Daniel Benjamin and Steve Simon of CSIS write in today's LA Times:
Iraqi and coalition forces tracked down and killed Abu Azzam, the second-most-wanted Al Qaeda leader in Iraq. This guy is a brutal killer. He was one of Zarqawi's top lieutenants. He was reported to be the top operational commander of Al Qaeda in Baghdad."This is precisely the kind of work reporters should be doing: cutting throught the bullshit and spin put forth by the interested parties and delivering informed perspectives on the events. Unfortunately, reporters tend to either swallow this spin wholesale, or they tend to be too lazy to do some actual reporting and find this out.
Those who heard President Bush make this claim in the Rose Garden on Wednesday could be forgiven for feeling that they were suffering from a case of déjà vu.
It was just over two months ago that Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Richard B. Myers announced the capture of Abu Abd Aziz, whom he described as Abu Musab Zarqawi's "main leader in Baghdad."
In May, Amar Zubaydi, a Zarqawi lieutenant responsible for an assault on Abu Ghraib prison and a series of car bombings in Baghdad, was arrested. In January, Abu Umar Kurdi, who was said to be the architect of three-quarters of the car bombings in Baghdad, was captured.
A very quick LexisNexis search shows that at least a dozen top Zarqawi lieutenants have been apprehended or killed since early last year...