We have confirmation: President Bush could have nailed Zarqawi prior to the Iraq invasion, but opted not to take the shot.
This story, previously based on anonymous sourcing, now comes from the mouth of Mike Scheuer, who served as the head of the CIA's bin Laden unit until he retired in 2004. Scheuer tells Australian TV that the real reason Zarqawi today is a sentient being is that our diplomatic efforts to entice the French into the "coalition of the willing" trumped the prime directive of the War on Terror —preemptively killing terrorists.
"It was more important not to give the Europeans the impression we were gunslingers," said Scheuer. "Mr Bush had Zarqawi in his sights almost every day for a year before the invasion of Iraq and he didn't shoot because they were wining and dining the French in an effort to get them to assist us in the invasion of Iraq."
"Almost every day we sent a package to the White House that had overhead imagery of the house he was staying in," Sheuer said. "It was a terrorist training camp...experimenting with ricin and anthrax...any collateral damage there would have been terrorists."