Gee, I, er, hope it’s not true:

An Iraqi man who was one of the first people on the scene of the U.S. airstrike targeting Abu Musab al-Zarqawi said he saw American troops beating a man who had a beard like the al Qaeda leader.

The witness, who lives near the house where al-Zarqawi spent his last days, said he saw the man lying on the ground near an irrigation canal. He was badly wounded but still alive, the man told Associated Press Television News.

U.S. troops arriving on the scene wrapped the man’s head in an Arab robe and began beating him, said the local man, who refused to give his name or show his face to the camera. His account could not be independently verified.

As they say, some stories are too good to check.

But what if he’s right? The mere thought of it fills me with — what’s the word? Ah yes. “Heart-ache.”

Update: The autopsy has begun. Meanwhile, Zarqawi might have been a Wahhabist but his women certainly weren’t: found among the wreckage were “a leopard skin nightgown and other skimpy women’s clothes.”

Update: Shocking! New! Revelations! from the Therapist and Jeff Goldstein.

Update: More “bad” news.