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. mud

    Hell kids lie better than the gov, does,,,I say again its all a load of crap.....

    May 4, 2011 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
    • littleriverbaker2

      Nah, It happened, he's dead – let it go.

      May 4, 2011 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  2. alittleteteatete

    Personally, I think it is unnecessary to release such pictures. What's the point? We do not have any reasons to suspect that his death is a false claim. Unfortunately, when something like this is released, every person of any country can see it. You cannot convince me that there will not be violence as a result. Why fuel the fire? And, let's not forget – there are some things that cannot be unseen. We have to think of the consequences.

    May 4, 2011 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  3. mud

    Hell kids lie better than the gov, does,,,I say again its all a load of crap..... Well since OBL is dead,can yall lower the gas prices.

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

    I was forced to watch 2 planes crash into the World Trade Centers and then watch people jump out of windows and fall to their deaths to escape the inferno they were trapped in. The government didn't hesitate to show footage of the 9/11 attacks over and over again. I feel we should be allowed to see the video and photos of this coward who had no regard for human life! President Obama's assurance that Bin Laden is dead is not good enough for me. I need the proof, and not some censored photo!

    May 4, 2011 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Bonnie Shelton

      Michelle, so true. I was at work that day and when we turned on the tv, we all watched and cried while OUR people were being killed by this evil devil whom we gave such an honorable burial. CRAP! He should have been dragged through the streets of New York then burned at Ground Zero.

      May 4, 2011 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
  5. Diana Estlack

    In response to Wendy Chamberline's statement that we should trust our government to decide when the appropriate time to release photos & information regarding Bin Laden's death, I had to laugh. I was 9-years-old when Kennedy was assassinated and I'm 57 now. I hope to still be alive when " my government decides it is time to release the sealed information from the Warren Commission". Unfortunately my parents didn't live long enough to hear what really transpired. So Wendy, don't hold your breath.

    May 4, 2011 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  6. TiredODaCrap

    Aside from pure morbid curiosity, there is no reason/benefit to release these photos or videos.

    May 4, 2011 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
  7. Dick Hertz

    And we're supposed to take a Politicians word on it? Sure, we all know how trustworthy they are. They should see it this way. If we don't see a photo then they don't see our votes? They're supposed to work for the American People. I say again. Supposed to? Independents like me are the fastest, legal, growing Political Group. Don't think Illegal Aliens can put you in Office. We're the Spoilers your greedy Predecessors warned you about. If you can't perform your job then we'll put you on the path to a new one?

    May 4, 2011 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
  8. Bren

    Believe the pigs and follow them like the sheep you all are.

    May 4, 2011 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • littleriverbaker2

      Good God Bren! Sip that conspiracy theory kool-aid. Don't let the crazies tell you what to think or what is real. READ man, read.

      May 4, 2011 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  9. Denise

    Show the pictures...prove the evil is truly gone......we continue to see the death of JFK.....Robert Kennedy....Martin Luther King....Oswald...victims of the Trade center jumping to their deaths...Flight 93 giving their lives to safe others....etc.... The lives we lost at the hands of Bin Laden on 9/11 and were never recovered...prove their lives have been given justice. We are shown the murders of many Americans at the hands of terrorist...why not show us the end of his life? My brother serves in the USAF and was in Iraq due to his evil leadership along with many other brave soldiers ....many of which will never come home to enjoy what we as Americans call Freedom......PROVE he is gone!

    May 4, 2011 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  10. SPC Ramos, Pamela

    I feel they should show the pictures only because how many soldiers did they hang and leave to be displayed in their land. The people of the United States have the right to see the pictures not only for closure but because they show no respect for our fallen comrades.

    May 4, 2011 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Bonnie Shelton

      Exactly, Soldier. What about them displaying their captives then beheading them for all to see!!! After the many years of war and death, we need to see proof. If our government doesn't want to do it for the citizens of America, then do it for our Soldiers who have given their lives because of this devil.

      May 4, 2011 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  11. Brian

    Absolutely. Show them. I want proof.

    May 4, 2011 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  12. Bonnie Shelton

    Yes, show us the pictures and the video so we will all know for sure that he is dead and we are not being led
    astray once more by our President. If you wonder why some of us are doubtful, because we have been lied
    to in the past. Show the proof!

    May 4, 2011 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
  13. Ron B.

    Showing photos will not convince conspiracy theorist, that UBL is deceased. They will claim faked photo/video footage. All showing photos will do is incite al-Qaida to move to more acts of hatred. I can't see any advantage to be gained by equating those images with any sense of closure in that it will not bring back loved ones lost. I understand the sense of relief and justice, but celebrating death? Let's be mindful of the messages we send and the examples of what is appropriate behavior. Is this too will be part of American history.

    May 4, 2011 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  14. smokin11


    May 4, 2011 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  15. Tulsa Tops

    What's the need to see photos or videos except for morbid curiosity. Even if these are made public there will be some idiots demanding the long form death certificate. He's dead. Deal with it..

    May 4, 2011 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
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