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. Carla

    No the photos should not be displayed. First of it is disrepsectful to his family and its also against basic HIPAA rights. Would we do that to an American? I get he's a bad guy, but everyone deserves human rights and respect. This would just give people another excuse to hate Americans. We don't have to be barbarians, especially when we claim we are so much better than that. We talk the talk but will we walk the walk?

    May 4, 2011 at 8:03 am | Report abuse |
  2. Roni

    Rather than poof he's dead, how about if he is not he appears and lets us know? Less trama that way, don't you think?

    May 4, 2011 at 8:03 am | Report abuse |
  3. Rick Lerner

    "Begin with the End in Mind" There is no reason to post Bin Laden's Death picture. This will only serve to inflame extremists, and seems to flaunt his death. There is nothing good that can come from this. I know how I felt when I saw images of hostages being beheaded by extremists. I realize that that showing pictures of Bin Laden is not the same.

    May 4, 2011 at 8:04 am | Report abuse |
  4. Suzan Anton

    Show the pictures!

    May 4, 2011 at 8:04 am | Report abuse |
  5. Shedevil963

    No, the pictures shoild not b shown, hes dead why cant people be happy with that, yesterday I saw the cia head being asked if waterboarding was a part of them gettin the info, who gives a crap, do what you gotta do 2 get what we need, there is 2 much info that is publicized, other countries have beheaded americans on tv, do we have to stoop to their level, if so our country is no different.

    May 4, 2011 at 8:06 am | Report abuse |
  6. Brian MacMillan

    Good Morning. Just a qick comment on the releasing of the Bin Laden Photos. As a former crime scene investigator, I have seen more than my share of traumatic head injuries. They are almost always gruesome. It's just my opinion, but I don't think they should be posted.

    Brian

    May 4, 2011 at 8:06 am | Report abuse |
  7. Rode

    It is hard to believe Pakistan didn't know Usama was in hiding there; for their "face" we should offically accept it at that–and be wiser. Releasing the pics of Usama's death or funeral would only further enrage a group of people who already assume the role of slighted victim. There is no point in doing that. I believe our SEALS and our government leaders KNOW that got Usama, and that good enough. Unfortunately a part of our human nature is drawn to and fascinated by the cruel and gruesome –one has only to check out the popular adult movies to be convinced of this. We, the USA, can go on from here; there are other battles to fight and conflicts to encounter.

    May 4, 2011 at 8:07 am | Report abuse |
  8. saw the light

    And as far as some of you needing verification, visual, that would not satisfy you. Sit back and see what Pakistan is Not saying... I believe they knew who lived there. They are all Muslim and will protect each other regardless of how heinous the crime, and they do not believe a crime, 9/11, was committed. This is a really embarrassing moment for them as their credibility just sank to bottom of ocean along with bin Laden. Will there be repercussions within the ranks, that story will be played out in real time in the weeks to come. As within our own military, there are sympathizers who will not reveal others of like values and ideals. It is not entirely inconceivable that Pakistani army has a few there too.

    May 4, 2011 at 8:09 am | Report abuse |
  9. Jeff Moore

    It doesn't matter if there is an actual grave or not! These radicals aren't gonna stop doing what doing just because we supposedly buried him at sea! It just seems very odd that no one but the government officials are the only ones to see these supposed pictures. Remember, we hear only what the government wants us to hear or know. Who' worse?

    May 4, 2011 at 8:09 am | Report abuse |
  10. Pam

    Showing photos serves no purpose other than a photo of gore. The Seals know they got him, they have the DNA, they are the best of the best and no reason to doubt them. I don't need to see any photos.

    May 4, 2011 at 8:11 am | Report abuse |
  11. iwonderwhat

    No do not release them it will only fuel extremist

    May 4, 2011 at 8:14 am | Report abuse |
  12. amyhelms

    To show the kill shot of bin Laden can not be any more graphic than how movie's show all the blood shed.
    I believe if people want to see the end of a mass murder they should be able to do so.
    The graphic to this all was 9/11 and those pictures where shown.

    May 4, 2011 at 8:14 am | Report abuse |
  13. Donna White

    If we show OBL death photo, we are fueling his followers sick minds & their rage aginst the US. We still have Americans in the Eastern Counteries, especially our troops. Why would we want to have them surrounded with more hate, anger and killing. The man is dead, let him stay dead.Showing photos, just keeps him & his sick ideas alive.Its ended, over, let it be over. His followers will travel to US & we could see another disaster. Why, because we feel the need to see a photo. Don't we have enough problems in our country to focus on?

    May 4, 2011 at 8:15 am | Report abuse |
  14. Jeff Moore

    I think it's so funny that people think releasing these photos is going to make things worse. Do you really think these militants are gonna say, well, at least they didn't show photos. We are gonna be good terrorists now. Give me a break! You people can't be that stupid!

    May 4, 2011 at 8:15 am | Report abuse |
  15. Louise Swanson

    Do you REALLY want to inflame more retribution from Pakistan?? They've known all along where Bin Laden was. To show pictures of his dead body won't prove a thing. Even the DNA isn't good enough for some – there will always be doubting Thomas'. Remember – "curiosity killed the cat" – "let sleeping dogs lie" ???? How many lessons do we need? For one, I'm just elated the #@%*& is gone!!! Unfortunately, someone will TRY to follow in his footsteps!

    May 4, 2011 at 8:20 am | Report abuse |
    • john

      jenna i understand your point but my brother was in the WTC when it came down and let me tell you his body wasnt prettty to find and i wouldnt wish the sight i saw on anybody. i want nothing more to se what our soldiers, our heroes did to him. personally i think they are planning something right now anyways in retailiation so the government should show them

      May 4, 2011 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Double O

      Who cares if we inflame Pakistan? They have inflamed millions of Americans, by harboring a known War Criminal, Terrorist and Murderer! Get Real!

      May 4, 2011 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
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