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. American

    I say show the pics and video. These animals had no problem showing our people being beheaded on TV so why should we be concerned with how or what they feel. They already hate us. That's not going to change. I want proof that this SOB is really dead. It doesn't bother me to see pics of him dead. He deserved death and American saw to it that the people who lost loved ones on 9/11 got their justice. You showed Saddam and his sons dead and UBL was worse than they were. I want proof!!

    May 4, 2011 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Leo

      I think showing the pics is morbid and completely unnecessary.....if they act like animals..doesn't mean we should do the same..we are suppose to be "civilized"..aren't we? also, you show the pics..and later on people will say pics weren't real...that wasn't him...whatever! then we will never see the end of this! we should trust our Government and troops and leave this subject behind!

      May 4, 2011 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
  2. Angela

    Osama went through great lengths to achieve what he did against Americans. We went through great lengths to get him for what he did to us. The news of his death is global and if he were still alive, he would go through great lengths to prove to the world the USA did not get him. Photos are not necessary.

    May 4, 2011 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
  3. Double O

    I speak for myself, when I say, I do not want to see the "Photos", Mr President, what difference does it make if he had a weapon or not? He was a wanted criminal, and, If he were on US soil , he would have been taken , the exact same way , due to the nature of the raid, and the compound he was sheltered in, and the fact, that he himself stated , he would never be taken alive, and had instructed all of his "close men"; to kill him before allowing his capture. Do you remember this?

    May 4, 2011 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Jturgeon

      enough commas there bud? lol

      May 4, 2011 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
  4. John L. Cross Sr.

    All I've heard & seen about this is about how gruesome these pics are. Let me ask you this. How gruesome was it to watch the twin towers fall, people jumping to their deaths to keep from burning alive, hearing the sound of the thump as they hit the ground. But yet it was televised around the world!! Was it not gruesome to watch American citizens be-headed on national television?? I believe for the most part that the American people need to see this, All of it!! There is no way that it can be anymore gruesome than what we have watched happened on our own soil due to this evil slug!! Show it already, allow the American people the right to see the Great job our Navy Seals accomplished!! Thanks.

    May 4, 2011 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Angela

      You are absolutely right and there were videos of Osama bragging about how the planes crashed into the towers and he was laughing about it. The horror of that day was spread around the world for all to see. I personally do not wish to see photos of his death but you are correct in saying that they are too willing to protect us from graphic pix when the horror of that day has been played out for the last 10 Years.

      May 4, 2011 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
  5. mud

    No I mean obama..read what I wrote the first time

    May 4, 2011 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |
  6. Patrick Knight

    We are a nation of the people. Do not tell us that we are no better than another country. We are Patriots in every sense of the word. We will not back down. We ARE the best and we should not be defined by religion. DO NOT worry about who not to offend.If we are worried so badly about offfending a certain mass then should we stop eating beef and many other products that many religions consider Taboo? We are a "FREE" nation. We have the choice of not going to see a movie or seeing a photograph. At least Let the people who want to see, gaze there eyes over them. in 10 yrears it will just be another photograph. One day maybe we will be faced with another obstacle like Osama Bin Laden. Maybe, just maybe when that time comes we will be a more proud nation and have no problem flexing not only our muscles, but also our intellect. God Bless America! God bless the American people!

    May 4, 2011 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
  7. C-Los

    Don't release any photos...at least not yet. There's no need to inflame his followers to satisfy our morbid curiosity. He's dead. Consider the political fallout if he's really alive and Obama turns out to be wrong. If he's staking his credibility on it in fact being OBL I think we can rest assured the animal is dead.

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

    The time and energy put into all of these half-brained conspiracy theories by "educated" members of the public is both embarrassing and idiotic. Instead of spewing your opinionated afterbirth, please do something productive....

