Overheard on CNN.com: To release or not release images of bin Laden's body?
May 3rd, 2011
06:13 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: To release or not release images of bin Laden's body?

Photos of bin Laden’s body spark debate

As the White House deliberates on whether to make public pictures of Osama bin Laden's dead body, Americans are debating whether they should be.

CNN.com readers said the release could fuel more hatred from Osama bin Laden’s followers while others say that it’s only fair to release the photos considering the terrorist leader had such little regard for those he killed.

laxfan12983 said, “I for one would like to see the entire video. I have been given not a shred of proof that we even captured anyone. Sure a picture would be nice, but this idea that ‘it’s too graphic for the masses,’ if you don't like it don't watch it.” scratchee responded, “I can't believe that all this could go down without the President delivering a dossier of proof to laxfan12983. Next you'll tell me they didn't even tell you about the raid in advance.”

ford429 said, “Show the live feed of the kill shot, not some static photo of a corpse. I want to see him alive before they shot him. Otherwise it does not explain why they buried him at sea after only 10 hours when they had 14 more hours before the 24 hours was up.” tjaxxx said, “The conspiracy theories have reached an unbelievable high all over the world since Bin Laden's death was announced. The White House needs to release the photos, as graphic as they may be.”

JimfromTexas said, “Release the photos and the videos as well. No consideration or social value was given to our citizens and other citizens of the world on 9/11 as they lay dead and dying on TV and in the news print. No worry about how explicit that was!” SthPhilly said, “I've had to see videos and pictures of 9/11 and what Osama had done to our country, I think it's only fair that I get to see what we've done to him.” ddiamondd said, “I believe he's dead AND I want to see the pictures. I don't care who gets mad. If they get mad, chances are they hate us anyway.”

Dulcimer said, “Don't do it! Conspiracy/hoax theorists do not operate on logic and evidence. Do not offer any memorial to this guy.” snowbelle said, “Nothing to be gained by showing any dead person's photo. Why inflame anyone, why continue to make this entire scene more emotionally overheated?” Tetrapod said, “They have to consider the impact of such images in the Muslim world. Is it worth it to release pictures and video that may enrage Muslims and trigger violence, just for the meager reward of maybe convincing a few people that he's dead? It's not an easy choice.” But TheDopePope simply said, “We don't need this crap released. He's dead, it's done, moving on.”

Should we celebrate bin Laden’s death?

Less than an hour after Osama bin Laden’s death was announced, hundreds of Americans spontaneously celebrated in front of the U.S. Capital and at Ground Zero in New York City. The images of the celebrations were captured on television and in print for the world to see, but some religious leaders question whether death is ever something to celebrate.

Many CNN.com readers agreed with them (even those without religious affiliations) while others said they are still (unabashedly) celebrating.

Erika Sudz quoted Martin Luther King, Jr., ‎"Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."

Peter F said, “Celebrating death? How is that morally right? As a Christian, I will celebrate when good triumphs over evil, when God's will is done, but that is totally different from celebrating someone's death.” David said, “I don't like the blatant (and somewhat pious) link between religion and moralism this article implies. As an atheist I find the celebration of anyone's death wrong. Did bin Laden deserve death for his actions? Absolutely! Should we celebrate his death like a bunch of 18th century cowboys at a public hanging? NO!” Artemisia said, “I am an atheist. I am a secular humanist. When I heard that Osama bin Laden was killed, my first reaction was sadness. Not sadness at his death, but sadness for his life and all the despair and destruction it fostered. Osama bin Laden could have done great things; he could have left this earth in better shape than he found it. He chose the opposite.”

GetReal said, “Let's face it – we're humans, not saints, so I say CHEER! If you want a moment of silence, take it for all the American and British troops who risked and lost their lives.” Ty quoted Proverbs 11:10, "When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices, And when the wicked perish, there is joyful shouting.” Joepa said, “I celebrate Bin Laden's death because it means no others will die by his hand.” j01 said, “Morally right? If it was up to me I would dance down 5th Ave with his head on a stick.” Guedde said, “I'm very happy that he was killed in the morning on Monday, May 2nd. This has been my best birthday present in a long time!” Jesse R said, “All I can remember are those poor people on that September morning throwing themselves off of the burning towers. It was awful that day and to finally, finally, kill the animal that was responsible for it is worthy of a celebration.”

Michelle defended the revelers, “The kids who celebrated assembled in a spontaneous manner and maybe they went a little overboard in hindsight, but I do NOT fault them for feeling joyous! This generation of kids has lived half their lives in fear of the boogeyman, Osama bin Laden. They were not old enough to be angry, but they were definitely old enough to be afraid. Leave them alone!”

