Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Let's not inflate the image of Zarqawi's successor

The US would be smart not to inflate the image of the new leader of al Qaeda in Iraq as it did for his dead predessor, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

From the White House on down, American leaders gave Zarqawi priceless prestige as the archenemy of the United States and personal rival of the President of the United States. They did so by incessantly naming Zarqawi by name.

In this blogger's view, they helped make Zarqawi a more powerful terrorist, especially as he was able, for years, to elude US and Coalition forces and achieve, for a while, mythic status.

Zarqawi's successor, reportedly an Egyptian, should receive no such image-enhancement from Uncle Sam.

US officials should deny him his identity. They should refer only to the "terrorists" or the "enemy," and not to a named individual or group. The names of enemy figures should never cross the lips of American leaders.

(President Bush and Karl Rove ought to know this instinctively. Bush tried not to mention Senator John Kerry's name during the 2004 campaign to deny Kerry credibility as a personal political rival. Somehow, the White House can't apply the same logic to our nation's mortal enemies.)


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