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. LicaKt

    yes show the photos they didnt mine putting the beheading of our ppl all over web as the man was sitting there alive show binladin standing there hoping he had fear in his eyes as they put a bullet thou his head.GOD BLESS OUR SOLDIERS AND THE MEN WHO WENT IN AND INDANGERED THEIR LIVES PRAY FOR YOU EVERYDAY.

    May 4, 2011 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
  2. brian holt

    Has it occured to anyone that bin Laden might not be dead and the the story is to just cover up his existence or his detainment? If he was unarmed, it would make better sense that they detained him for intel and made up the story as to keep anyone from wanting to see him.

    May 4, 2011 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
    • TheOne

      Thank you for having a brain of you own man. This story made know since to me from the start. Detaining him for information would have made more sense, also one has to consider he may have other valualbe information linking other terrorists we might want to keep an eye on. And 'yeah we gave him a burial at sea'? Really?! And the fact that no one was armed, and they (seals) just came in (only having to kill a handful of people) killed him, and walked out with his body and tossed it in the ocean. God non of it makes sense to me

      May 4, 2011 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
  3. Cathy McClellan

    We print picture's of the civil war dead including an assassinated president..we review and share the gruesome death of JFK and we worry about Usama??? Our dead were human beings, I consider Usama less then that. He deserves no special treatment. Terrorism will continue, maybe a few of these terrorists will think twice if they see how the USA deals with them.

    May 4, 2011 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
  4. MBR

    As everyone is saying, there will be a little bit of doubht in everyone who heres this story until the photos and or video is released... they need to be made public.

    May 4, 2011 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
  5. MTP

    Yeah release them. What's going to happen? It may anger people who already hate and want to kill Americans?

    American needs to stop trying to please everyone because it's just not going to happen, no matter how many eggshells it walks on.

    May 4, 2011 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
  6. Lorri

    The day the taliban showed an American journalist being beheaded on the internet and TV that is the day all Americans changed. We are strong and must show the entire world we can handle a video of a terrorist being killed by American forces. Do it.

    May 4, 2011 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
  7. Uniblob

    Why bother releasing photos? The conspiracy theorists will just call them fake and nothing will change. They just can't bring themselves to admit that the Commander in Chief, at the time when bin Laden was killed, was Barack Obama.

    God, how I am enjoying this.

    May 4, 2011 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
  8. Cathy McClellan

    We also showed the falling bodies of Americans at the WTC..on 9/11/2001 that made us sick...his photographs can't be worse than that.

    May 4, 2011 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
  9. Amie

    I seen the second plane hit the towers, and I watched them fall. Many people died that day from what Bin Laden was responsible for. So why is it that we can't see the pictures/video of his death? Is it only the American people that is ok for us to watch be killed? I say YES, show the pictures/video as many times as you showed the towers fall...

    May 4, 2011 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
  10. TDunlap

    DNA is good enough for me or just let Congress and the White House see the photos in secret and let that be that.org. 'As I live!' declares the Lord GOD, 'I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, Ezekiel 33:11..com

    May 4, 2011 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
  11. truckermom

    The pictures of bin laden mean nothing it is all in the dna and I am sure it will be examined and released

    May 4, 2011 at 8:57 am | Report abuse |
  12. mud

    There is no picture,because, oh Bin isnt dead,he was paid off by Obama and his followers. Where is the body,,,look at how we did husanes body,,,,this is the biggest load of crap I have ever heard of,being a military brat all my life,plus my gut feeling ,tells me something is just not right...I didnt vote for obama,I will not vote for him ever...dont like the look in his eyes.

    May 4, 2011 at 8:58 am | Report abuse |
    • TheOne

      Smart man you are...people are way to gulliable nothing but sheep I tell you. Great point bringing up Sadam too, I mean they made that into a spectical. I believe one of two things happened; either he has been dead for some time now but we just wanted a reason to stay in the middle east, OR they struck a deal with him in return for something and he will be hidden for the rest of his life. I mean I would expect a place like this to be gaurded quite heavily...I'll stop there because this whole story of what happened is just bogus to me

      May 4, 2011 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
  13. Robert P

    Release the pics and it will just make things worse. It serves no purpose other than a need to feel some sort of revenge for 911. Our Government could release everything it has and conspiricy nuts would say it was fake anyway. Let sleeping (in this case dead) DOGS lie. Proof for the world? Anyone who doesn't believe us can go to hell anyway.

    May 4, 2011 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
  14. Big~Smelly~Tuna

    the sure must be one hell of a lot of people with nothing to do 22 pages of posts already on stale news

    May 4, 2011 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
  15. ted in atlanta

    Cathy McClellan, Amie, and surely others posting here have sort of similarly reached my train of thought: I am not in support of jubilation and cheering when someone is killed, however perhaps if they do release a picture of Bin Laden, it could be composed of tiny photographic mosaic tiles of all the faces of those that died in his attack on 9-11.

    May 4, 2011 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Big~Smelly~Tuna

      were you dropped on your head repeatedly as a child?

      May 4, 2011 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Donna Maria

      The pictures need to be released ASAP!! Let's not FORGET how Nicholas Berg (YES. I STILL REMEMBER HIM), a young, civilian American construction worker in Irag was beheaded by Al Quaeda, and it was posted on the internet for his LOVED ONES, and all the world to see!! They also did that to civilian, photo-journalist, Danny Pearl (YES, I still remember Daniel Pearl), and a few of our military guys!! I'm so tired of everyone being concerned about inflaming the radical muslims!! In case you haven't noticed, they've been inflamed for the past thousand years!!

      May 4, 2011 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
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