I'd finished writing a really beautiful post about al-Zarqawi's latest pronouncements, in a newly released video (you can find it here, at Centcom). I then did the intelligent thing, hitting the "save" button, only to do see my magnum opus vanish entirely. Sadly, I don't have the time to recreate it. I urge you to read the speech yourself. I'll give you my conclusions, though, for what it's worth:
al-Zarqawi is hurting for troops. Despite statements about high morale and repeated victories, he acknowledges that his troops have sacrificed to their limit and, twice, in high-flown classical language, calls for new warriors:
Where are the lions of Al-Anbar? Where are the lions of Salah-al-Din? Where are the men of Baghdad? Where are the knights of Nineva, and the heroes of Diyala? Where are the brave men of Kurdistan? Where are you lions of monotheism?
Zarqawi recognizes that the news is hurting him. He announces that America is in defeat and in retreat. However, in an acknowledgment that the media shows the opposite, he claims that his troops are the victims of an "escalating and collaborated media blackout," and that, absent that blackout, "you would have seen wonders." You're psychotic or lying when you claim invisible victories to advance your position.
al-Zarqawi has been studying the anti-War playbooks for both this war and the Vietnam war. In terms of this War's anti-War effort, he talks in terms of imperialist expansion, sure to push the buttons of any liberal who sees the US seeking to exploit the third world. He also reverts to the Vietnam War by reverting to the big lie that portrayed American soldiers as dissolute, drug-addled, suicidal losers:
Not a single time were you truthful to yourself or your people; even though truthfulness, which you lack, is found in some of your forefathers. Why do not you tell the truth about your soldiers and that their fighting will is rather weak, so that your people will know the truth about this war? Why do not you tell them that your soldiers are continuously committing suicide? Why do not you tell them that your soldiers cannot sleep without taking drugs and hallucination pills and that those pills make them lose their mind to allow your evangelical-Zionist war generals to drag them into the slaughter house? Why do not you tell them about the mass desertion and revolt [which] is growing among the ranks of your soldiers?
As part of this approach, he plays on American fears of an endless war, by reminding us that his soldiers have no love for life, only a love for Allah and victory — making them the sure winners in a fight against our drug-addicts.
al-Zarqawi inspires his followers with a vision of the Caliphate, and makes it clear that a Democratically elected government cannot be the precursor to the Caliphate. All our promises of freedom, and happiness, and goodness simply don't rank against the blood-soaked Caliphate he envisions for his people.
At the same time that al-Zarqawi seeks to unify all Muslims against the "Crusader" oppressors, he's still working on his plan to foment an escalating civil war. He lumps the Sunnis in with the evildoing Crusaders and Zionists. If you can't get all Arabs working together, at least get them fighting against each other so violently that the momentum of that battle itself frightens the West into leaving. And considering the nine year war between Iran and Iraq, with casualties comparable to those we saw in the American civil war, the Arabs are perfectly capable of fighting each other to death, and taking everyone else down with them.
I didn't find al-Zarqawi's communication very impressive, but I'm not a true believer. Of course, even the most mediocre speech can sound inspiring when you're hearing it at gunpoint. And that's the real issue — will al-Zarqawi's rambling pep talk serve his recruiting goals and inspire his existing fighters in such a way that they will have real, rather than just imaginary, victories?