Taking Down Zarqawi


Whether he personally murdered Nick Berg or was the hideous act's mastermind, Abu Musab Zarqawi has long been a known quantity–and a target of U.S. action.

This March article on MSNBC that details various blown opportunities to capture Zarqawi makes for particularly devastating reading in light of Berg's monstrous execution:

Abu Musab Zarqawi, a Jordanian militant with ties to al-Qaida, is now blamed for more than 700 terrorist killings in Iraq.

But NBC News has learned that long before the war the Bush administration had several chances to wipe out his terrorist operation and perhaps kill Zarqawi himself ? but never pulled the trigger.

The article's main source–former National Security Council member Roger Cressey–is controversial, but there seems no doubt that the US had, and missed, many opportunities to capture or kill Zarqawi.

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  1. R. C. assassination is ALWAYS going to be a touchie subject in this country. My proposal allows it, but with accountability. Colin Powell will have t approve it, the President will have to approve, and someone will have to request it… Now two of these three are ALREADY TARGETS FOR BL, so no big problem there. As for the undersecretry asking, two points, the listing is a secret and SCI and it’s a test. Do YOU want to ask for a killing? Killing someone really ought to involve some searching moral questions and the weighing of options. my proposal puts people on the spot.
    In this country that’s what we’re going to demand of officials proposing to kill someone.

  2. I don’t know the best procedure for putting a terrorist on the hit list, but there should be some sort of checks and balances so that the President alone can’t unilaterally make the decision. Joe L. puts forward a plausible procedure. Mike puts forward another one. We can debate the details, but it’s nice to hear proposals that require a Presidential decision to be audited. Otherwise a President could compile a hit list without having to justify any of his choices. And there’s no telling what might happen then.

    Personally, I think there should be at least one person outside the Executive Branch involved in this process. We can debate over who this person or persons should be, but I don’t want the process to solely involve the President and a bunch of people who answer to the President.

  3. Pretty much anyone can post to FreeRepublic (or DU or Indymedia). Just because something appears there does not mean it reflects the opinion of most FReepers. In fact, one can see several dissenting comments on that thread.

    Note also that the provided list comes from A.N.S.W.E.R. itself. And, there wasn’t a call to commit violence against any of those endorsors. FR moderators swiftly remove such posts. And, if one of those ANSWER endorsors has ties to a terrorist group, that’s something of broad interest.

  4. Joe,

    You point out:
    “Oh and let’s note someting in this article… the words ricin, and northern IRAQ, and Zahwari, unspoken, Al-Quaeda. But, BUT we all know Saddam had NO connection with terrorism…

    Or do we know that states ae not supporting terrorism and the war in Iraq is a diversion from the larger war”

    See, it is this kind of geopolitical illiteracy that provides liberals with so much ammunition. Northern Iraq was not under Saddam’s direct control in 2002 as that was part of the no-fly Kurdish zone. Zahwari was hanging out there because, like Afghanistan, that area was essentially an anything goes no-man’s land. Thus, Zahwari’s presence in Northern Iraq does not mean Saddam was supporting him.

  5. Good point John, I concede, “A Touch I do declare it.”

  6. John-

    In This thread from yesterday, chthus (about 10 posts down) claims that Zahwari was located about 75 km south of the no-fly zone.

    I have tried to find a good map of the situation, and failed. I cannot find Kirma on a map at all. But from what I have found, it seems that a good chunk of the Kurdish territories were south of the no-fly zone. On this map, you see the no-fly zone, and that dashed area labeled as buffer zone more or less shows the border of the Kurdish areas. So it is certainly possible that this Kirma camp could have been located in Kurdish territories but south of the no-fly zone. If you have any better maps of the area I would appreciate seeing them.

    Anyway, about the article, my question is, why are the critics of Bush and the war effort taking our intellegence statements at face value. Obviously, recent events have shown that our pre-war intellegence assumptions about Iraq were pretty damn mistaken. Who’s to say that Zahwari was really there and that we would of been able to hit him if we tried. I know my faith in the CIA has certainly been shaken. And there absolutely would have been negative reprocussions on the diplomatic front if we had tried this assassination.

    Basically, this seems like a situation where reasonable people could have disagreed at the time. In hindsight, you might be able to say that the administration made a mistake, but I don’t see how anyone could have said at the time that this was a huge blunder.

  7. On March 7, 2004 an “enemies list” composed of signatories to an anti-war petition was posted on the Free Republic website. The introductory and subsequent comments on that list suggest that the purpose of the posting was to encourage people to harrass the individuals on the list and to circulate their names to agencies and individuals that might take action against them.

