Low-Value Target

From Holden:

Oh, this is rich. The New York Sun’s Eli Lake reports [via Garance Franke-Ruta] that the commanders on the ground in Iraq thought Zarqawi was not all that.

Even as American and Iraqi soldiers were closing in on Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the commander of the American forces in Iraq was trying to get Washington to lower the terrorist leader’s importance and profile.

In May, the Multinational Forces in Iraq sent a cable marked “secret” to the Pentagon requesting that the reward of $25 million for Zarqawi’s capture be reduced, according to military and administration officials.

The request was part of a recalculation by American war planners who had noticed that the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq’s role in the insurgency was gradually diminishing after Iraq’s foreign fighters, Islamists, and irredentist Baathists in January formed a new umbrella terror organization known as the Mujahadin Shura Council, or consultative council of holy warriors.