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. sk

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

    May 4, 2011 at 1:59 am | Report abuse |
  2. amyikins

    Why is it that Saddam Huessin was hanged for the whole world to see on live tv but video and photos of bin laden are too graphic to be released. Come on now!

    May 4, 2011 at 2:00 am | Report abuse |
  3. Julius J

    WOE TO ALL THE TERRORIST WHO KILL INNOCENT LIVES MAY YOU AND YOUR FAMILY GO TO HELL!!

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

    on his "death" picture Osama is with way more darker beard v/s other pictures, Was he killed 6 years ago?

    May 4, 2011 at 2:01 am | Report abuse |
  5. Chelsea Lei

    i think the govt should release pics of bin ladens corpse for peace of mind for us american citizens!!!!

    May 4, 2011 at 2:09 am | Report abuse |
  6. Marty

    I want video as well. I find it fishy that they dumped his body off the back of a boat. There is nothing about this, that has allowed for justice to be served. If he was unarmed- why did they shoot him twice? If he is dead why would get rid of the body. I mean if I were president I would want to see it first hand. There is nothing about this that seems, real. I mean it sounds too good to be true. Video- we need video. And why you are at it, go fish his body out of the sea so a coroner can tell us how he died and what he ate for breakfast for all I care. But don't tell us, just on your "word" that he is dead. Show so respect for those who have died, and the dollars we have paid. Whoever made the decision to get rid of the body- that was a TERRIBLE decision.

    May 4, 2011 at 2:13 am | Report abuse |
  7. ElegantMe

    Why Not showing the pictures of his death....we alll
    saw the pic from September 11

    May 4, 2011 at 2:13 am | Report abuse |
  8. johnny orlando

    David the atheist moron who claims to have moral superiority apparently does not have an education. There were no cowboys in the 18th century, that would be the 1700s. They weren't the cowboys with the hats that he was thinking of with his limited brain capacity. If you are going to be smug and try to sound intelligent at least get your basic history correct. We all should have celebrated this death, it was great for humanity.

    May 4, 2011 at 2:15 am | Report abuse |
  9. zeya

    OBL is a very good story of American agencies trying to make fool of the world as well as their own people. His killing is also a simple Hollywood soap having lots of flaws. Just think for a moment, there is a man who is so dangerous that no one in american govt can sleep without his fear, and he is threat to the world's political, technological and economic power. And then, he is shot dead in a 40 minute operation. The initial operation detail say that he was resisting and now say that he was not armed. The operators of the operation could have used some other technique to capture him alive and then carried out an open trial and punish him in a way that no one think of becoming OBL in future.
    But the reality is something else. Death of OBL is not the climax of the story, american agencies might have prepared some thing else for the coming decades and for that they needed to eliminate the old picture.

    May 4, 2011 at 2:15 am | Report abuse |
  10. semaj

    I was able to see the death photo of Bin Laden and it looks as it has been described. The photo is graphic and after viewing it, I cannot se why this photo needs to be released. I do not believe a W.H release of this photo will appease any naysayers. Tell me if this photo is legit or not, I viewed it on an urban blog site said to have obtained the photo from a pakistanian reader. The photo is supposedly what the pakistanian media outlets are showing.

    May 4, 2011 at 2:22 am | Report abuse |
    • John Sitler

      The photo is likely the fake that was printed shortly after the press release. It's been shown to be a clear fake, and has ironically then been used by many to say that the US released a fake photo. The real forgery though is that there has not been any visual media released by any parties. That's what this debate is about ... to release or not to release.

      May 4, 2011 at 3:45 am | Report abuse |
  11. Shaunak Kashyap

    To all those asking for proof of Bin Laden's death:

    Lets assume for argument sake that Obama has bluffed about killing OBL and that he is not actually dead. All it will take now for OBL to ridicule Obama and simultaneously rally his followers is to release a video of himself talking about the raid and events following it. It will prove that he is alive. And this will have a devastating effect on Obama's and the America's credibility. Now think - would Obama really risk such a bluff? Stop asking for proof.

