. As news
of the death of insurgent leader Musab al Zarqawi sped around the
world, expressions of grief and anger poured in from those who oppose
American colonialism in the middle east.
French President Jacques Chirac cancelled his first two appointments
with his senior mistresses to publicly announce his sorrow over the
loss of "a great leader, a great man, and a great friend."
In Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited a spontaneous
gathering of grief-stricken citizens at the Brandenburg Gate and sang
hymns in the nude to protest "the outrageous U.S. military strike
against the noble forces of resistance to the American Occupation of
Iraq." Merkel also called for a worldwide "Day of Mourning" to honor
the fallen leader.
Back in the U.S., Democrat congressional leaders Nancy Pelosi and Harry
Reid held a joint press conference to acknowledge what Pelosi called "a
grave setback in our effort to unseat the illegal puppet government the
Bush administration has imposed in Iraq."
Senator Reid vowed, though, to "keep fighting for what the American
people so clearly want -- the total, humiliating defeat of George W.
Bush and the U.S. military in this disgraceful war."
Both leaders expressed their personal sadness about the death of
Zarqawi and offered their condolences to his surviving family.
Speaking at a breakfast reunion of pardoned Vietnam-era draft
fugitives, Rep John Murtha of Pennsylvania called the strike on
Zarqawi's safe house "yet another example of cold-blooded murder
planned and carried out by U.S. troops." He demanded a public apology
for the crime by the President and repeated his earlier demands for the
immediate ouster of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, reached by phone at his villa in
Cannes, said, "The quagmire keeps getting deeper and gooier, or I
should say, more gooey, with each passing day. It is time to bring all
the criminal U.S. troops home and let Saigon, er, Baghdad negotiate the
just peace with their opponents that all Iraqis want."
Taking time out from his promotional tour for the movie "An
Inconvenient Truth," Former Vice President Al Gore told reporters that
the Zarqawi slaying was, "one more proof the end times have come. If we
look clearly at the rubble of Zarqawi's house, we can see that parts of
the sky really are falling. How can Bush's crony government continue to
deny such incontrovertible evidence?" After concluding his brief
remarks, Gore offered to give reporters tickets at a 20-percent
discount to the next showing of his movie. "We all have a
responsibility to get the word out," he explained.
Democrat Party Chairman Howard Dean declared in a quickly arranged
speech, "Today, all Americans - except for the evil Christian
Republican ones -- are mourning the death of a courageous fighter for
Iraqi rights. Our great party joins with those grieving Americans
wherever they are, in Massachusetts, in New York, Rhode Island,
California, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Minnesota, Maine, New
On the CNN Morning Show, Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware spoke
movingly about Zarqawi's tragically premature death experience and
announced that one of his committees would be scheduling immediate
hearings to determine exactly where Iraq is on the map. "When we find
that out," he promised, "we'll do something really serious about it."
Oscar-winning actor George Clooney gave an impromptu press conference in
Hollywood to announce that he will be producing, directing, and
starring in a movie about Zarqawi's inspiring life. "Obviously, we
can't bring him back to life," he said, "but maybe we can give some
meaning to his death by focusing on his many wonderful
accomplishments." Clooney also called George W. Bush a boob for the
Activist Cindy Sheehan offered the Zarqawi family a grave lot next to
that of her son, so that "two of George Bush's murder victims can rest
in peace together." She called for an immediate end to the war in Iraq
and suggested that maybe the Iranians should drop one of their nuclear
bombs on U.S. troops there.
"And they can get Israel, too, while they're at it," she said.
Among the mainstream media, NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, the New York Times, the
Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, Time, and Newsweek are all
planning special telecasts or print editions to honor the memory of the
"It's the least we can do in response to this terrible event," said
Publisher Pinch Sulzberger. "That's the responsibility of a journalist,
to do the least we can do in support of the people we serve."