On Zarqawi and milestones and turning points

What will we do without Zarqawi? We can't fight a country, or a group or even an ideology -- we need a bad guy.

My prediction: some new thug will be elevated to brilliant and devious terrorist mastermind in the next month or two.

But, for the moment, I guess we should celebrate this as a turning point in the history of Iraq's entirely home-grown struggle for freedom.

Bush, today:


Bush said the killing of Zarqawi was a severe blow to al Qaeda and offered a chance for the Iraqi government to "turn the tide" in the struggle against the insurgency.
Where have I heard that before?

Oh yes, on May 22, after Iraq's new cabinet was formed:

"The main reason I've come today is to talk to you about a watershed event that took place this weekend in Iraq. . . . We have now reached a turning point in the struggle between freedom and terror."

And on May 4, after Iraq's factions agreed on a new Prime Minister:

"This new government represents a turning point in Iraq, a new chapter in our engagement there, and an opportunity for progress."

May 1:

"We believe this is a turning point for the Iraqi citizens, and it's a new chapter in our partnership."

April 23:

"The formation of this government is an important milestone toward our victory in Iraq."

Dec. 15, 2005, a few days before Parliamentary elections:

"And there's a lot of joy as far as I'm concerned in seeing the Iraqi people accomplish this major milestone in the march to democracy."

Dec. 12, 2005:

"There's still a lot of difficult work to be done in Iraq, but thanks to the courage of the Iraqi people, the year 2005 will be recorded as a turning point in the history of Iraq, the history of the Middle East, and the history of freedom.

Oct. 16, 2005, after Iraq adopted its new Constitution:

"So, again, I congratulate the Iraqi people. I thank you for meeting this milestone."

June 28, 2005:

"When the history of this period is written, the liberation of Afghanistan and the liberation of Iraq will be remembered as great turning points in the story of freedom."

April 12, 2005:

"The establishment of a free Iraq at the heart of the Middle East will be a crushing defeat to the forces of tyranny and terror, and a watershed event in the global democratic revolution."

Jan. 29, 2005, after the first Parliamentary elections:

"Tomorrow the world will witness a turning point in the history of Iraq, a milestone in the advance of freedom, and a crucial advance in the war on terror."

June 18, 2004:

"A turning point will come in less than two weeks. On June the 30th, full sovereignty will be transferred to the interim government. The Coalition Provisional Authority will cease to exist."

March 19, 2004, on the first anniversary of the invasion:

"Today, as Iraqis join the free peoples of the world, we mark a turning point for the Middle East and a crucial advance for human liberty."

July 23, 2003, after the formation of an interim government:

"Now that we have reached this important milestone, I urge the nations of the world to contribute, militarily and financially, towards fulfilling Security Council Resolution 1483's vision of a free and secure Iraq."

**Most quotes swiped from the Washington Post.

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