    Nick Berg’s father, Michael Berg was on that list and he named Prometheus Methods Tower Service, Inc. as an affiliation. According to his family on March 24, 2004 — approximately two weeks after publication of the enemies list on the Free Republic website — Nick Berg was detained by Iraqi police who handed him over to US forces, he was then held until April 6 when he was released, the day after his family had filed a lawsuit in Philadelphia federal court. Nick Berg was not heard from again after April 9.

    Read more here, before it is surpressed:


  8. OK Real Enemy I’m slow are you saying that the US gov’t killed Nick Berg or Free Republic?

    Oh and let’s note someting in this article… the words ricin, and northern IRAQ, and Zahwari, unspoken, Al-Quaeda. But, BUT we all know Saddam had NO connection with terrorism…

    Or do we know that states ae not supporting terrorism and the war in Iraq is a diversion from the larger war?

  9. Jeez, I thought Goebbels was dead.

  10. Doug he is, what’s your point?

  11. Perhaps the 9/11 Commission or the Democrats generally will adopt a consensus doctrine to allow the executive office to kill by any means available designated individuals. A select commission of Congressional members can assist in compiling the hit list and then the president can proceed with as-targeted-as-possible assination of those individuals. That would have taken care of the hesitation to missile-strike Osama Bin Laden and Zaqawi when we had the chance, out of appropriate presidential fear of political backlash.

    Naaah, the political bacbiting is so much easier and satisfying. More fiddles!

  12. Alternatively, the Executive Branch would nominate targets for assassination. That is the Undersecretary for Latin American Affairs would have to sign off on the “hit’ and the relevant Cabinet Secretary would have to sign off AND that Cabinet would have to be willing to pay for hte hit, with Cabinet funds. Then the President signs a finding authorizing the hit and informs Frist, Hastert and the 4 relevant committee chairs.
    This way there is a paper trail and three individuals have to say, “Kill this person.” And weigh the fiscal cost to their agency as well as ask for a murder.
    It might give pause to bureaucrats who otherwise might support the it.

  13. Yes, Joe, agencies are notoriously sensitive to cost. And I am sure that our enemies would like nothing better than the nice hit list your method would generate. Your “accountability” amounts to tattooing a bullseye on the forehead of anyone willing to fight this war so you can sleep safe and snug.

    OBL is still walking around (if he is) because of an excess of bureucracy, not a dearth of it. It was bureaucratic risk aversion that passed the opportunity to get him in Somalia, and buckpassing up and down the chain of command that got him out from under in Afghanistan a couple of times.

  14. It’s just another situation where the effete lefists complain about the conservatives acting — and then turn around and complain about the conservatives not acting.

    Here is what they sound like to me:

    “Do this. No, do that. What were you thinking? No, not that, this. No, now the other thing. What were you thinking? I meant the *other* thing. Go here. Go there. Don’t step on that! Do this. Do that. Faster. No, not that way. Why doesn’t anyone else listen to us, we’re so smart.”

  15. The assassination of Mr Breg was murder and evil in it’s purest form.Though I do not agree with what has taken place in Iraq relating to the torture of the Iraqi prisoners. However we have not beheaded those prisoners we have not blown up their cars and taken the bodies and hung them from bridges or pulled their remains around the city for all to see. Keep in mind that we only know a little of what the Iraqi’s have done to our soldiers and our civilians I’m sure that there have been more atrosities that we will never know about. So to all of those who think the photos that have been plastered in the news are torturus take into mind that they are still alive unlike Mr berg and all those who have fallen in our attempt to give the Iraqi people freedom.

  16. The idea Nick Berg was a victim of state sponsored killing is completely opposite to reality. Look at the facts.

    Nick was a college student who relocated after he started his formal education to Oklahoma. Did he play football and win a spot on the team? Oklah0oma, the Christian Bible Belt does not attract Jewish students.

    Then, this technically saavy student “loses” his email account to the 20th 9-11 hijacker? Coincidence? No freaking way.

    He was not so stupid as to go to Iraq without support. His handler knew where he was and what his mission was to be. The State Department, Department of Defense and Federal Bureau of Investigations knew NOTHING.

    A Langley stone cutter knows the truth for on the wall is the name Nick Berg under the star. And traces of stone dust have yet to be sponged from the crevices. G-d rest his soul. And pray for his family who will never know.

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