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Zarqawi, R.I.H.

Some people deserve to rest in peace (R.I.P.), others deserve to rot in Hell (R.I.H.). Abu Musab al-Zarqawi certainly falls into the latter category, and the world is much better off now that he's been "terminated."

They say things are always darkest before the dawn, and things have been pretty damn dark in Iraq lately. David Ignatius's column yesterday was incredibly depressing, as has been almost every piece of news we've seen or heard from Iraq over the last few weeks.

So Zarqawi's death provides some much-needed good news and, hopefully, a boost of positive momentum for the Iraqi government. Maybe someday we'll look back on Zarqawi's death as a turning point in this struggle, but for the time being we shouldn't be under any illusions it will materially change the situation in the short run. Indeed, as John F. Burns reports this morning, that's exactly how our guys are approaching it:

Gen. Casey, nearing the end of his second year as the American commander here, confined his remarks to a spare summary of the raid that killed Zarqawi. The general shook Mr. Maliki's hand vigorously after the Iraqi leader made the formal announcement of Zarqawi's death, but otherwise seemed at pains not to overstate the significance of the moment.

Zarqawi, he said, "is known to be responsible for the deaths of thousands" with his terror attacks, and his death would be a major blow to Al Qaeda.

But he added a sober note, saying that "although the designated leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq is now dead", hard fighting in the war lay ahead. "This is just a step in the process", he said.

In other words, yesterday was a good day at the office. Let's hope there are more good days to come.