ABC Reports: Zarqawi Dead

Perhaps it’s because I’m on the West Coast, but immediately when the ‘Special Report’ music broke into Nightline, I thought for a second that I must be watching Saturday Night Live.

Of course, 11:35pm Nightline in L.A. plays 3 hours behind the East Coast, where, for some reason, ABC has broken through in all time zones with an Abu Musab al-Zarqawi special. Granted, I have visited the headquarters of other major networks and know that certain obituary pieces are pre-produced and ready to go (Gerald Ford, Nancy Reagan, to name a couple), but “Now with Zarqawi gone, the U.S. can claim a tangible victory in Iraq,” stated on tape by Brian Ross, seems a bit far-fetched.

Zarqawi had a 25 million dollar bounty on his head. Considering the “insurgency” and all, I find it hard to believe that the non-profit U.S. troops would have hauled in the prize.

This will keep me up for a few hours, nonetheless.

UPDATE: Iraq PM Nouri al-Maliki and Gen. Casey just announced the death of Zarqawi on Iraqi TV. He was killed in a U.S. military-led airstrike at a “safehouse” north of Baquba, 30 miles north of Baghdad and not far from a handful of horrific beheadings earlier this week. Christiane Amanpour, on CNN Pipeline, is saying that the applause that followed the announcement of Zarqawi’s death is reminiscent of the official announcement of the capture of Hussein.

Gen. Casey is quick to add, “this is just a step….” Here is a link to the AP report that will continue to update with details. Full press conference at 3pm Baghdad time, 5am here in Pacific Daylight Time.

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