Make no mistake, the dude was a nasty evil man, a bitter failure who had nothing going for him until the US invaded Iraq and somehow he became a prominent leader of a group whose main claim to fame was killing hostages. Not exactly the heroic stuff of, say, the French Resistance in WWII.
Interestingly, his death led Bush to come as close as he's ever come to admitting he lied about the Iraq / al-Qaeda links in the prelude to the Iraq Boondoggle:
"Through his every action, he sought to defeat America and our coalition partners and turn Iraq into a safe haven from which Al Qaeda could wage its war," Bush said.Perhaps in savoring this victory, Mr. Bush allowed himself an unguarded moment. Not even Bush, though, is optimistic that Zarqawi's death will diminish the insurgency, saying, "We can expect the terrorists and insurgents to carry on without him." I suppose that's the voice of experience talking, long after the flight suit has been stowed away and the asinine swagger of "Bring them on" has quietly been transformed into his father's "stay the course".
It would be nice, however, if in this statement, like in nearly everything else he's ever said, Bush would be wrong. It'd be great if Zarqawi's loser division would pack it up and go back to their day jobs, whatever the hell they may be. And maybe a few will. However, I'm willing to bet Zarqawi was a symptom and not a cause. His death is unlikely to crush the insurgency in the same way as Che Guevara's did in Bolivia. It's also fairly unlikely that Zarqawi's image will appear on as many t-shirts.