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Dispatched, Finally

As it happens, Osama bin Laden, a child of privilege, was killed not in a cave or a rustic village or some heroic hideout, but safe and protected at a Pakistani mansion.  He met his end at the hands of Navy SEAL Team Six, more than capable of taking the fight to anyone.  As Orwell reminded us, we can be comfortable in our beds because rough men protect us.  Hats off to them.

The focus is of course on New York and the other two planes, but bin Laden has been at this for a long time. He's killed people across the globe and inspired mayhem not just here but in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, London, Africa, Russia and countless other places.

It's probably impossible to know, but we would wager that more Muslims have died at his hands than non-Muslims.  Like Lenin, he didn't mind cracking a few eggs to make his omelet.

Clearly, bin Laden tapped into some things that the vast majority of Americans find incomprehensibly barbaric but which undeniably attracted a lot of sympathy, even among some non-Muslims.  Yet in the end, his goals for the West might have been more achievable than his goals for the Muslim world.  What he sought was a purity that was, really, fascism disguised as faith.  The only way it could be achieved is by brutality, intimidation, and mass killings.

His death will undoubtedly cause much anger in some quarters, but those who sympathize with him should ponder the fate of Ernst Roehm and Leon Trotsky, who were merely disposable means to an end for Hitler and Stalin.  Men like bin Laden have little regard for anyone else's life or circumstance, whether friend or enemy.  Whatever their motivation, they seek power, and do what they must to keep it, and that includes killing loyal followers when necessary.  To face in the final minutes of your life that it has been wasted on a cold-blooded killer who has in the end turned on you, too, must be unspeakably devastating.  Among those who came to that belated realization were the woman or women who were reportedly used as human shields to protect the supposed great warrior and so lost their lives.

In principle, we would have preferred to see him taken alive and shown to be just a man, taken from his mansion, slapped into irons, given a trial and then hung, preferably at Ground Zero.

Lacking that level of justice, a bullet in the head will suffice.

By the way, his corpse presented a problem of sorts:  a grave would become a shrine.  This problem was resolved by burying him at sea.