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The Osama Opening

NEW DELHI – The image, caught on home video, is a defining one: a hunched Osama bin Laden, in pathetic, lonely domesticity, with a grey beard and a blanket covering him like a shawl, surveying the television wasteland for images of himself. How banal this epitome of evil turned out to be.

That is why Osama’s elimination by US commandoes is such a marvelous case study. Start with this question: Was it poetic or divine justice that Al Qaeda’s leader, whose group, born in Peshawar, Pakistan, in 1988, was fathered by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency and midwifed by the CIA, was finally killed by his figurative creators?