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 still alive when the first U.S. and Iraqi forces arrived on the scene. This strikes me as a point of little importance, although I would like to think that, at least for a brief moment, Zarqawi knew what hit him.
But the journalists who participated in the press conference, apparently by satellite, seemed to think they were on the trail of a Cover-Up. I saw most of the press conference early this morning. News of Zarqawi’s brief survival immediately led to questions about whether he had been finished off by the troops, and whether our soldiers had tried to render first aid. At one point, a reporter asked whether the published photos of Zarqawi’s face had been Photoshopped to make them look more like Zarqawi. I don’t think Caldwell had any idea what the guy was talking about; he said Yes, we decided to clean up Zarqawi’s face before photographing him. This led to a follow-up question about whether the photos had been digitally enhanced.
At this and other points in the press conference, Gen. Caldwell had the look, I thought, of a normal person who wonders whether he has been transported into a world of lunatics. It seemed that some of the reporters, at least, thought they were on to another “scandal”–Zarqawi murdered by U.S. troops! In cold blood, as Jack Murtha likes to say.
I haven’t seen a video of the press conference on the web, but if anyone can send us a link to either audio or video of the press conference (not the later Fox interview), I’d like to put up an audio clip or two.
Blog of the Week TigerHawk as thoughts, too, on Zarqawi’s Undamaged Face.
PAUL adds. What’s that John Derek line from the Bogart film Knock On Any Door? “Live fast, die young, and leave a good looking corpse.”