Friday, June 09, 2006


Despising Abu Musab al-Zarqawi isn’t very difficult to do, especially after giving his biography a quick scan. For the world of journalism, he came to represent the prototypical bogyman, tantamount to the ever-elusive Osama bin Laden, in which to give a swift kick in the headlines each time a bomb blast ripped through the Middle East.

And while some sort of global impact from the Jordanian-born terrorist’s death this week is assured, it’s a fairly safe bet that very few people in the Capital Region are going to change their lives radically thanks to his demise. But given some of the reactions being chucked out to and by the local press, one could easily garner the impression that it’s now safe to start pulling the duct tape off the windows.

Take for example the prefab statement released by trusty Governor Protractor, not that Pataki himself or any of the other legislator in Albany played even a cursory role in tracking al-Zarqawi through the desert grottos of Iraq’s hinterlands. Still, the lame-duck governor –who still hasn’t confessed to having his eye on the White House –decided to drop a saber-rattling statement oddly reminiscent of the many speeches given in Madison Square Garden nearly two years ago.

“As we approach the fifth anniversary of September 11th, we must recommit ourselves to protecting our homeland with the same single-minded drive and determination demonstrated by the courageous troops who brought this madman to justice,” Pataki prattled on in a statement issued to the press.

Justice, that is, in the wrong-end-of-a-bomb-blast sort of way.

Leave it to another pair of windbags and a drunk to echo this statement. Sen. Hillary Clinton apparently “saw firsthand” al-Zarqawi’s handy work, while on a tour bus with the presidential fam in Jordan last fall. Meanwhile, U.S Rep. John Sweeny chose to point out the blisteringly obvious: al-Zarqawi bad, bomb-blasts good. Then of course, there was Chuck Schumer, who probably had a few martinis in his gut before coming up with the prose he tossed out to the media.

“Sooner or later, evil people meet their just desserts,” he announced Thursday. “The entire world of people who believe in freedom and peace can take solace in what happened.”

Desserts? Solace? Does the senator mean the public should take comfort in sorrow while shoveling down an apple pie ala mode?

But even amid this blustering front of hot air, it was again The Saratogian that prevailed with the most ridiculous angle during Thursday’s al-Zarqawipalooza. In an almost whimsical man-on-the-street article with no less than three by-lines, the Spa City’s crack-team of reporters determined for fact, that military recruitment isn’t expected to change even with news of al-Zarqawi’s death.

And here all this time, military recruiters were depending on this day to get a sudden influx of strapping young soldiers to swell the army’s ranks. Looks like it’s back to the drawing board, boys.


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