Well, turns out that al-Zarqawi managed to survive for a bit before shuffling off this Mortal Coil, and apparently mumbled something prior to getting on with the dying part.
Lots of speculation at work as to what the Last Mumble might have been. Some of the examples were:
"Stop choking me."
"Please don't hit me with that rifle butt again."
And the always popular: "WTF?!"
Personally, I favour that simple, old-fashioned favourite, "Oh, s***."
Well, that, as they say, is that.
The fallout from this little adventure is going to be somewhat educational to watch.
As expected, anything non-computer-related has gone to the Intel-types, who are allegedly attempting their best not to do gleeful cartwheels in sight of the press.
The boffins have taken charge of any computer-y bits, and I'm here to tell you it doesn't matter how crafty or sneaky al-Zaqarwi was, anything he had on that hard-ware is going to belong to the geek-pack, right down to his secret stash of goat-porn.
This is going to be what is colloquially referred to as "nut-check time". Anybody who thinks his name might have been somewhere near that hard-drive, or in the paperwork, is going to be wondering:
1) Are they following me and learning even more secrets, or are they so busy they just haven't had time to snatch me ... yet;
2) I wonder if singing like a canary will make it easier, and would it be better to go ahead, surrender to the inevitable, and volunteer everything I know, rather than waiting for them to snatch me; and
3) Who else is having the same thoughts?
Couple of folks are going to wind up spending a Social Inquiry session or two with the Loyalty Brigade and their Magic 8-Ball of Truth (also doubles as a field phone, if you don't mind the BBQ smell), and there will be a bit of a purge of the disloyal -- some of whom will actually be snitches, and others who simply wound up on someones smoke list, (this being as good a time as any to whack a rival or two), or just collateral damage.
All of which further serves to strain loyalties, what with the shrieking and the bodies flopping about and the psycho fanatics and the wondering which snitches got missed...
I present the successor to the throne of al-Zaqarwi. He's got a bullseye painted on his forehead connected to a stack of Coalition-issued military hardware marked 'To Whom It May Concern', the local civilians still have a case of the ass aimed at his predecessor (on top of discovering that ratting him out actually works) ... and his faithful otnay ootay rightbray spear-carriers (the ones who managed to survive the loyalty checks) are frantically trying to suck up by any means possible -- including getting signed confessions from their own long-dead great-granma -- and telling him whatever they think he wants to hear.
T'were I a spooky type, I'd find out where the crates of Maalox and Tylenol are going, and bomb the Cheez-Whiz out of the drop-off point.