Saturday, June 10, 2006

Questions about Zarqawi

New York Times reporters Dexter Filkins and John Burns seem to have some of the same questions I had after seeing the photograph of Zarqawi and hearing that the house where he had died was hit by two 500-pound bombs:

On Saturday morning, the bodies were gone, including the body of a girl. The rubble had been picked over for the most useful bits of intelligence. Even the crater [originally 40 feet wide and deep] had been mostly bulldozed and filled in.

Along with the scraps, it was mostly questions that remained.

Chief among them was how Mr. Zarqawi, the terrorist leader killed Wednesday in the airstrike, could have survived for even a few minutes after the attack, as American officers say he did, when everything else around him was obliterated. Concrete blocks, walls, a fence, tin cans, palm trees, a washing machine: everything at the Hibhib scene was shredded or blown to pieces.

It seemed puzzling, too, given the destruction and the condition of the other bodies, how Mr. Zarqawi's head and upper body--shown on televisions across the world--could have remained largely intact.

This, it seems to me, is more a matter of curiosity than something that possesses great significance, but it will be interesting to see what additional information is forthcoming, particularly after the autopsy has been completed.