June 8, 2006 by lonbud
A Tale of Two Men
American Shock and Awe came to a remote hideaway north of Baghdad Wednesday, when two 500lb bombs delivered by American F-16 fighter jets killed notorious terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and five others gathered with him at a safehouse in the isolated town of Hibhib.
The Jordanian ultra-Islamist was widely viewed as the brains behind the foreign insurgency in Iraq and his death was welcomed both by U.S. forces desperate for a tangible victory in the increasingly brutal war there, and by Iraqi Shiites, who have been the main targets of terrorist violence coordinated by Mr. al-Zarqawi.
U.S. President George W. Bush announced the news with understated wariness this morning, saying, “Zarqawi is dead…We can expect the terrorists and insurgents to carry on without him.”
Indeed, on Thursday more than 40 people died in Baghdad bombings alone.
The news of Mr. al-Zarqawi’s death stole some of the thunder from the announcement of 27-year-old US Army First Lieutenant Ehren Watada, who on Wednesday became the first U.S. military officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq.
At a news conference in Tacoma, WA, Mr. Watada said he had researched the reasons behind the U.S. involvement in Iraq and concluded the war is illegal and immoral.
”We have violated American law,” Mr. Watada said. ”We can’t break laws in order to fight terrorism.”
Mr. Watada said he was prepared to face the consequences of his refusal to deploy when the other members of his 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division begin heading to Iraq later this month.
”I feel it is inevitable … I will be charged and I will be punished.” He said he could face Court Martial and prison time for failing to deploy.
His refusal to serve in Iraq is not based on a conscientious objector application or an objection to participating in war in any form, but rather is specific to the war in Iraq, which he said has featured mistreatment of the Iraqi people and violations of the Army’s own Law of Land Warfare.
More information on Mr. Watada and the broad support he is receiving for his pricipled stand against the war in Iraq can be found here.
Raw Pentagon footage of the strike that killed Mr. al-Zarqawi can be seen here.