How much did Pakistan know?

The last of a three-part series of posts by journalist Fareed Zakaria focused on whether Pakistan knew of Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts. In the post, Zakaria points out that Osama bin Laden was not killed in a remote cave in Waziristan, rather that he was living in a large compound near Pakistan’s capital which houses a prestigious Pakistani military academy. And, he says, “It is beyond belief that there could be a compound like bin Laden’s in that location without some elements of the Pakistani military knowing about it.”

So what did CNN.com readers think?

Weird said, “Yeah, it would seem pretty weird if Pakistani officials deny any knowledge of his compound sticking out like a sore thumb. It's too unusual not to notice.” Javier said, “The only thing Pakistan can say is ‘Yeah we were all over it. We co-operated fully with the US.’ What's the other alternative? ‘Yeah, sorry. We've been lying to you for the last 10 years?’” Rob in Atlanta said, “That such a compound could have been constructed five years ago and bin Laden moved in without drawing any attention? Impossible.” Adi said, “Quickest way to earn10 billion and remain relevant in world politics? Hide a 9/11 suspect and pretend to search [for] him!” SK said, “As one of the analysts on Indian TV put it, ‘Pakistan has been caught with its pants down...’”

But AA said, “Have you ever been to a developing country like Pakistan? These types of big houses are every where in big cities. The culture is different and people have high walls around the houses all the time (for privacy). That is very typical.” And Adnan said, “Cheers to all. Pakistan has lost [the] most lives than any other nation on earth due to [the] war on terrorism. Besides getting appreciated for its sacrifices and cooperation Pakistan only gets condemnation.”

Do you feel your views align with these commenters' thoughts? Post a comment below or sound off on video.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

soundoff (822 Responses)
  1. Kristina

    As for me 9/11 hit close to home & I think they should release the video & pictures seeing that the members of Al Qaeda had no remorse or concern when they were cutting off the Heads of our American people over seas & displaying them as if it were some sort of trophy. So I don't see why we should show the slightest ounce of respect for them.

    May 3, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jazzzzzzzz

      you really want to lower yourself to their standards?

      May 3, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • HES

      It's not the matter of respect; It'll create more "anti-American" feelings in those countries. Do you want that to happen?

      May 3, 2011 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. alexios

    as for me i think they should definitley release the photos because we had to suffer and see our friends and family die because of Bin Laden so it is our turn to see him!

    May 3, 2011 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Dukes.E

    To Ford429; consider this: he was buried at sea as quickly as possible. The reason I think is so there will not be a physical location where his buried remains can be turned into some type of memorial. This way people cannot have a physical location to represent him as some type of martyr..just my. 02 🙂

    May 3, 2011 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ben desouza

    i think they should release the photos of his body, so that we can see how bad he looks and celebrate

    May 3, 2011 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • andrew'sgladosamaisdead


      Yeah MAN!

      May 3, 2011 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Joey

    I do not want to see the pictures.
    I believe that bin Laden is dead because it would be too dangerous for Obama to lie about it.
    Do not let anyone glorify the terrorist by showing the pictures of his corpse surrounded by flowers and monuments.

    May 3, 2011 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joey

      They need to show the pictures to the public. I still suspect that this is just an Usama bin Laden look alike as the true Usama bin Laden died years ago of nephritis.

      May 3, 2011 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
  6. andrew'sgladosamaisdead

    I think the US should post his pictures. I think to verify the situation, but also for those families who lost relatives and friends. I know I would print it out and rip it up. I know many people who lost their lives in 9 11. This should definitly be posted.

    If it is for security purposes, the government should block right-click (no copy/paste or not allow printing) THEIR IS A WAY TO BLOCK ALL OF THAT!

    May 3, 2011 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fredrik

      No, there isn't any way to display images without making them public. The simplest way to save a photo with right click disabled would be to simply press "print screen" on any standard keyboard. I do think they should release the photo though, even if it causes the terrorists to decide to attack now. One thing I've noticed is that when you look into these individual terrorists they always seem to have direct ties to all the other terrorist stuff you've ever heard of, implying that there simply arent that many people involved. Let the few of them insane enough to try it attack us now while we're ready for it. If anything, maybe seeing the cold dead corpse of their leader will make them a little less convinced that they're going to fantasy paradise land

