On CNN last night they were making repeated comparisons between Osama bin Laden and Adolf Hitler, but it seems to me the more apt comparison is to John Wilkes Booth: a spoiled rich kid who convinced himself he had a starring role in the divine plan, who changed history through a single violent act, and who contrary to his own expectations will be remembered not as a hero but as a murderer.
It’s too bad the timelines couldn’t have been more similar: Booth lasted all of twelve days after shooting Lincoln, while Bin Laden has been “hiding in a cave” for so long that I’d almost ceased to think of him as a real person. My initial reaction to the news was this weird dissonance, as if the Navy SEALs had killed the boogeyman.
I am very glad they got him, and hope this brings some solace to the families of the victims. I also hope this means the war is over.