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. Joyce

    how can anyone not celebrate the death of osama bin laden?
    do you know how happy the families of the tens of thousands of people who died under obl's orders are?
    getting rid of obl is like getting rid of the devil...
    this death is one exceptional death that can be celebrated.
    and RELEASE THE PHOTOS. everyone deserves to see this son of a _______ dead, gorey or not.
    if they dont want to see it, then DONT SEE IT.
    there are for sure more people who wants to see the pictures than those who don't want to see it.
    ok bye.
    -celebrates obl's death- 😀

    May 3, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Angela from Atlanta


      May 3, 2011 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Psyclops

    @Marine: I'm on the fence and would be swayed by an actual release of information. Not all doubters are conspiracy theorists. The problem with America is you can't question anyone in the government without being called a birther, teabagger or liberal socialist. Bush/Cheyney told the CIA not to pursue Bin Laden and after ten years I believe we have the right to know for sure if our government finally got him. Many people who question authority do so, because we've been lied to before.

    May 3, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mark

    I don't see any point in releasing pics. They'll do absolutely nothing to prove he was actually killed, especially after waiting so long. In fact it will probably just encourage conspiracy theorists. It's bad enough we have anonymous sicko's filling the internet with gruesome pics and video. We don't need the U.S. government doing it to.
    It still angers me that American negligence enabled a generation of kids too gawk at a video of an infamous tyrants gruesome execution. Something most kids would hopefully not think to look for and would have to put at least a little effor in to finding.
    Haven't we screwed them up enough in the last decade?

    May 3, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Erin

    They should NOT be released! What good could possibly come of it?? A bunch of conspiracy theorists MAY feel satisfied? It won't make any difference....if they don't believe our military heroes, then they will definitely say the photo is fake. PLUS by not releasing it, it will bring all the racists and bigots out of the closet...just like NOT releasing the birth certificate did....Personally I'd love to see which Republicans are gonna try and promote that this is a big conspiracy...America is slowly waking up to their B.S.

    May 3, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Geoff R

    Releasing a photo of bin laden willl bring him back to life in the minds of people who view the photo. Right now he is dead and no one knows what he looks like at 54. Leave it that way. The photo will be used on web sites, book covers, etc. and will spread the image of bin laden everywhere bringing hiim back to life. Let him be dead. It will recreated the man we all want to forget. It will come back to haunt the U.S. because that photo will spread like wildfire around the world and inspire new terrorists to take up the cause. They will see that the U.S. shot this guy and that will enrage them further. You killed him and why do we need a photo as proof. Why not show me his dead body in a casket if you want to prove it.

    May 3, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Sickpnai

    Photos or no photos OBL is dead or not dead the conspiracy will never go away there will always be someone saying it never happened.

    May 3, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
  7. awesomegirlz

    i think they should post the picture to show the people who have killed 100s of lifes

    May 3, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mary Moran

    Don't share photos with world. Those who are rational know he's dead. The extremists do not have the right to see it and then use it for their propaganda. If the US wants to share it with other world leaders they should do it via video conference live and let that be that. Sane people know he is dead.

    May 3, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. lance green

    This photo may quench the curiosity of conspiracy theorist, but it may enrage the fundamentalists that felt Osama was a hero. He may already be a martyr in their circles, why throw fuel on the fire?
    Though I understand the white house is in need of the approval and trust of the American people, I do believe that the potential backlash and bloodshed is not worth the risk.

    I believe it is more logical than not that he is dead... the government lying about someone being dead is radically difficult considering the potentiality that he could surface again in the future. I have more reason to believe than not believe.

    May 3, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  10. xray

    the govt could recoup the cost of the raid by putting the video on pay per view

    May 3, 2011 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Lo

    Just put it somewhere so that its not on national tv. If people want to see it, they can go see it, if they dont then they can go sit with their thumbs up their asses and not worry about it.

    May 3, 2011 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
  12. CMMReporter

    why wouldnt they release the photos? We paid for them

    May 3, 2011 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Claire Moore

    Release both the video and photos. Nobody will believe it otherwise.

    May 3, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Brittany

    Yes, the pictures should be released – when I was in the second grade, I remember watching the live footage of the Twin Towers falling, and seeing pictures that definitely had disturbing material. It's nothing the kids these days haven't already witnessed, with their video games and special effects. They can handle it.

    May 3, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Psyclops

    Not a republican, birther, teabagger, conspiracy theorist, or insane. Our government regularly lies to us and the world, so I demand a bit of proof. The crazy ones are the ones who blindly follow a man like he's God. Lol

    May 3, 2011 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |
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