Public Enemy Number One

By my count, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (search) has now beheaded three Americans.

His latest were the two Americans kidnapped from a house in Baghdad and then probably sold to al-Zarqawi. That's the new deal in Iraq: Criminal gangs trading in hostages for money.

In the case of Nick Berg (search) and Eugene Armstrong (search) and Jack Hensley (search), as-Zarqawi himself took a knife and cut their heads off as if they were farm animals to be slaughtered for a feast.

You may have noticed not much in the way of outrage coming from any of the civilized nations we count as friends, but who have not been acting like it.

Part of the reason is they like it. They think America deserves it. They think these three Americans are just stand-ins for the U.S. and its government.

The other reason is that al-Zarqawi has gone on a charm offensive among Arabs and in Europe and it's working.

The Middle East Media Research Institute  has posted two recent al-Zarqawi messages to the world published in a London Arab language newspaper.

On September 11, 2004, al-Zarqawi gave a speech to his fighters in which he condemned all Americans in Iraq as crusaders who carry the banner of the cross and therefore subject to death. He exhorts his followers to war — a war underway with the United States right now.

Then the same London newspaper also published an interview with someone who met with al-Zarqawi recently. That interview suggested al-Zarqawi is working on fomenting a civil war between Sunnis and Shiites.

So what do we have? We have a guy who personally enjoys cutting the heads off Americans — he reserves that job for himself — and a guy who is planning to launch a civil war in Iraq.

All this adds up to public enemy number one. As bad as Usama is, the man America must kill now is Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

By the way: Where is he? The London Arabic newspaper reports he was interviewed in Fallujah. Good luck to our troops. Whoever fires the shot that ends al-Zarqawi is a true American hero.