On May 1, 1945 Germany made public the death of the notorious warlord Adolf Hitler. Exactly sixty-six years later, the United States likewise pronounced the end of another madman, announcing the killing of Osama bin Laden less than a thousand yards from the most elite military installation in Pakistan.
It was at 2230 hours when a newsreader announced that the Fuhrer had fallen at his command post fighting to the last breath. Likewise, President Obama broke the news about bin Laden at 2230 hours as he addressed the nation from the White House.
Hitler's thousand-year Reich (or “empire”) lasted 12 years and three months. bin Laden's vision for the recovery of the Muslim “Dhimmi” (or “rule of the righteous”) began in 1979 when he joined Afghan resistance against a Soviet military occupation before turning against Americans in the 1998--and then afterward, inspiring, if not masterminding, the global terrorist network, al-Qaeda.
Together, Hitler and bin Laden have joined a long line of would-be-rulers-of-the-world foiled at last by the dumb certainties of experience, the courage of a few, and the commitment of many.