      May 3, 2011 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
  7. guyfkws

    We're speaking of "Muslims" as if all muslims hate america, No in fact they don't. Yes there are extremists out there that do hate america but not releasing the photo's doesnt make them hate us less than they already do. This is a worldwide event, Many different countries as well as people are asking about the photos. These people are part of a terrorist orginization, they don't care for our feelings as they do not care for anything we do. For example we were living our simple american lives when 9/11 happened. They hated us from the start and will still hate us. They're extremists and the only way of stopping them is to get rid of them. But just as the war on drugs has inevitably not gotten anywhere so will this. There will always be extremists out there, And chances are they hate us. To settle the rest of the worlds "Conspiracy Theories" I believe these photo's shouldve been put out a while ago. This man killed Thousands upon Thousands of people Including our own military. Did they Censor The beheading of our military men and women? No they didnt, Did they censor the hanging of Saddam Husein no they didnt. America needs proof that he's dead and thats that. For the families of 9/11 and the families of troops that have died in sacrifice for us to be what we are today, and that's America the land of the free.

    May 3, 2011 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Travis A Hiland

    I say show the video I wanna see the look on his face rite before a bullet went through it it can't be any worse than watching people jumping 900 ft. to there death on fire.

    May 3, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Joey

    If they ever release the pictures of this purported Usama bin Laden,it'll be only after the C.I.A. had a chance to doctor them over. I was surprised however,by the announcement that they shot bin Laden down in cold like I suspected all along. They usually leave that covered up.

    May 3, 2011 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kristina

      Oh yes i believe they would be doctored sooooo much enough not to offend more people then intended to.

      May 3, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Byron Pearce

    Next time Wolf has an opportunity to question a Pakistani Government Official, e.g. Ambassador, President, etc., he should ask them if by any chance will the Bin Laden Data Analysis Task Force find any data linking any Pakistani government official to Bin Laden, his compound or Taliban/Al Qaeda.

    Incidentally; referring to the Special Operations Team/Forces as the ' Special Forces ' is inaccurate. There is only one Special Forces and that is the US Army Special Forces Group Airborne (SFGA.) The SOT, in all probability, consisted of the best of the best from the various SOT providers, e.g SEALS, SFGA, Delta, CIA Op, etc., representing a multidisciplinary team with skills directly aligning with the mission requirements. etc.

    May 3, 2011 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jamie B.

    If they release pictures now they could be photo shopped. I think they need to show a video to prove that he is dead.

    May 3, 2011 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Monique

    I can see both sides of whether or not to release the images of the corpse...what I do NOT understand is why this person needs to be GLORIFIED by having his LIVE IMAGE on the surface of every form of public media. I find that EXTREMELY OFFENSIVE! Do Americans really want or need to see bin Laden's face everywhere?!

    May 3, 2011 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thankanavyseal

      In total agreement with you!

      May 4, 2011 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Cassiie x

    i think that the american should not have killed him straight away.. they should have touchared his first .. had him feel pain if you just killed him .. he was in mo pain what so ever so in a way he died a peaceful death ....... i think that the body ov osame bin lardin should be shpwn because alot of ppl are at dout that he is dead and it would make ppl peef much better.. i dnt think tghat they should burn.beat.abuse the bead body.. yes i kno even doe its dead...... but at least ppl with feel like he has sufferd and they have achived something ... (sorry for the bad spelling.. im dislectic) x

    May 3, 2011 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |

    they need 2 show his body. y would they show sadam's body? And his neck streched about a1ft after hanging him. At least put it on a website so people has a choice weather they want to see it or not.Because he sure didn't have no respect for the people he killed "or had klled"on 9/11 god bless there soul and familys all our prayers are still with them and all our brave soldiers.i would like to see it myself but this is just my opinion.GOD BLESS AMERICA

    May 3, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kristina

      my thoughts exactly....

      May 3, 2011 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Linari

    If, in fact, ObL died in 2002, don't you think GWB would have been all over that like white on rice? And please don't feed me any of those theories that the Carlyle Group is behind 9/11, either. That's just a load of bat guano.

    May 3, 2011 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • ShayShay

      Whatever the President feels is appropriate in regards to showing the photos of the dead Osama, I will support. What I don't want to see is us trying to appease the Taliban, the Muslim Extremists, or the ignorant people who believe in conspiracy theories even when faced with the truth. The evil forces we are fighting in this world are like schoolyard bullies. Whatever they want from us, I would give them the opposite. If they want to see the photos, don't show them and vice versa. If they don't like we buried him at sea, too bad, so sad, we did it. Live with it.

      May 3, 2011 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Oz

      keep drinking the kool aide bro......

      May 3, 2011 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
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