NEW YORK (AP) -- Slain al Qaeda in Iraq chief Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was a "diabolically brilliant" war tactician, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said, likening him to Civil War generals Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant…
"He was diabolically brilliant," Rice said of Zarqawi.
Want to know how brilliant he was? Ready for it?
BAGHDAD, Iraq, May 4 — In the video released last week by the terrorist Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, he is seen firing long bursts from a heavy automatic rifle, his forearms sprouting from beneath black fatigues as he exudes the very picture of a strong jihadist leader.
In out-takes from the same video, Mr. Zarqawi, the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, cuts an altogether different figure:
As the camera rolls, Mr. Zarqawi is flummoxed by how to fire the machine gun until an aide walks over and fiddles with the weapon so it discharges. Another scene shows Mr. Zarqawi hand the weapon off to several other insurgents, who absent-mindedly grab it by its scalding hot barrel.
And after his shooting scene, Mr. Zarqawi walks away from the camera to reveal decidedly non-jihadist footwear: Comfortable white New Balance sneakers…
But with the release of the out-takes today the American military sought to send a very different message: That Mr. Zarqawi is a poseur who can't even fire a basic infantry weapon and walks around in comfortable shoes.
In last week's video, "He is very proud he can operate this machine gun," General Lynch said. It was, "Look at me. I'm a capable leader of a capable organization."
"But what he didn't show you was the clip I showed you," General Lynch said. "Wearing New Balance sneakers with his uniform, surrounded by supposedly competent subordinates who grabbed the hot barrel of a just-fired machine gun."
The general continued: "We have a warrior leader, Zarqawi, who doesn't understand how to operate his weapons system and has to rely on his subordinates to clear a weapons stoppage. It makes you wonder."
A bumbling, incompetent, bullshitting poseur--no wonder Condi thinks he was brilliant! He probably reminded her of her husband...er, I mean her president.
Condi almost makes it too easy--did I say "almost"?
It is wrong to dismiss Zarqawi's killing as a temporary or insignificant victory in the long fight against terrorism, Rice continued.
"When you hear people say ... 'If you kill one of them, they'll just replace him with another leader,' remember that that's like saying, 'If you take out Robert E. Lee or Ulysses S. Grant, well, they'll just replace them with another leader.' " Rice said. "There are people who are better at this than others."
Though, she's right--there are some people who are better at things than others. Like, for instance, every person who's ever worked in the White House is better than every single person who has worked there in the last seven years.
And while I doubt bumbling, incompetent poseur Zarqawi was better at creating mayhem in Iraq than anyone else, if he was, it really begs the question:
Why didn't we take him out before he became the diabolically brilliant leader of al Qaeda 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…
In June 2002, U.S. officials say intelligence had revealed that Zarqawi and members of al-Qaida had set up a weapons lab at Kirma, in northern Iraq…
The Pentagon quickly drafted plans to attack the camp with cruise missiles and airstrikes and sent it to the White House, where, according to U.S. government sources, the plan was debated to death in the National Security Council…
The Pentagon drew up a second strike plan, and the White House again killed it…
The Pentagon drew up still another attack plan, and for the third time, the National Security Council killed it…
Military officials insist their case for attacking Zarqawi’s operation was airtight, but the administration feared destroying the terrorist camp in Iraq could undercut its case for war against Saddam.
And just for those of you keeping score at home, the National Security Advisor who killed the plan to take out the Robert E. Lee of the Iraqi insurgency was...Condi Rice!
Condi's statement also raises a second question:
Just who in the hell has been saying, "If you kill one of them, they'll just replace him with another leader"?
Oh, that's right! The Bush administration!
For five years.
Q Mr. President, in your speeches now you rarely talk or mention Osama bin Laden. Why is that? Also, can you tell the American people if you have any more information, if you know if he is dead or alive? Final part -- deep in your heart, don't you truly believe that until you find out if he is dead or alive, you won't really eliminate the threat of --
THE PRESIDENT: Deep in my heart I know the man is on the run, if he's alive at all. Who knows if he's hiding in some cave or not; we haven't heard from him in a long time. And the idea of focusing on one person is -- really indicates to me people don't understand the scope of the mission.
Terror is bigger than one person…
So I don't know where he is. You know, I just don't spend that much time on him, Kelly, to be honest with you…
Q But don't you believe that the threat that bin Laden posed won't truly be eliminated until he is found either dead or alive?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, as I say, we haven't heard much from him. And I wouldn't necessarily say he's at the center of any command structure. And, again, I don't know where he is. I -- I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him.
Then there was:
Q Scott, you said three-quarters of al Qaeda leadership who's been captured or killed -- I assume you meant known leadership.
MR. McCLELLAN: That's right. Well, and we know that they replace their leaders…
Q Would it make a huge difference if [bin Laden] was found at this point, or killed or captured?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, again, that's why I made the point that it is much broader than any one person…
And who else was saying that if you take out one leader--say, a Robert E. Lee type--it would just be a temporary victory in the long war on terrorism?
Although Zawahiri is a major leader in the al Qaeda terrorist network and his capture or death would boost the war on terrorism, Rice cautioned, it would not mean the end of terrorism.
"We've always said al Qaeda is not just one man, it's a network," she explained.
That's right! Condi Rice.
First she tells us there are no indespensible figures, no Robert E. Lees of al Qaeda(who no one said there were in the first place; we simply said bin Laden killed 2000 Americans and we ought to do something about that) then she lectures us about how wrong and misinformed it is to say there are no single men in al Qaeda who are more important than others.
Is she a piece of work or what? Does she kiss the Preznit with that mouth? Because it's full of bullshit.
But, hey, Condi, if that's true, if there are people who are better at organizing terrorist organizations and carrying out terrorist attacks, then tell me:
Why in the great blue fuck did we invade Iraq instead of expending all of our considerable resources on the "just one man" who actually organized al Qaeda and carried out the 9/11 attacks on America?
Why on Earth did we let the man go?