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. mike

    The world watched as 2 planes were flown into the world trade center so i think the world should get the oportunity to watch the take down of the man who was responsible for that horrific act.

    May 4, 2011 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
  2. Ruth Sperone

    If they truly killed him and others in the compound why is the story changing. First they said he was shot twice in the head and the woman blocking him killed also. Then last night they said one bullet in his head and the woman shot in the leg. Having trouble believing the story now. Show the pictures. Prove it to us.

    May 4, 2011 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
  3. Show Me

    Absolutely show us the evidence. There are way too many holes in this for me to believe it. Seriously...The most wanted man on the planet and not only is he killed (while a woman was shot in the leg?) by the most elite spec ops in the world, but then he's rushed to be buried at sea, because all of a sudden we're so respectful of Islamic rites? And did we do the same for every other Muslim we've killed? Such as his son? Show us the evidence. And i'm pretty good with Photoshop, so make sure you've done your due diligence with the retouching.

    May 4, 2011 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
  4. shane

    I Really do not understand how are goverment can say the pics of bin laden are to graphic to show on television due to children and what not, because i remember on 9/11 on tv seeing people burning, jumping to there deaths to keep from burning to death and this was shown numerous times on tv also people running for their lives in the streets of new york i also have to believe that our goverment did kill him but i would like to see all the proof, i really dont understand how we can say we do not want to offend the terrorist and make them anymore mad at us than they are all already, they are going to hate us no matter what photos are shown, then on top of that we give pakistan money and they were hiding him which is obvious, but we can't help poor people in our own country maybe if we cut pakistan money we wont have to worry about making cuts to our programs like they were trying to do last month!!

    May 4, 2011 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
  5. Eric T.

    I think the photos should be released. The video may compromise security. I believe America needs to stop worring about offending Muslims. Bin Laden was a criminal who commited crimes against the United States. If only a small fraction of 1% of Muslims are radical, no mater what we do, they hate us. If what Imams in the U.S have said is true: that over 99% of Muslims are moderate, they should not be offended. This is justice served on a criminal, not a Muslim. This criminal cheated Americans out of a proper burial, this criminal attacked innocent non combative civilains, this criminal has brought turmoil to the Muslim religion. -We are fully justified: release the photos.

    May 4, 2011 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
  6. Shells

    It is absolutely absurd that people think they need "proof" that he is dead. THINK, people! If he was still alive somewhere, don't'cha think HE would be the first one out there saying, "Hey, I'm alive!" A photo will not prove anything. We live in a tech world, folks. All phots can be faked. Even videos can be faked. The proof, as they say, is in the puddin'. If we don't hear from the man again, take that as your proof!

    May 4, 2011 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Show Me

      there's no doubt he's dead. I just dont think we killed him. He's been dead for years, and we finally have the proof, and this was the perfect time to "let the cat out of the bag". Gas prices high, no birth cert, economy tanking, and oh, BAMs ratings are way down. Now he's a hero. Case closed

      May 4, 2011 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
  7. JinOH

    Why do we need to see the pictures? With all of the press coverage this has received do you think the government would take the chance of saying they killed bin Laden and then having him pop up in another video? I think the government learned from "Mission Accomplished" to not make a large deal out of things not true. He's dead, who cares about the pictures. Move on!

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

      Yes I do JinOh. Obama wins big if everyone just goes along and believes the official line. So what if bin Laden popped up alive later. Then the official story would be "well tis was just a ploy to draw him out of hiding."
      I don't trust anything anybody says without proof. Don't be a sheep!

      May 4, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Doomguy

    Release them. The people who would kill over it will always find some excuse to do so. If not this, then they will find another reason.

    May 4, 2011 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
  9. Jess

    We had no problems showing the footage over and over again of the olympic louger crashing into a poll and dying, we show over and over again people jumping to their deaths from the twin towers, we show our troops mistreating captured solidiers of our enemy, I don't see how or why they can't show us the video and photos of what happened to Osama Bin Laden, sure it will upset memeber s of Alqueda, but I think us celebrating in the streets like a bunch of moranic idiots does the same thing. The longer it takes for this to be realised the less I will be believe and so will many others of the validilty of the evidence. I'm starting to think either one, we didn't really kill him, he is sitll alive somewere or two he's allready been dead for a very long time, and this elobarate story was put together so we feel better as Amercians that we caught our enemy. Release the video and photos allready, show the peole who are cheering in the streets what a dead person looks like, and what death means, yes Osama Bin Laden was murderous terrorists, and didn't deserve to live, but so much death is surrounded by his supposed death that I can't cheer for that.

    May 4, 2011 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Jess

      and one more note, from the people who are saying if we don't hear from Bin Laden again, then we know he's dead...... Really, when was the last time we heard anything from him.....

      May 4, 2011 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
  10. Doug

    I rejoice not in death, but in justice. The blood of the innocents: babies incinerated and crushed, people burned alive and jumping out of windows to their death, emergency workers crushed while trying to save lives, not take them,, has been crying out from the grave for justice since 9-11. Now, justice is served. One does not regret the removal of a cancer if it means life for the rest of the body. I'm glad the cancer has been removed.

    May 4, 2011 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
  11. faye

    Just save them for the campaign trail, eh Obama...

    May 4, 2011 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
  12. Alex N.

    Show the pictures, show the video, show everything! Until that's done, people are going to continue to circulate doctored photos and videos. Release all of it! If you don't want to see it, then don't look at it. Personally, after seeing what this bast_rd has done to the world, I would love to see what we have done to him.

    May 4, 2011 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
  13. Julia

    What worse that could happen. Killing Osama (if that really happened) already fueled hatred among radical muslims, I am sure one picture of his dead body wont do anything. The world wont belive untill they see those pix, Obama- RELEASE it or LOSE it!!!!

    May 4, 2011 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
  14. bob stevens

    100% no it would just our service men in harms way an also the u.s. we dont need to see that devils face any more

    May 4, 2011 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
  15. Suss

    I don't need to see Osama's head blown off. I'm happy just to celebrate the end of his existence.

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