They just got a different tool to use than we do: They kill innocent lives to achieve objectives. That's what they do. And they're good. They get on the TV screens and they get people to ask questions about, well, you know, this, that or the other. I mean, they're able to kind of say to people: Don't come and bother us, because we will kill you. Bush - Joint News Conference with Blair - 28 July '06

Thursday, September 29, 2005

US captures No.2 in Iraq? Not likely

msnbc:The 'Second' Man

U.S. intelligence officials and counterterrorism analysts are questioning whether a slain terrorist - described by President Bush today as the "second-most wanted Al Qaeda leader in Iraq" was as significant a figure as the Bush administration is claiming.

In a brief Rose Garden appearance Wednesday morning, Bush seized on the killing of Abu Azzam by joint U.S-Iraqi forces in a shootout last Sunday as fresh evidence that the United States is turning the tide against the Iraqi insurgency.

"This guy was a brutal killer," Bush told reporters in remarks that were also carried live on cable TV. He was one of [Abu Mussab al-] Zarqawi's top lieutenants. He was reported to be the top operational commander of Al Qaeda in Baghdad."

Bush's comments came one day after Gen. Richard Myers, the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters at the Pentagon that the U.S. military considered Abu Azzam the "No 2 Al Qaeda operative in Iraq, next to Zarqawi".

But veteran counterterrorism analyst Evan Kohlmann said today there are ample reasons to question whether Abu Azzam was really the No. 2 figure in the Iraqi insurgency. He noted that U.S. officials have made similar claims about a string of purportedly high-ranking terrorist operatives who had been captured or killed in the past, even though these alleged successes made no discernible dent in the intensity of the insurgency.

If I had a nickel for every No.2 or No.3 they've arrested or killed inIraq and Afghanistan, I'd be a millionaire" Read more

db: Can't say we are shocked. The meager $25,000 reward that had been on offer for his capture was a clue.