The Moment of Truth — June 10, 2006

Loveliness of the Dead S.O.B.

Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the unrepentant sex appeal of Mama Cass.

The Pentagon released a lovely photo of the dead Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. It’s lovely for many reasons. It’s lovely because in his state of lifelessness he can no longer pursue the path that was a bane to so many. But just esthetically speaking, it’s a lovely photo. He looks so peaceful, and not at all crushed or mutilated. He looks like the actor Alfred Molina were he to play Luciano Pavarotti, during a scene wherein the tenor enters a deep, meditative trance, envisioning the Virgin Mary cradling him to her breast.

Al-Zarqawi’s miserable habitation within his fat body is ended. What a tortured, sickening wreck he was in life, wasn’t he? I’ve been told his bitter career began when he was declined by the college of his choice. There but for fortune go you or I, my loves. Is it not so?

Wasn’t he a disagreeable type? So empty of comprehension. So incapable of navigating the world. Of accomplishments he could boast none. Of love he knew aught. Nary a friend had he. His inner self incessantly pecked by crows of doubt and self-hatred, his outer corpulence struggled against invented obstacles and phantasms of evil. He made of his life a maelstrom to rail against. And he caused pain, death and disaster to everyone unfortunate enough to cross the spiral of his descent. This blundering, blustering idiot howling into the wind and flailing his way through the rain with bone saws and shrapnel, his life was a violent suicide torn inside out.

Now he is at peace. Who would have thought his face could ever repose like that? That is one good-looking corpse. Not a crease of concern in the skin of his forehead. He is bloated with the peace of death. One could almost believe he found his heavenly Mohammedan reward with his six dozen virgins.

Whom do we have to thank for bringing this troubled and troubling soul at last to peace? The liberals, of course. Those wimpy liberals. Who else would reward a psychotic murderer with peace for his soul? And if a liberal is anyone who thinks the invasion of Iraq was a bad idea badly executed by incompetent civilian leadership, then the military is full of them. They come out of the military and run against incumbent Republicans, trying to win the House and Senate back for the Democrats. And now they’ve put al-Zarqawi out this world’s misery.

It’s tempting to say, as so many have, that Rumsfeld, Bush and Cheney’s war was for al-Zarqawi what punk rock celebrity was for Sid Vicious, and that Osama bin Laden and Bush were al-Zarqawi’s Malcolm McLaren and Tipper Gore. But that’s just so much glib frivolity. He was really nothing more than a uniquely pathetic monster, given a uniquely disgusting opportunity by incompetent leaders orchestrating grotesquely deformed circumstances.

Getting back to the photo, that’s really a nice frame they put it in. And it’s nicely matted as well. Very professional job. I wonder if the Pentagon has their own framing department, or if they job it out to a framing store down the block. He’s got a nice, rosy glow, too. Most likely from the blood they wiped off his face—you can see the napkin they used, tossed on the floor to the right of his head; it’s kind of tacky, but it still doesn’t spoil the almost anachronistic placidness of the overall image. It almost looks like one of those old-fashioned hand-colored photos.

It’s probably the most photogenic al-Zarqawi’s ever been. If I were him I’d have that photo on the easel at my memorial ceremony, rather than any of the ones of me when I was alive. There are a couple of photos, when he first started putting on the weight, in which he looks a bit like Ray Stevens, the novelty singer/songwriter from the 1960s and 70s—and some where he looks a bit like disgraced Detroit Tigers pitcher Denny McLain. I’d rather look like Alfred Molina as Pavarotti than like either of those losers any day of the week. Better a dead Pavarotti than a live Ray Stevens.

I wonder if the Pentagon would send a copy to his relatives. I think it would be a nice gesture. If they really are liberals at the Pentagon—and we know they are!—then I’m sure they would be happy to oblige if the family asked nicely, without ululating or firing guns into the air. Plenty of time for that kind of thing at the funeral.

What’s the Pentagon going to do with the body, come to think of it? I hope they give it to some of his kin to ritually dispose of. It’d be a shame not to have some kind of ceremony what with such a nice photo having been taken.

Forgive me, but I just can’t get over it. That is without doubt the most beautiful photo of a dead evil motherfucker I have ever seen. When I first clicked over to the New York Times website and saw it, my heart stopped for a moment. It’s a luminous portrait. That guy is America’s Next Top Model, I said to myself. Maybe even America’s Next Top Landscape.

It’s starting to seem a little creepy, actually, the more I think about it. I kind of wish they’d have fucked up his face a little. Like stamped on it a few times with cleats, or hacked into it with a machete, or burned it a little. How was he killed, anyway? No, I mean really? Yes, I’ve seen the aerial photos of the attack on the building, but what idiot is going to trust those as authentic? They’re not even in color. And they’re not nicely matted. It looks more like they were hastily glued to foam core and then slapped into the frame. Are they even pictures of Iraq? Isn’t that a Baskin-Robbins sign on that building?

Come on, you poisoned the baklava at his favorite restaurant, right, you liberals? And then dragged his body into the nearest rubble? How did he die, really? Not from blunt-face trauma, that’s for sure.

I suppose that’s a secret the liberals will never reveal: how they took out al-Zarqawi. Will his removal from action stop or at least slow down the violence in Iraq? Will it hinder the misguided losers who blow up their own people every few days? Only time will tell. For now, all that’s certain is that the liberals have brought peace to a turbulent soul, and to those he afflicted with his turbulence. And that they took a really nice photo of him. Hauntingly beautiful, all in all.

And I have nothing against the Cheney administration taking pride in the fact al-Zarqawi’s dead. That beautiful photograph belongs to all of us. And if it weren’t for Cheney and his assistant Bush, there would never have been a civil war for al-Zarqawi to excel as an evil motherfucker in, and the liberals would never have had the chance to lay him to rest and get such a gorgeous shot of the dead asshole. So, by all means, let them be proud.

I hear Bush has a copy hanging over his fireplace in Crawford—signed by the victim. Now that’ll be worth a lot someday. What a boon for posterity. The image abounds with resonance. A dead, not-very-worthwhile person has, for a brief moment, albeit in an indirect, passive way, brought beauty and peace to the hearts of humanity. Amen.

This has been the Moment of Truth. Good day!