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. Heather

    I think that all those who claim to be christians but don't live by the true word of jesus is not really a chrstian. Jesus clearly said love your enemies, turn the other cheek, do not judge, and of course do the will of my father. All fall short of the glory of god there is not one that is good. God hates sin and treats all sin the same and the wages of sin is death no matter if you kill a million innoccent people or lie about your age or even steal a pack of 25 cent gum it is all sin and we are all guilty thats why God is the only one allowed to judge and condemn not man. No matter what you think or how your trying to impress man by changing or eliminating Gods holy eternal word in order to more suit there wellbeing what is good if a man gain the whole world yet loses his own soul. It's time to Wake up you so called christians because the only one that matters is God and his judgement life is over in a blink of an eye but eternity does not end ever, so be careful to not be deceived...

    May 4, 2011 at 4:25 am | Report abuse |
  2. Adrian

    I believe they should show the images and video, freedom of information. If you don't want to see it, don't look.

    May 4, 2011 at 5:04 am | Report abuse |
  3. kim

    Don't do it. It won't satisfy any the barbarians who are asking for it anyway. I don't want to see pictures of our citizens being shot, beheaded or anything else. The fury it would provoke in me is unnerving. If the Navy SEALs say he is dead, that is good enough for me.

    May 4, 2011 at 5:22 am | Report abuse |
  4. Maudie

    No. No. No. If there are concerns, then don't do it. Don't inflame the crazies and then put our people overseas in danger. The real proof that he's really gone is if we pull out of Afghanistan and quit giving aid to those harbouring terrorists. We don't need anymore horrendous images imprinted on our minds.

    May 4, 2011 at 5:46 am | Report abuse |
  5. MilitaryMan

    Osama is dead but it's the troops still in afghanistan who are going to fight through the consequences, ied's, idf's and other things of that nature are only going to get more frequent and deadlier. The leader got killed, the next a**hole to take over plans an attack and goes through with it.

    May 4, 2011 at 6:18 am | Report abuse |
  6. Jo Ann

    Do not show the pictures! We rate movies so our children are not exposed to graphic violence. If released, the pictures will be on the front page of every newspaper and every child's innocence will be robbed once again...however, thsi time not by Osama Bin Laden. I do not want my grandchildren to see these photos.

    May 4, 2011 at 6:27 am | Report abuse |
    • J.R.

      Drama Queen, let's not get ridiculous now! "Loss of innocence", ludicrous! Your Grandchildren if old enough to understand it on tv or in the paper or online have seen movies on tv or videos on youtube that are far more disturbing than seeing a man with a hole in his head for Gods Sake! Turn on Spike Tv & watch "1000 ways to die", a favorite of KIDS! You'll see much worse than even 1/2 of Osama's head gone, believe me granny!

      May 4, 2011 at 7:05 am | Report abuse |
  7. Danielle

    I think that Osama's photo should not be released. We should not be celebrating in the fact that he is dead, but should be celebrating our freedom and security. Yes he was an evil man and needed to be hunted down. But the death of him will never be enough to comfort those who lost loved ones in 9/11.

    May 4, 2011 at 6:37 am | Report abuse |
  8. Tim L

    The federal government should allow anyone access to view the pictures in a safe and secure location without allowing any photographs or copies to be made. This would allow access to the pictures and avoid the pictures being viewed by the world on the web and causing further backlash.

    May 4, 2011 at 6:43 am | Report abuse |
  9. druiz1

    they should have cut his head off and sent the video to AL JAZEERA

    May 4, 2011 at 6:44 am | Report abuse |
  10. Mike Miller

    I have 3 of my kids in the service, 1 USMC, 1 USAF, 1 USA, The photos should'nt be released, My kids are already in harms way, Even if they did release them they would still say he's alive, We got him, he's dead people! and as far as celedrating his death, I partyed my butt off, I worked 911 for 3 weeks, I seen what they did, and remember our friends and family members in them towers didnt have any guns, so I dont care he was unarmed, I would have shot him more.

    May 4, 2011 at 6:59 am | Report abuse |
  11. Karen

    No. The pictures would incite too many radicals. It is not important to for the populus to believe. In time they will know.

    May 4, 2011 at 7:01 am | Report abuse |
  12. JimmyB

    I do not believe photos of Osama Bin Laden should be released. If the congress and key media want to view them to verify killing that would be OK. Copies should not be made or distributed in any way. What good would it do to release the photos? More harm than good would come of it. If he is still alive I'm sure a video would soon be circulating.

    May 4, 2011 at 7:10 am | Report abuse |
  13. MrZinks

    The worst thing we can do is keep this stuff in front of the media, where world terrorists want it.
    Burn the pictures, classify the raid, and let his memory fade ASAP.
    Details of the raid should have been kept top secret – nobody needed to know that Bin Laden was unarmed – that piece of info just stirs up even the borderline sentimental.
    The obvious poem given to the raiding party were "Go in and kill the SOB, and dump his carcass in the sea." Take a few pics if we need to some day prove his decease."

    May 4, 2011 at 7:13 am | Report abuse |
  14. Ciro Cardose

    How long shall they kill Our Prophets , while We stand aside and Look , have NO Fear for Atomic Energy , cause None of them cannot STOP the Time .

    May 4, 2011 at 7:17 am | Report abuse |
  15. Deborah

    I was 10 years old when JFK was shot, we all saw those gruesome pictures. I watched the Twin towers go up in flames and that was pretty graphic, we have all seen the graphic photo's of the bombings around the world so i really don't understand why our Government is hesitating. Who can be more inflamed than the US PEOPLE after 9-11 and what Al Qaeda did to our world and so many lives?

    May 4, 2011 at 7:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Helen

      I too am of thee JFK era, n what about the graphic photos every night, from Vietnem, did we not see our friends n family jumping to their deaths 911, all the CSI's tv shows Dr. G med examiner, WHAT HAVENT WE SEEN????? I THINK OUR GOVERMENT DOES NOT TELL US THE WHOLD TRUTH, BECAUSE THEY SAY you cant handle the truth! WELL i SAY SAY i dONT TRUST OUR OWN GOVERMENT, THEY LIED WITH TOO MANY MEDIA STORIES, LETS SEE THE ENEMY DEAD, LETS GET HONEST, DO YOU THINK THAT WILL EVER BE A REALITY?????? SHOW ME THE VIDEO!!!!!!!!!!! or do we just want to watch reality shows, that have been edited to "entertain" us.. get real n dont edit it......

      May 4, 2011 at 8:02 am | Report abuse |
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