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FRIDAY, JUNE 9, 2006
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EDITORIAL

Al-Zarqawi’s death a major victory in war on terror

The president's speech was halting as he delivered news of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's death to the nation Thursday morning. The sense was that Mr. Bush would have loved to fling his arms open and dance a jig because at last he's gotten a much-needed break in the war in Iraq.

But he used the occasion to offer the nation hope that his policies will eventually bring peace and democracy to Iraq.

Isolating the terrorist and several of his aides in a safehouse 30 miles outside Baghdad wasn't luck, which reinforces the notion that Iraqis are tiring of the al-Qaida forces that came into the country after the war began, and are fighting back.

Jordan cooperated, an Iraqi police force was first to reach the isolated building after U.S. warplanes dropped two 500-pound bombs and, perhaps more importantly, information about the meeting came from senior Zarqawi leaders.

The message to the insurgents is clear: You can no longer trust each other in carrying out a guerrilla war against overwhelming opposition.

This is more than a strategic military victory, it's a gigantic morale boost for all troops fighting a war in which the enemy is largely faceless. But this high-profile death gives the war a face and it is one of an evil man who's dedicated his life to hate and killing in the name of Allah.

The president could have celebrated the news, but he kept his perspective and warned that there are still tough days ahead. In a war that's gone on far too long, gloating seems out of place.

But let us hope that killing "the slaughtering sheik," as his followers hailed him, will help shorten those tough days.

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