US Offs Zarqawi

June 8, 2006

With the loss of Zarqawi, a marketing tool for the US war in Iraq, the United States will inevitably have to come up with a replacement for the decedent. I think of Zarqawi as a trademark that is easy for the American target audience to get their heads around. Just like Saddam Hussein before him, Zarqawi was the focus for Western audiences, the “face of evil” in Iraq. In other words, never mind that there are 25 million people just like you and me who live there who would give just about anything but their pride for clean water, electricity, food, and the chance to walk down the street with their children without getting blown to bits by the US Army or their countrymen.

Without Zarqawi (and before him Saddam Hussein) to blame for America’s problems in Iraq, someone new will have to be appointed to fill this role. This will be costly and take time. The war will not “improve” for the Americans now that Zarqawi is gone. The insurgency and resistance will continue to grow because things are so bad there.

The killing of Zarqawi may have been a costly mistake for the Bush administration from a marketing point of view. I can’t help but wonder what level of participation Karl Rove had on the decision to off Zarqawi now. Could it have had anything to do with Bush’s bottomless poll numbers or the embarrasing defeat of his ridiculous attempt over the weekend to revive a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage?

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