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. Jenna Wilson

    I would hope that our government has the good sense NOT to release these photos. While certain individuals prone to sensationalism may desire to see the photos- as previously suggested in another comment- with todays technologies-disbelievers will not be swayed by anything posted by our officials anyways. Releasing the photos serves no purpose other than to fan the flames anti- American sentiment and increase the potential for backlash.

    May 4, 2011 at 8:20 am | Report abuse |
  2. Mary Kate

    Showing the photos would just incite more terrorism, which is what we are trying to prevent! The general public does NOT need to see photos to know that Osama is dead. We have no reason to doubt it.

    May 4, 2011 at 8:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Double O

      I don't speak for the "general public" , they can speak for themselves, however, personally I don't care to look at bin Ladens ugly mug ever again! I believe our military and President, that he IS dead and who the hell cares how they got him ? We got Him!!! The Good ol USA Did the Job themselves, when Musharaf was too much of a coward to act, and quite possibly getting paid under the table millions of dollars to hide bin Laden!! This needs to be investigated!

      May 4, 2011 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
  3. sam Ude

    I have been following this story very closly since sunday night at 10 pm ct in talking to alot of my freinds here in North Dakota we stand united in saying we DO NOT need to see any death photos if the Seal Six Teams says they got him that is good enough for us thank you Sam

    May 4, 2011 at 8:23 am | Report abuse |
    • john

      well some ppl here in new york saw all the gruesome thing ubl left for us to clean up andf i wanna see what the navy seals finished

      May 4, 2011 at 8:31 am | Report abuse |
  4. Joe Ayala

    We should not forget that our troops are still actively engaged against the enemy. The release of gruesome photos of Bin Laden can only serve to incite his supporters and give then the rallying cry that the US sought to deny them by burying him at sea.Why give Bin Laden a final victory after his death, just to satisfy the curiosity of the public. Remember how the country felt when we saw US soldiers being dragged in the streets of Somalia. If as a result of releasing the photos, one of our soldiers is captured and beheaded, how will you feel then? This is a stupid idea and can bring serious consequences to our military. It's the same as burning a Koran and should NOT BE DONE !!!

    May 4, 2011 at 8:25 am | Report abuse |
    • john

      joe they are plotting something against us right now so i dont think a picture will make a difference i believe that this great country is ready for anything with how much security we have and i believe they should show the videos

      May 4, 2011 at 8:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Christine Messer

      I agree with John, I am sure orders will be followed to retaliate, there are thousands of terrorist cells all over, and the sad fact is they are as young as 11 yrs old

      May 4, 2011 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |
  5. george

    just show the pics. they publicised the video of the reporter when they cut his head off and celebrated over it. that was bad. i want to see. to know he sufered, i also want to know his last words.

    May 4, 2011 at 8:31 am | Report abuse |
    • john

      yes agreed with what george said

      May 4, 2011 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |
  6. PaulC

    I feel it would be a big mistake to release the photos. The photos will show up at every anti-American rally and he would be revered as a marytr.

    May 4, 2011 at 8:31 am | Report abuse |
    • george

      theyre gona do this kinda stuf any way.

      May 4, 2011 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |
    • john

      anyu american that thinks ubl was a martyr is retarded he threw a women at a seal to try and saved himself so he wasnt all for dying for his "cause"

      May 4, 2011 at 8:37 am | Report abuse |
  7. jeff

    What it comes down to is justice verses revenge. Do we as americans believe punishment has been served with the belief in our goverment that he is dead. Do we need to prove to the rest of the world we will get you if you intend harm to us? Im sure without a doubt the rest of the world knows and dosent need a reminder of our ability and determenation towards following through on promises made by this great country. In otherwords its sorta like the kid who flaunts his catch of the day.

    May 4, 2011 at 8:31 am | Report abuse |
  8. Christine Messer

    I don't think the pics would be any worse than the fake ones that have gone viral. For me personally, I would like to see his rotting corpse mainly because I still to this day cringe every time a plane flies over. This will not end al Queda, bin laden was just a small fish in a very large pond

    May 4, 2011 at 8:31 am | Report abuse |
    • john

      yes i have seen some of those photoshopped ones and idont think the pics are worse than that exactly and whether we show the pics or not al queda will still be plotting against us

      May 4, 2011 at 8:35 am | Report abuse |
  9. Jeff Moore

    I'm sorry, I was under the impression that we lived in America. Apparently not. In a "FREE" country I would be able to see the photos of the man who created the most fear and anger of my generation. I'm not a freak that wants to see graphic pictures. I would just like to beleive our government for once. And as far as ciro cardose, or whoever you are, is concerned these are no prophets of mine, so I hope they kill all of them that wish to do harm to me and my people!

    May 4, 2011 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |
  10. Jampy

    You know....they talk about us being sensitive...but I recall these people releasing pictures of our soldiers captive, that reporter Daniel Pearl when he was murdered...by these type of groups. At this point, release a photo....and put doubts to rest, none of these terrorist were sensitive as our towers plunged into the ground and 3000 souls died right in front of our eyes 🙁

    May 4, 2011 at 8:36 am | Report abuse |
    • john

      thank u jampy

      May 4, 2011 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
  11. Kumar Ramachandran

    Obama's photo to be released ?
    Does anyone in his right mind think it won't ?
    How can this opportunity to claim victory for a second time be bypassed by the political pundits ?
    How can this opportunity for sensationalism be resisted by our revered media moghuls, who will, of course precede all displays with the usual cautions about the shocking nature of the material ? Of course, this caution will be succeeded by gleeful display of all the gore, with no attempt at showing any kind of class.

    Forgive my cynicism, folks, but that's how I see this unfolding.


    May 4, 2011 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Double O

      His name is Osama, not Obama, get it right. apology accepted.

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

    Although it would be satisfying to see video footage and pictures, there is no real need for them. The peoples' "I want it and I want it now" mentality will pass when some celebrity overdoses. I have enough confidence in my country to believe that they wouldn't make something of this magnitude up for ratings. Cheers to our armed forces – maybe we can look at getting more of you home!

    May 4, 2011 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
  13. maria

    this photo should absolutely not be shown...It makes us no better than them and will only satisfy morbid curiousity..It should be enough to know that he has been wiped off the face of the earth.

    May 4, 2011 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
  14. Kumar Ramachandran

    Sincere apologies. I meant Osama, not Obama. A cruel mishap caused by misplaced keys on the keyboard. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it).

    May 4, 2011 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
  15. Kumar Ramachandran

    Sincere apologies. I meant Osama. A cruel mishap caused by misplaced keys on the keyboard. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it).

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