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. Tom

    PS – I want the video from the pentagon showing a plane hitting it, not five random video frames showing nothing. When they show you nothing, they're hiding a lot.

    May 4, 2011 at 12:30 am | Report abuse |
    • dipofchew

      Idiot!!! It was a time capture camera that took intermittent video. That gives you the frame by frame view. if you think for one second that the pentagon was not struck by an airplane then I suggest to you that you jump off a bridge. All of you conspiracy theorists need to give it a REST!!!! It sickens me. Oh the government did this and that; b.s.!!! Listen to the victims families testimonials. Do me and the country a favor and go to the US-Mexico border and shoot some drug lords. Then you might gain some respect in this country. D-BAG

      May 4, 2011 at 1:05 am | Report abuse |
    • The Dude


      May 4, 2011 at 1:06 am | Report abuse |
  2. Psyclops

    @Tye: Have you ever seen REAL pictures of head wounds? A small entrance wound followed by a larger exit wound would leave the brains leaking out the exit wound. You can easily look up gang shooting pictures or even Kennedy's autopsy photos where the damage was not as severe yet the brains are mutilated. The team of frauds that made your photo saw one too many movies and never once took a human anatomy course. To the untrained eye it may look real, but even a novice like me can tell it's fake. The Guardian and CNN have said it's a fake too. These makeup artists are amateurs trying to get some quick publicity. Sorry about being so graphic, but I need to explain what happens to the human body. That whole area would be hollowed out.

    May 4, 2011 at 12:33 am | Report abuse |
  3. John

    Release the photo and/or video. We watched as people jumped from the World Trade Center and committed suicide to avoid being burnt to death. We deserve nothing less than to see the same of him.

    May 4, 2011 at 12:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Emily Clark-Green

      Yes, Yes, Yes...the Jumpers. I can never erase those horrible images from my mind, but a view of Osama's dead corpse would be good trade-off. Although viewing a photograph can never repair the damage he has done to our country, it is just the kind of closure many of us, who watch the television programs each year pertaining to September 11th on it's anniversary, need to move forward. On horrible morning, I was holding my newborn son in my arms, while watching these horrifying scenes: the jumpers who had only one choice left (how to die) would never have the opportunity to hold their children or loved ones again. I do believe that he is gone, but for the all the pain, suffering, loss, fear, depression, and more he has caused forever, let us see that he's no longer going to be able to affect us in such a way again.

      May 4, 2011 at 1:29 am | Report abuse |
  4. US Soldier

    Pakistan celebrated just moments after, by burning the American Flag in their countries streets, the Twin Towers collapsed killing thousands of innocent Americans, not even Soldiers! So why shouldn't we celebrate? We showed footage & images of Americans jumping out of buildings so they would burn & suffer to death but hopefully die instantly instead of slow. Why not show us AMERICANS what we have waited patiently for over 10 years to see? the mastermind of all things evil brought upon our US citizens, families & soldiers?

    May 4, 2011 at 12:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Dwight

      Well put U S Soldier. As a Soldier myself I am in full agreement with everything you said. I was a Soldier on the day the planes turned this country upside down. I served in this war and I am currently helping wounded warriors who served in this war. I am still an American Soldier today. Nothing would give me more satisfaction then seeing the events as they unfolded and to see with clarity that this name died. I for one want to see that he was killed and to know that some type of justice has been served for my fellow Soldiers who have given the ultimate sacrifice and for those who will suffer for years to come. I don't want to glory in his death, I just want that satisfaction in seeing him die. Then we can all put this to rest and move on the next individual who will take his place. I don't care if we offend the muslim nation on this one, we have been offended by their antics for way too long. Tell that to the families of those who have been butchered and released by muslim fanatics for all to see. I agree, if you don't want to watch then don't.

      May 4, 2011 at 1:05 am | Report abuse |
  5. RK

    The only thing releasing the photo of bin ladin will do is feed egos... If he is dead he is dead.. The only person who can say he is not dead is him!

