Killing Osama bin Laden is enough to make Superman take back the American citizenship he renounced. This was the week we deserved. It was demoralizing to have the terrorist of 9/11 escape for so long. Now we learn that he lived the luxurious life in hiding, not in a cave with spiders and grubs, scribbling drawings on the walls for future archeologists to decipher. Instead, he enjoyed the comfort of a million-dollar mansion. Of course, it wasn't high tech -- and what did Osama and his house party do all do day if they weren't wired?
Fortunately, our intelligence services were indeed wired, with sound and surveillance cameras and staffed with clever men and women who could find clues in the messages brought by couriers, working behind 18-foot walls topped by razor wire. What a triumph.
Today, Osama bin Laden reads like a comic book villain that Superman would have made short work of in the old days when patriotism was a crucial element of the popular culture. One Superman comic-book cover from 1942 depicted him holding Hitler and Tojo aloft, one in each hand, shaking them like rats in the jaws of cats.
Superman was created by two Jews, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, as a force for good, mocking Hitler's conceit that Nazi Germany would produce a race of supermen. Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's propaganda minister, hated Superman comics and stomped about in rage at the character's embodiment of American values.
But Superman today says, "Truth, Justice and the America Way -- It's Not Enough Anymore." The original Superman would have approved of slipping the archvillain into the sea to feed the fishes. Who knows what the imposter of the Man of Steel thinks.
Of course, life is not a comic book, though sometimes it seems that way. Before Osama was dispatched to the nether regions, the focus of our politics was aimed at clowns and jokers. Now we can get down to serious business.
The president rose to the occasion in his speech in the East Room, acknowledging that he had pursued the search that George W. set in motion. And now we learn from Leon Panetta, the outgoing director of the CIA, that some of the information that led to the discovery of Osama's hideout was obtained through "enhanced interrogation techniques." He acknowledged, when pressed by NBC's Brian Williams, that such techniques included "waterboarding."
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