murders.

Meanwhile, it seems clear in Iraq that killing al-Zarqawi has to be a first step in the effort to alter the downward spiral of events.

Killing him must be our priority, as is the killing of the al-Qaeda leadership now believed hiding in the mountains of Pakistan. No effort should be spared, no national boundaries honored, in doing this. Not until the organizers of the present orgy of killings are dead will any real progress be made.

Yes, there have been signs of discord in the ranks of the enemy, with al-Zarqawi emerging as a rival of Osama bin Laden. But that is not to say that both do not remain dangerous. Both must be removed.

With another CIA director, Porter Goss, biting the dust this past week, and reports of continued low morale and disorganization in the CIA, it is probably up to others, such as military intelligence, to find these sons of bitches, and exterminate them at any cost.

Our forces have sometimes been close to al-Zarqawi. Just last week, they seized outtakes of a video he made. That gives some hope we may be approaching the happy day when we find him and get rid of him.

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