Life After Death

HAMED ZALMY /AFP/Getty

The latest victory in the war on terrorism took place on the night of May 11 in Helmand province, Afghanistan. U.S. intelligence had tracked Mullah Dadullah, thought to be the Taliban's top guerrilla commander, to a location near the border with Pakistan. By all accounts, what happened next was a model of surgical counterterrorism. When it was over, the Americans delivered Dadullah's corpse to Afghan authorities, who draped it in hot-pink sheets and displayed it for photographers in Kandahar, a ghoulish ritual that now attends the killing of any high-value terrorist target.

And yet the celebration,...

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