Two and one half years ago, reporting the capture of Saddam Hussein, George Bush talked about a turning point in the US occupation of Iraq:
All Iraqis can now come together and reject violence and build a new Iraq.
Since then, the media and the US war mongers promoted Zarqawi’s name as the head point man for Al Qaeda inside of Iraq. Nevermind that he was a native Jordanian, that titular Al Qaeda #1 Bin Laden didn't appoint Zarqawi, that all Zarqawi seemed to want was a perverse infamy and perpetual violence for its own sake, almost to the point of having no cause for the effort.
Bush said about Zarqawi's killing
Zarqawi's death is a severe blow to al Qaeda. It's a victory in the global war on terror, and it is an opportunity for Iraq's new government to turn the tide of this struggle. [my emphasis]
Maybe, maybe not. Newsweek reporter and terrorist and Middle East expert Chris Dickey says it's unclear what the future brings after the latest events:
Conceivably, the effect will be to weaken the insurgency as a whole. But it’s also possible that the homegrown Iraqi rebels, now free of Zarqawi’s evil image, may actually grow in political power and military strength. Following the classic pattern established by many other guerrilla groups in history, they may work through "peaceful" front organizations that actually take part in the Parliament, while also continuing to attack in the field. “Fight and talk" is often a successful strategy for guerrillas looking to assure their people's rights. Zarqawi made talking almost impossible.
Then there is the outright conclusion that Zarqawi already did his deeds in Iraq, and was aspiring to more fertile and monumental goals--in Europe. According to Steven Simon, a senior fellow in Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations:
...if Zarqawi’s death can boost public support a little, that’s got to be good—certainly for the administration. But how long will it last is another story because the fundamentals are bad. The levels of violence overall are extremely high and are likely to remain so.
...the demise of this one actor—as influential as he has been—is not going to turn things around. I can’t emphasize too much that with Zarqawi, the damage had already been done.
In fact, shortly after Bush's remarks this morning, the wheels were already in motion:
At least 37 Iraqis died in Baghdad bombings Thursday, even as the Iraqi parliament ended a stalemate by finally naming key security ministers.
All the posturing, and all the punditing won't change the simple fact--human lives are at stake--Iraqi, American, leaders and citizens. All human lives, every last one of them precious. It would be good not to lose sight of that, and end the incursion as soon as possible.
THAT would "turn the tide!"