    May 4, 2011 at 12:43 am | Report abuse |

    We should not release any photo of OBL. HE IS DEAD! There is no need for us to prove that he is dead. They have informed the world of the Navy Seal operation. That should be enough. If you think That the government is lying about it. Just wait for OBL to make a new video. Or he can take a photo with a copy of any newspaper with todays date. Dont you think he would love to prove the American government wrong? To preach to his followers about a type of government that lies to their country. This was mission that went nearly perfect in the governments eyes. There is no need to lie about anything. When things go wrong then start to judge the reports

    May 4, 2011 at 12:45 am | Report abuse |
  7. Amy

    I really hope they don't release pictures. I understand that people want proof.. but do we really want our kids seeing pictures all over newspapers, magazines and TV with someones brains blown out? Come on now

    May 4, 2011 at 12:50 am | Report abuse |
    • dipofchew

      The funny thing is that I think you should turn off the t.v. or block some sites. I was 12 when 9/11 happened I along with the rest of the world had to witness innocent people jump from the WTC to escape a fiery death. The last thing that that SOB saw was a U.S. Navy Seal squeezing off a round into his head. I for one want to see the result of magnificent marksmanship. We saw Kennedy die, RFK die, and (not putting them in the same category) Hussein die. Why not the death photos? Justice calls upon proof. God Bless the USA

      May 4, 2011 at 12:58 am | Report abuse |
  8. Brian

    No need to provide a picture or video.

    This is the problem with the US today, guilty before proven innocent is the mindset. Your President goes on National TV on a Sunday evening and announces to the world that bin Laden had been killed that day as a result of a planned attack in Pakistan and there are several who doubt that claim....

    If it was a lie, where is the win for Obama? 9/11 was almost 10 years ago and while the name Osama bin Laden is still mentioned from time to time, he has hardly been front page news these days.

    If bin Laden is still alive today, all he has to do is put out one of his infamous videos validating the date and that he is still alive and that would be the end of Obama's political career, his current administration and your NSA too for that matter.

    Actually, I hope it is a lie. Your dollar is already weak compared to my Canadian dollar and it would plummet if Obama is lying....so come on Osama, put out a video – let the world know you're still alive cause daddy needs a new pair of shoes 🙂

    May 4, 2011 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
  9. RK

    Let it rest people. we have gone thru enough with this guy already. Celebrate, mourn, have closure.. Let your wounds heal. Don't continue to drag it on and keep him alive in spirit. All of him needs to die

    May 4, 2011 at 12:54 am | Report abuse |
  10. karleena xoxox

    The War Will Never End !!!!! There Will Always Be A Leader Defending There Country ! When Will We Call Truths ? Showing The Pictures And Videos Will Start Riots , But I Would Love To See The Video ! Its Over Move On ! And Be Perpared For Retaliation ! ! ! USA USA USA !!!!!! We Are The BEST

    May 4, 2011 at 1:04 am | Report abuse |
    • dipofchew

      Your lack of spelling ability makes me suggest to you that you go back and get your GED

      May 4, 2011 at 1:06 am | Report abuse |
  11. danapangle

    Ding, dong, Osama’s dead, Obama said, Osama’s dead
    Ding, dong Obama said he’s dead
    Ding, dong, one in the head, he never fled, and now he’s dead
    Ding, dong, the terrorist is dead

    He’s gone where the seaweed grows,
    Below, below, below
    Yo ho, we all can laugh and sing, and ring the bell so,

    Hi ho Osama’s foes, sing it high, sing it low
    Ding, dong Obama said he’s dead!

    Thank you so much to the men and women who risk their lives for our freedom!

    May 4, 2011 at 1:05 am | Report abuse |
  12. mary

    I think they should show the pics and the video.. If someone dont want to see them then dont look... Would not bother me to see the pics or video

    May 4, 2011 at 1:05 am | Report abuse |
  13. Jess

    Grusome or not the pictures need to be released. There are much more grusome things available on the internet today. For example, JFK's autopsy photo's. Google them and there they are.

    May 4, 2011 at 1:07 am | Report abuse |
  14. The Dude

    @dipofchew just concern yourself with things that realy matter – American Idol and Charlie Sheen's comedy tour...

    May 4, 2011 at 1:08 am | Report abuse |
    • dipofchew

      HAHAHAHA, you are a funny person. There are two L's in really. Thanks for you're two cents

      May 4, 2011 at 1:17 am | Report abuse |
    • dan80890

      @dipofchew: Don't criticize someone else for poor spelling and then immediately show off how dumb you are...
      "You're" is a contraction of you and are. The possessive form of you is "your." A smart person would have known that.

      May 4, 2011 at 3:59 am | Report abuse |
  15. 66Biker

    I say release them. It might lend some credibility to the story, even if photos are easily faked. Photochopping is a hobby of mine so I know this to be a fact. I do not know for a fact that Osama bin Lameazz has been killed. It would be great if he was, but considering how our government has a long history of being less than truthful, I just don't buy any of this...

    May 4, 2011 at 1:13 am | Report abuse |
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