The Osama Opening

If the world is to reap the benefits of Osama bin Laden's death, the respective national aims of Afghanistan, the US, India, Pakistan, Iran, and the region’s other important countries must somehow be reconciled. The US has a unique opportunity to assist in finding the correct regional balance.

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?

This question leads to two more that are anything but rhetorical: Where, in the end, does the fault for Bid Laden’s murderous decades lie? And will his death mark the end of global jihadist terrorism?