Zarqawi: Mission Accomplished?


National Review's The Corner blog is staging a Zion-style rave to celebrate the killing of al-Zarqawi, and one of the most ironic cheers comes from Jonah Goldberg.

Where's Dean? [Jonah Goldberg]
A reader asks: "Isn't it about time for Chairman Howard to say something like 'I suppose it's a good thing that Zarqawi is dead…'"

That's a hell of a zinger, but what was it that caused Dean to make that gaffe in the first place? Oh, right.

When Baghdad was liberated, and Saddam removed from power, Dean came up with his most memorable line yet: "I suppose it's a good thing."

It's fantastic news that U.S. forces have killed a terrorist who murdered hundreds or thousands of Americans and Iraqis in cold blood. It's definitely not wise for pundits to take that news and bash Iraq War skeptics over the head with it. Doing so has become a ritual after every milestone in the war—the fall of Baghdad (and the Saddam statue), the killing of Uday and Qusay, the capture of Saddam, the transfer of power to the provisional government, the victory in Fallujah, the killing of al-Zarawi's deputies, the first election, the second election, the third election, and now the killing of al-Zarqawi. Every time, when victory didn't swiftly follow, support for the war and faith in America's Iraq policy ebbed a little further.

With a real victory to celebrate, why would a Iraq War stalwart's first reaction be to mock skepticism about the war that has, so far, proven correct? Nothing better underscores the difficulty of predicting the aftershocks of events in Iraq.