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. moonshadow

    I ended up joining the US Navy to avenge the attack in 2001. been deployed to Afghanistan 3 times, been to Jbad and Paktika, but never seen Bin Laden...now that I am out of the serviceYES..I wanted to see the body....

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

    Show the video! We see worse on T.V. ever single day, we have a right to know. My uncle was in the pentagon on 9/11 and I want PROOF that that psychopath is really gone!!!

    May 4, 2011 at 1:26 am | Report abuse |
  3. faithful

    Do not show the pictures. Some types of evidence will be sufficient. Those doubtful of Bin Laden's death won't change their minds after seeing the pictures. I trust the President and other U. S. government officials on this Call to Action!

    May 4, 2011 at 1:27 am | Report abuse |
  4. Mauro

    I think this guy is been hold secretly in some place and they are torturing him right now to get more information about other possible cells and threats. A dead body worse nothing because they can't talk and They might want us to believe that he's dead, but if he is dead we want to see the pictures and prove to end any kind of speculations.

    May 4, 2011 at 1:27 am | Report abuse |
  5. anzabill

    DEFINITELY release the photos. Blur the holes if you must. Way to go, 6.

    May 4, 2011 at 1:39 am | Report abuse |
  6. kpete

    Not that I personally enjoy looking at dead bodies, but in my opinion, seeing is believing. I have been to 3 funerals this past year, 2 of which were closed casket, not that I mind either way. But for the 2 I didn't see, it didn't make it as real for me. It was like I was just at a service for a person who wasn't really dead. Besides, after all the lookalikes he's had out there, real, solid evidence of him actually no longer living would be relieving I think.

    May 4, 2011 at 1:40 am | Report abuse |
  7. MADRIAN

    Do you really think that President Obama would make such a bold statement of fact that the USA had killed Osama if in fact it wasn't true?? He knows better with the history not only with Bin Laden, but with US and their love of conspiracy theories. There is no need to show the pictures and fuel any more hatred in the world. All it takes is one careless remark or showing of these photo's to create the next Bin Laden, God forbid. Don't take that chance, and let's leave it with our heads held high.

    May 4, 2011 at 1:41 am | Report abuse |
    • 66Biker

      Do I think Obama would lie? Yes, I most certainly do. His is a politician, and lying is something all politicians do. Everyone should know that from the time they become aware that politicians exist.

      May 4, 2011 at 2:00 am | Report abuse |
  8. gl

    If there is the slightest chance that releasing these photo's would enrage BL's followers then not worth the unlikely chance that this convinces someone of BL's death. Let the doubters prove to us he's alive; that should keep them busy for awhile.

    May 4, 2011 at 1:42 am | Report abuse |
    • PHinMiami

      Well said!

      May 4, 2011 at 1:50 am | Report abuse |
    • 66Biker

      It doesn't work that way, gl. If you say something is a fact, it isn't up to someone else to prove you wrong. It's on you to prove you're right. You should offer proof of what you say to demonstrate your own credibility. If you force other people to prove you wrong you lose your credibility while they are demonstrating theirs.

      May 4, 2011 at 2:06 am | Report abuse |
  9. Tom D

    There is no good reason to release photos of bin Laden, except satisfaction of curiosity. Releasing images of a bloody, lifeless bin Laden will only rally and incite anger among his followers and bring sympathy toward him by others. To those who don't believe he is dead, so be it; leave it that way. Please keep the photos secure.,

    May 4, 2011 at 1:44 am | Report abuse |
  10. PHinMiami

    No, no, no! DO NOT release the pictures. It would serve NO useful purpose and only inflame an already sensitive situation.All those who insist, are still examining the 'birth certificate' for 'PhotoShopping'. The US needs to hold their composure and stand steady. The Naysayers have brought this country down enough, don't cave-in to their ignorant demands.

    May 4, 2011 at 1:49 am | Report abuse |
  11. PCS

    don't believe it 'til I see it....

    May 4, 2011 at 1:49 am | Report abuse |
  12. E Six

    What could be more gruesome than watching 3000 people die in a collapsing inferno, jumping to their deaths....Release the pics and let OBL's followers know that the last thing that crossed his mind was a bullet...

    May 4, 2011 at 1:52 am | Report abuse |
  13. TJ

    Look at how many videos, pictures, mission logs, Interviews, audio recordings have been release for the moon landing. Not to mention physical moon rocks and a reflector placed on the moons surface that you can bounce a laser off of, but still the conspiracy nuts believe we never went to the moon. It will be no different for Osama. It does not matter what is released it will not be enough for these people. I say do not release the videos or photos.

    May 4, 2011 at 1:54 am | Report abuse |
  14. Julius J

    TO OSANANA BIN LADEN'S DEATH: Serve him right he not a muslim leader he is an agent of SATAN now he is dead may he live in hell for enternity

    May 4, 2011 at 1:58 am | Report abuse |
  15. sk

    on the picture claimed to be death Osama looks YOUNGER than other pictures – his beard is darker....

    May 4, 2011 at 1:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Neftali Lamourt

      that's because his beard is stained with his own dried blood...

      May 4, 2011 at 2:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Peter

      He probably uses "Just for men"

      May 4, 2011 at 3:53 am | Report abuse |
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