Interestingly enough, the alleged leader, A. M. al-Zarqawi was little known throughout the world until Bu$hCo suddenly proclaimed him the leader of a-Q in Iraq, which in fact had never been heard of before Bu$hCo and CENTCOM, imitating Col Tom Parker said, "C'mere, cat. Ah'm gonna make you a star" a la Bobby Bare. Needing to explain their inability to control Iraq after the short-sheet conquest, and bearing in mind that the next stop was Iran, it was necessary to introduce the concept of "foreign fighters" early and often.
Thus was born the legend of A. M. al-Zarqawi, the deadliest one-legged terrorist/assassin in the Middle East. We got to hear a lot about him for three years. Every audacious attack, each outrageous atrocity was blamed on him. Bombings, beheadings, exploding trucks at embassies, spoiled whipped cream at Carvels and Dairy Queens - all was chalked up to al-Zarqawi.
Al-Zarqawi was our creation, just as Osama bin-Forgotten was. My unit helped deliver weapons and advisers into Pakistan 20 years ago to support Osama and the Mujaheddin in their war against the Soviets in Afghanistan (I was only on one operation in that mission). At least I can understand our helping Osama at the time, though we should have killed the lot of them once the Russians left.
Al-Zarqawi, like Osama, was a product of his environment, created to fight a proxy war with an occupying army. Were it not for the Soviets in the '80s, Osama would be just another rich Saudi. Were it not for Bush and Cheney and their imperialistic misadventures, al-Zarqawi would be just another Jordanian. They are our Frankenstein's monsters.
That said, believing anything that comes out of Iraq or is related to the 'War on Terra' is difficult for me. There has been so much lying, disinformation, and ineptitude that taking anything at face value is naive and gullible. Not when everything about this war has been used (though not very successfully) to Bush's political advantage. Yeah, I'm cynical, but that isn't a slight of the troops who put their butts on the line to get this guy. The thing that really gets me is, they wouldn't be in the position in the first place were it not for the lies and deception perpetrated by this White House.