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. Sickpnai

    Watch out for Osama bin Laden's Verius from pic's

    May 4, 2011 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
  2. Molly

    Too bad the MLK quote wasn't really a quote by Martin Luther King, Jr. It was fabricated. CNN, I expected more from you!

    May 4, 2011 at 12:03 am | Report abuse |
  3. Rhonda

    Release the video. If not to the entire country, the families affected by 9/11 deserve the opportunity to view the video. When an individual in this country commits a murder and is sentenced to death, the victims family has the right to watch the execution. Thus, this should be no different. All those affecting by the events of 9/11 deserve to see proof. Allow the victims to choose whether to view the vidoe or not. Just my thoughts.

    May 4, 2011 at 12:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Doctor

      just for the record, everyone in the world got affected after 9/11. not just the people who lost their loved ones even though they have my warmest sympathies

      May 4, 2011 at 12:10 am | Report abuse |
  4. Luposian

    Let's see the pics/video/whatever, so we can at least say we saw proof that he WAS killed. As a Christian, I'd celebrate, if I heard he got saved, but being he was wicked til the end, I only know that his punishment, after death, will last for an eternity. Wailing and gnashing of teeth for those who don't accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior...

    May 4, 2011 at 12:05 am | Report abuse |
  5. Doctor

    why burring the corpse in sea? the only thing i don't understand is that the Govt could had showed the whole world the dead corpse which then would had been a strong example and a warning to the people with bad intentions for the nation. once done they could have gotten rid of the body anyway they wanted.

    May 4, 2011 at 12:08 am | Report abuse |
  6. Hesgone

    He's dead; next. BZ to the national security team, SEAL Team 6 and the behind-the-scenes supporting cast. No need for pics or video; they'll just inflame. His absence from view (in tapes) for the next year will pretty much be the proof. Any crazy conspiracy theorists that crawl out of their holes and claim this is a hoax should find another way to get attention they didn't get when they were young'ins.

    May 4, 2011 at 12:10 am | Report abuse |
  7. Jon

    Release a photo. We NEED to have a photo. I NEED to have a photo. Americans have waited almost ten years for this moment. A moment to justify ten years of war. This is why I fought for you. People have died for this. Just give us the pictures and let this be a warning to our enemies that the United States of America will never quit, we will never fade, and its only a matter of time until we find you and bring you to justice. I AM PROUD OF AMERICA

    May 4, 2011 at 12:13 am | Report abuse |
  8. danielle

    I think that we have gone through enough heck with this guy, that we should be able to see the footage.

    May 4, 2011 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
  9. Chuckie Wuckie

    FOR YOU FAR LEFT WINGERS OUT THERE... IF OSAMA IS DEAD IT'S JUSTICE! IF AN UNREPENTENT SERIAL KILLER IS KILLED IT'S JUSTICE. HE INTENTIONALLY TARGETED INNOCENT PEOPLE, ENCOURAGED THE MURDER OF INNOCENT PEOPLE, RECRUITED POOR AND HOPELESS CHILDREN TO KILL INNOCENT PEOPLE... THE DEATH OF OSAMA BIN LADEN IS JUSTICE!

    THE LIFE WE LEAD WITHIN THE UNITED STATES, WITHIN THE WALLS OF FREEDOM, WERE BUILT WITH THE BLOOD OF HEROES; HEORES WHO WERE FORCED TO MAKE LIFE AND DEATH DECISIONS. HISTORY HAS TAUGHT US TIME AFTER TIME, THAT THOSE WHO REFUSE TO TAKE UP ARMS AGAINST THE MARCH OF TYRANNY, ARE CRUSHED BENEATH IT'S BOOTS.

    IF BIN LADEN IS DEAD, JUSTICE IS DONE! IF THE U.S. HAS TAKEN HIM INTO CUSTODY FOR "ENHANCED INTEROGATION" AND CREATED AN AWESOME COVER STORY TO PREVENT THE MEDIA AND INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY FROM ASKING ABOUT HIS WELL BEING, HE REAPED WHAT HE SOWED. EITHER WAY, REAL WORLD JUSTICE HAS BEEN DONE!

    May 4, 2011 at 12:19 am | Report abuse |
  10. mike

    We watched as 3,000 people lost their lives when 4 planes went down on September 11, 2001. The front pages of new papers and magazines displayed fiery explosions, and a smoking world trade center. Yet, the photos that will prove of the man behind all of this to be dead, will be too graphic?

    May 4, 2011 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |
  11. Chris

    Release the video for everyone to view. The only way for everyone and the families of the victims of 9/11 to have closure and see that justice has been served is for everyone have the chance to see the video for themselves. They released videos of torturing and murdering our US Citizens, It is only fair that we be allowed to see the video of justice served.

    May 4, 2011 at 12:25 am | Report abuse |
  12. Zeyneb

    they released the video of sadam hussein being hung, why shouldn;t they release it.

    May 4, 2011 at 12:25 am | Report abuse |
  13. Blue collar American.

    Absolutely want to see a photo!!! The WORLD deserves that!! Maybe after it's posted we should show that American being beheaded online again!!!!!!!!!!!! Post it now!!!!!!!!

    May 4, 2011 at 12:26 am | Report abuse |
  14. Tom

    @scratchee, It's fine if you want to believe everything they feed you , but some Americans like to hear something call truth and truth comes a long with proof. So go head believe everything that you're told, we'll stick to proof.

    May 4, 2011 at 12:28 am | Report abuse |
  15. David Stanley

    Yes they should have released the photographs or at least shown footage of the body being dumped at Sea or we need to hear testimony from the SEALS team or some kind of witness to come forward and tell us that this happened. It's not that I don't trust our Government...well...I DON'T.

    May 4, 2011 at 12:28 am | Report abuse |
    • dipofchew

      You don't have to trust it completely but you need to support it. It is this pure lack of citizen support that leads others to call our country weak. We killed a mad man, terrorist, purely evil person and all you can come up with is that you don't trust the government. Yes there are times where the government has come to seem "shady" but you need to go back to what this country was before it was even a country. George Washington would have mushroom stamped you for your lack of appreciation of this grand country. Mexicans trying to hop the border are more supportive of our government than you are. I guarantee they would wave the red, white, and blue everyday before you would even consider holding the flag proudly. Stand behind your country and be grateful it doesn't execute all of those who oppose it. You're lucky to have the 1st amendment at your side; wait that is the work of the government. Time to start supporting it a little more. With your diarrhea of the mouth, thats the only thing keeping you from becoming another stone in a cemetery. Punk

      May 4, 2011 at 1:14 am | Report abuse |
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