    May 4, 2011 at 2:28 am | Report abuse |
  12. Neftali Lamourt

    I think it is a very good idea to release the photos/videos of osama bin laden's dead body... I believe it will flush out the rest of the terrorist vermin and make it a lot easier to exterminate them...

    May 4, 2011 at 2:35 am | Report abuse |
  13. Gynne Prestage

    Funny how we had to watch the carnage of 9/11, people jumping out of windows to save themselves from burning, dead bodies and the other devastation but we are not allowed to see the pictures of the dead Bin Laden? The pictures went on for weeks without a thought of how it was affecting the U.S. Now you are concerned about the effect on us of seeing a picture of the man behind this carnage? Hogwash!!!

    May 4, 2011 at 2:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Anthony

      I agree i made a similar comment.But at the time of the 9/11 events i remember how he made jokes about those people as Osama watched with his tribe.Also i have seen many gruesome photos so seeing Osama with a cave in skull by the bullets to his head wouldent mind me.

      May 4, 2011 at 3:40 am | Report abuse |
  14. Tina Stockton

    I don't need to see his picture in death. But I do like to think that instead of him getting 72 virgins he will get a 72-year-old virgin wherever he has gone.

    May 4, 2011 at 3:00 am | Report abuse |
  15. your all sheep

    wake up people, how has an intelligent society can u just easily believe 5 news channels because they tell you something? we all seen the towers drop, we all seen the devastation, the death. we seen the body parts, we seen sadamn dying and dead. Tupac, Biggy dead, MJ dead, give me a friggen break. put the picture on a government website, make it uncopyable, and whoever wants to see it can go look for themselves. until you physically put 500 sailors in front of me saying oh i saw his body well then i dont believe all your propaganda. you have live video you have 2 sets of pictures, release them, put all the conspiracy theorists to rest just like you did the birthers. release the photos.

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

      Please come back when your I.Q. has reached somewhere relatively close to room temperature.

      May 4, 2011 at 4:55 am | Report abuse |
    • mb2010a

      Please go back to school and learn the difference between "seen" and "saw". "we all saw the towers drop, we all saw the devastation, the death. we saw the body parts, we saw sadamn dying and dead." Learn English before you post...

      May 4, 2011 at 6:45 am | Report abuse |
    • J.R.

      I agree. Post the photo on a govt. web site for whoever wants to see it. Also, if it must go on TV then it can easily be blurred where the wounds are & enough of what can be shown without the shock value can be shown. As for newspapers, they can do a warning & a special section. This is not rocket science! Even a total blackout of the head above the eyes is fine, and to show the actual raw photo is only going to result in much trouble in many different manners.

      May 4, 2011 at 6:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Brian Hamlin

      Why of course I believe he's dead and the world today is a better place as the worlds biggest coward is dead, Lets face it the majority of the world called him a Terrorist I called him a Coward which he was. He hid from the world for more than 10 years while commanding the most coward slayings of woman and children all over the world. Even at his moment of death he hid behind his wife while being confronted by true men. The Coward is gone lets go after the 2nd in command Coward now!!

      May 4, 2011 at 7:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Earnely Dawson

      No Photos. No details when threats or attempts are made on anyone's life. All that happens is when details are released on how the efforst failed ore succeeded it serves as training on what to do or not do for later success. We give out way to much details.

      May 4, 2011 at 7:05 am | Report abuse |
    • loriey

      I've seen enough of Bin Laden's ugly face while he was alive, I 've listed to his self serving Bulll***t as well. Personally I would definately choose not to see his dead body..
      We as Americans don't need to lower ourselves to the militants who parade the dead bodies of their murdered innocent victims (soliders etc) to the public.
      Our Navy Seals are the best of the best....I am so proud of the!m. Thank you President Obama. Whether youi support President Obama or choose not to, he is OUR President, we must support him.

      May 4, 2011 at 7:30 am | Report abuse |
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