Zarqawi's death signals weak link

Published 3:57 am Monday, June 12, 2006

By By Jo Bonner
Last Thursday morning, Americans awoke to the news that one of the most wanted men in the world, the man Osama bin Laden dubbed the "prince of al Qaeda," Abu Musab al Zarqawi, had been killed by coalition forces. Although he wasn't found cowering in a hole like Saddam Hussein, Zarqawi's death also signals an end to a brutal reign of a sadistic leader.
A violent man, Zarqawi participated in beheadings, supported suicide bombers, and encouraged sectarian violence. Intelligence reports agree that Zarqawi was the hooded man that beheaded American hostage Nicholas Berg. He also claimed credit for the triple hotel bombings in Amman, Jordan, late last year that killed at least 60 people, including three Iraqi suicide bombers.
The men and women of our military are to be commended for their painstaking, diligent intelligence gathering. American military forces coordinated a precise and effective mission seriously thwarting the future effectiveness of al Qaeda.
Zarqawi's death doesn't guarantee that the job of our military will get any easier. Many are even predicting an increase in violence during the immediate aftermath as al Qaeda struggles to prove its power. His death does signal a weakening of al Qaeda's stronghold on Iraq and provides an opportunity for the people of Iraq to unite together and reject al Qaeda.
Ironically, on this same day, the three remaining security ministry cabinet positions in Iraq were filled: the minister of defense, the minister of interior, and the state minister of national security.
As the Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld stated last week regarding the irony, "I think it's appropriate that the man who tried to stop the elections a year ago January and failed, who tried to stop the drafting of the constitution and a referendum on the constitution last October and failed, who tried to stop the elections December 15th and failed, and tried to stop the formation of a new Iraqi government and failed, on the very day that the elected officials of that country were able to finalize their ministries."
Three more
bills passed
The House of Representatives passed three more appropriations bills last week: H.R. 5427, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2007; H.R. 5522, the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2007; and H.R. 849, the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2007.
H.R. 5427 in its present form provides $32 billion in funding for the operation of DHS and programs such as the port security grant program, first responder training, terrorism prevention grants, disaster preparedness based on the lessons of Hurricane Katrina, and the assistance to firefighter's grant program.
During the past several years, this latter grant program has provided millions of dollars in funding to dozens of fire and rescue departments in south Alabama. Additionally, the Homeland Security appropriations bill funds the protection of critical national infrastructure, enhanced transportation security, border protection, and maritime safety.
Among other things, H.R. 5427 will provide the following:
H.R. 5522, the Foreign Operations appropriations bill will fund our international obligations and support freedom around the globe.
Among other things, H.R. 5522, does the following:
Continues to hold countries accountable for the way they spend U.S. foreign assistance by providing record funding for the president's signature foreign assistance initiative, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC),Provides $3.4 billion in foreign assistance to combat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, Includes $522 million for further stabilization efforts in Iraq and $962 million to continue stabilization in Afghanistan, and Provides $325 million to fund the Peace Corps.
The third appropriations bill passed last week, H.R. 849, the Legislative Branch Appropriations bill provides $3 billion to fund the legislative branch.
Among other things, the bill provides funding for 50 new investigators for the Government Accountability Office to provide increased oversight for hurricane reconstruction and the war in Iraq.
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Jo Bonner is a U.S. congressman. His column appears weekly.

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