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. Stephanie

    YES release the photos! We should have the CHOICE whether or not to look at them! Some people that deserve justice deserve to see them!

    May 3, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bayou mawmaw

      I agree with Stephanie! Remember we were shown the victims as they jumped from the burning towers!

      May 3, 2011 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mark

    I think the photo should be released. Actually seeing the photo would bring closure to Americans and other photos of other terrorists were released including Saddam. It would also prove to the Pakistani, Afghan People , and other countries and members of terrorist groups that he is truly dead. I do not think a lot of them will believe it until they see proof.

    May 3, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ken

    They should have brought his body back to New York and had a parade. Then they should have wrapped his body in bacon and buried him with his buttocks in the air pointed toward Mecca. That would have even been too good for this evil man. I think he has found out by now that it's not virgins he was going to meet.

    May 3, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Leonard Skipper

    Do not release the photos or footage. It will not only outrage the muslim community even more, but it will prove nothing to ease the minds of those who have their minds made up that this was a conspiracy. No matter what you do, their will always be skeptics.

    May 3, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Think

      Of course the photos need to be released. I can't understand how so many americans are so gullible and automatically believe whatever their government tells them. How can anyone believe that the WORLDS MOST WANTED MAN (can't express that enough) is dead without proof? I mean come on.. I also find it out odd that they choose to just kill him instead of taking him alive in which he would be more vaulable in the war on terror. They could of easily interrogated a 54 year man on the whereabouts of his top Lieutenants. Here in the US they can take down the MAFIA hundreds at a time without any deaths but cannot raid a compound with 18 people, most of which are children and take him alive.

      May 3, 2011 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
  5. John

    The reason for quickly putting him in the sea is rather obvious and very smart move. To bury him and keep him around only makes him a martyr for the type who would support him. Very smart move just get rid of quickly and move on.

    May 3, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. justin

    i think they should release the photos and the videos did he give the people that he murdered any privacy? The answer to that is absolutely not. I think it is only fair for us to know that he is really dead and was not dead when we found him it would make us all happier to know that he was killed by the US and not hoaxed

    May 3, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
  7. DN

    Celebrating the death of another human being, regardless of his actions, is sickening. Parading the streets, popping champagne, and acting like buffoons just goes to show what type of respect we have for human life. A human being is a human being, and the death of one human being should never be celebrated. Does he deserve to be killed? Of course. But the celebration, not so much.

    May 3, 2011 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Sickpnai

    We don't even know if it was Bin Laden, there is no proof who those people were in that mansion..they could have been ordinary plant. As far as I know it's not Bin Laden, the furious, the terror, the evil, not the kind I would assume who killed thousand and thousand of people. With the billion of dollars the US govt. has spent on Pakistani kickbacks, so what do you think of the million dollars mansion you purchased in Pakistan came from? why no guards? oh! we don't want any Pakistani Military killed!

    May 3, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
  9. J. D.

    The video should be shown. Too graphic? Couldn't be more graphic than watching people jumping out of the Twin Towers. Couldn't be more graphic than watching as thousands of helpless innocent people die as the Towers crumble.

    May 3, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
  10. voteacratout

    Should have feed him to the wild hogs in Texas

    May 3, 2011 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Bob (Illinois)

    No, the photograph should not be released. People who still think he is alive will not be convinced by a photograph. To people who believe he is dead a photograph will not make any difference.

    Then, there is the question regarding the photograph being used by his "followers" as a rallying point.

    May 3, 2011 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Eric

    photos dont mean sh!t any of you that thinks they will havent heard of photo shop

    May 3, 2011 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
  13. jimmy orr

    After spending approximately 50 billion dollars a year for 10 years, largely because of this particular individual, I believe the American people have the right to see the photographs taken. Will obama produce them, or is this going to become another issue much the same as his birth certificate was ?

    May 3, 2011 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Angela from Atlanta


      May 3, 2011 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Sickpnai

    Pakistani Military or government knew OBL was there. If you live in a police state the government knows what, when, where every than about every body.

    May 3, 2011 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • DN

      Fishy how they claimed they didn't know he was residing in Pakistan though. Like they didn't know who was living on the compound of a mansion in a residential neighborhood.

      May 3, 2011 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Name*Al

    If you show the pictures it will look a trophy kill and it will cause more hate toward the US.

    May 3, 2011 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • ProudtobeanAmerican

      Sadly many American's didnt have the choice of their death being aired on 9/11 so why should Bin Laden's death be given the option? Stand up behind your country... a mass killer has finally been taken down and let that message be sent to any other "threats" that the same would happen to them.

      May 3, 2011 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
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