Our friend Tom Bevan of Real Clear Politics wrote to point out this excellent analysis of the impact of Zarqawi’s demise by Peter Wehner. Here are a couple of excerpts:
What happened in Iraq yesterday was not only a severe blow to al Qaeda and Islamic fascism, it was also an important moral moment. A man of almost incomprehensible cruelty and savagery has met his end; his days of orchestrating murders, beheadings, car bombings, and assassinations are over.
The death of Abu Musab al Zarqawi also underscores the difficulty al Qaeda terrorists have been encountering in Iraq. Most of the media narrative about Iraq has been on the difficulties the United States faces. Those difficulties are real — but they are far from the full story. What goes almost unnoticed is the enormous series of body blows our enemies have sustained. We have by now intercepted several key communications among terrorists in Iraq over the years — and we keep learning about their despair at the progress of democracy and their unhappiness with the course of events.
The death of Mr. Zarqawi will add immeasurably to their troubles.
It’s reported that immediately after Zarqawi’s house was bombed, Iraqi and American forces carried out 17 simultaneous raids on terrorists in the Baghdad area. Local commanders have said that our soldiers recovered a “treasure trove” of information from Zarqawi’s house in documents and on computer hard drives. That’s probably true, although it could also be misinformation intended to demoralize and disrupt the terrorists. (Likewise with the claim that we got a tip from inside al Qaeda’s organization.) In any event, with 17 more raids on top of Zarqawi’s not-so-safe house, we no doubt did recover lots of actionable information. So the fallout will continue for weeks to come.