    May 4, 2011 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
  9. Elena Rudeke

    Since Watergate we have found it necessary to show and tell all. Vietnam proved that you "CAN"T FIGHT A WAR ON TV" Let's fight the stupids, NO PICTURES OF BIN LADEN!.
    In this day and age we know that pictures can be altered... that may not be common knowledge to an iliterate sheep hearded who might take this as more fuel for greater retaliation.
    We need to be better and smarter and more civilized

    May 4, 2011 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
  10. Victimsadvo

    Show the photos and videos as soon as possible. The longer it takes the less validity they have. Anything can be faked these days. My kid is a pro with Photoshop and could easily have doctored any pics or video by now.
    If the Administration wants people to know the truth, than be up front and show us the proof. "Those that have nothing to hide, hide nothing." This issue should have been thought of and worked out before any raid took place.
    Obama already has a large contingent of people that question his legitamacy because he was not up front with his original birth certificate from the start. That is reprehensible in my book as I have often had to produce mine for a job. Many will still question if it is real because he took so long to produce it. Anyone could have faked a birth certificate with that much time and the resources he had at hand. Not saying I believe this but I have a hard time arguing with those that do at this point.
    Most people do not trust Gov't officials as it is, especially after the Bush Administration. Obama also promised an open Gov't in which his admin would not hide information from the public. He has not lived up to that in my book.
    The issue of sensitivities over the graphic nature of the photos, is a mute point. Nobody was sensitive to the images produced on 9/11. It wouldn't have mattered if they were. The incident itself inflamed the American people to go to, not one, but two wars. Those whom are Usama bin Laden supporters want to kill Americans anyhow. This incident will not make that any better or worse. Showing the pictures/video will not change that fact. I'm sure plans have been in the works anyhow, to attack us in some way. Perhaps this draws them out and they go sooner, thus making mistakes.

    May 4, 2011 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
  11. AriesYarmouth

    Why not release photos? He should not be treated any differently than any other "mass murders" or "serial killers.", because that is exactly what he is. Even though this was handled in military fashion, I think the American people deserve to witness Osama Bin Laden's "execution." The public is allowed to view executions by choice at prisons etc, this should be no different. This mass murderer does not deserve to rest in peace. He got what he deserves. I am very grateful to Our Navy Seal Team 6. God be with you all.

    May 4, 2011 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
  12. mud

    The photos will be fake,I dont believe none of it,this story of how osama died is all a lie..Obama is the worst pres. Ever!! Its a a fraud

    May 4, 2011 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Double O

      President Obama is one of the most courageous and smartest Presidents in recent times. His courage was unmovable, his decision to strike, after he had analyzed the facts from the military and CIA on the whereabouts of bin Laden, was the best decision ANYONE, could have made, think about it for a moment....What would have happened if he let bin laden go, and decided Not to make a strike? This is why he and he alone is the "Commander in Chief" and one of the Best we have EVER had: Inteligent, courageouse and because of him, YOU will be safer in your bed tonight! Count your Blessings. Even Ignorant people are safer now.

      May 4, 2011 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
  13. Ilovemycop

    We do not need to see the video. These kinds of missions are top secret and we don't need to know how the SEALs gained entry or what their seek and find techniques are. Just show a photo. We saw graphic photos of the other terrorists. It will bring closure to some and maybe then the conspiracy theorists will have one thing less to talk about. Though I doubt the conspiracy theorists will ever run out of things to talk about.

    May 4, 2011 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
  14. Visionary

    Best way to win the U.S. 2012 President ellection?
    "Finish the search" on the "ultimate face of terrorism" and "kill" him before your term is up!

    May 4, 2011 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
  15. Linden Johnson

    Please DO NOT release the photos of this demonic fool. To do so would scar the hearts of millions of children around the world. It would also "justify" murder to our children as they grow through their curious years. There will always be skeptics as those who still believe that Elvis and JFK are still alive. Supplying them with photos is not justification. The words of the President are surely sufficient.

    May 4, 2011 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
    • NJThompson

      Wow, what a joke. Scar the hearts of children just by releasing photos of a corpse? Where have you been? I love the way you lump all "conspiracy theorists" in with people that think JFJ and Elvis are alive. On second thought, you have to be a fake person, there is no way you are real.

      May 4, 2011 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
    • NJThompson


      May 4, 2011 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Show Me

      Yeah, really? scare the children? Go back to church, and your perfect world. There's far worse stuff out there for the precious children to be tainted by. And if you truly take the word of our govt, or any for that matter, you're just a sheep. Open your eyes.

      May 4, 2011 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
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