The World's Real-Life Fairy Tale
Single-Minded: Just as the prince and princess married in a fantasy wedding, Barack Obama rode in to slay the dragon.
Then Barack Obama rode in without need of any shining armor. Just one day after pwning Grand Birther Donald Trump at the White House Correspondents' Association annual dinner, the president announced at the stroke of midnight on Sunday that a real-life villain had been slain. "For over two decades, [Osama] bin Laden has been al-Qaida's leader and symbol, and has continued to plot attacks against our country and our friends and allies," he said. "The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation's effort to defeat al-Qaida."
Capping off a week of natural disasters, royal-wedding overdoses and reality-star roasting, Obama became the world's champion in the never-ending story line of good versus evil. Despite the president's brief attempt to temper fervor with the line, "[Bin Laden's] death does not mark the end of our effort," his rapt audience was already on its way to celebrate. Crowds shouting "USA!" and "Obama killed Osama!" assembled in front of the White House, America's castle. Identical throngs gathered at the former site of the World Trade Center. It was a "Ding-dong, the witch is dead" moment.
But the truth is that Osama bin Laden, founder of the murderous militant group al-Qaida and mastermind of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, was no Wicked Witch of the West. For the past decade, bin Laden's continued success at evading capture while murdering innocents around the globe has been a terrible reminder of the indiscriminate nature of both violence and justice. His death is the death of an incontrovertibly guilty man and an extremely powerful icon.
But unlike the demise of Adolf Hitler, who took his own life at the end of a war he'd already lost, bin Laden's death comes at a different time in a war that some would say we still don't truly understand. One we're still no closer to winning, despite the cheering in the streets. And if comedies always end in weddings, and tragedies in funerals, then how will this tale end?