Editorial | Another one bites the dust

Editorial | Another one bites the dust

Life on the run can come to a quick end.

Pretentious fops everywhere like to quote the well-known phrase declaiming that "the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." What they usually mean is that whatever idea they're promoting at the moment will eventually win out because they are on "the right side of history," another tiresome cliche.

The accuracy of the phrase, of course, depends on the length of the arc of history and what actually constitutes justice. All kinds of horrible people have done all kinds of horrible things in pursuit of ideas they deeply believed to be both right and just.

That's why the discussion on the subject is better left to philosophers than political actors.

In the meantime, all that can be said about good inevitably overcoming evil is that it does, except for those occasions when it does not.

Coming under the category of getting the job done the right way is the recent news that the U.S. military has taken out a long-sought bad guy responsible for the deaths of 17 sailors, the wounding of 39 others and the near-sinking in 2000 of the USS Cole.

The military announced over the weekend that al-Qaida bomber Jamal al-Badawi was killed in a missile strike carried out Jan. 1 in the Marib governorate of Yemen.

Al-Badawi, who was indicted in 2003 by a federal grand jury for his role in the attack on the Cole, was the subject of a $5 million reward. With that kind of money on his head, it's no great surprise that some of those who knew of his whereabouts decided to drop a dime on Badawi, a move that led to the U.S. dropping a bomb.

For those who do not recall, the attack on the Cole was part of an escalating series of al-Qaida attacks on U.S. lives and property that culminated in the 9/11 assaults on U.S. targets.

In the Cole, two suicide bombers detonated 1,000 pounds of explosives alongside the destroyer as it was refueling in the port of Aden, located on Yemen's southern coast.

Over the years, Badawi showed himself to be a resourceful and elusive foe. He was reported to have been arrested twice in Yemen and imprisoned on both occasions.

Ultimately, he was reported to have escaped each time, although one can be sure of anything that's supposed to have happened in countries like Yemen.

Ultimately though, Badawi fell prey to the long memory the U.S. brings to hunts for people like him and others, most notably Osama bin Laden.

They can run, and they do — for years at a time. But they cannot hide for an indefinite period of time.

When the U.S. devotes the kind of resources it has on hand to tracking people like Badawi, it's only a matter of time before justice prevails.

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