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. brittany lopez

    i think they should not have told the world that they had found him and the killed him yes it is wrong what he did to us but it is not right to go back at ppl the is the way i was rasied

    May 4, 2011 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  2. sjd1217

    We don't post pictures of executed prisoners in America after they have died. I don't see anything good coming from showing his dead photos and potentially a lot of bad came come from displaying them. We do not need to waste any more energy on him.

    May 4, 2011 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
    • security

      "We don't post pictures of executed prisoners in America after they have died. "

      good thing this didn't happen in america then. And also your statement is wrong as past people who were executed have been shown to prove they are dead.

      May 4, 2011 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  3. Janet Goepfert

    All I need to know is that the government has 100% identified him as DEAD, and why do you need all the details, have you ever been in an intense situation like that, they shot and killed one of the worst terrorist of the world, be thankful he can't hurt us anymore. You news people keep it up and your going to start a war with Pakistan. Just what this country does not need, another war. Hasn't there been enough blood shed for you people or what. Be thankful we have the military support that we have and just let it go. I for one stood up and cheered for our Navy Seals, they did what they did to protect you and me. We couldn't pin point where this man was for the last 10 years, what makes you believe that they knew where he was. Keep it up and we will be at war with Pakistan, cut off the money supply and see what they do then, we have Americans starving, homeless and we give them BILLIONS of dollars. UNBELIEVABLE, they aren't worth it, make there own way in life as we have. End all communications with these people, pull our troups and start supporting our own country.

    May 4, 2011 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  4. Glenn

    No, never show the photos. What is the purpose? Such a morbid thing to do and we certainly don't have to stoop to 'their' level of barbarianism. He is dead and this would only fuel the rage of an already angry crowd against the U.S. Just what we need. Let it go. He is dead...accept it and move on.

    May 4, 2011 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  5. Susan Anthony

    We don't need to see photos or videos to know Osama bin Laden's evil self has left the planet. The USA should not bow to pressure from Taliban or other terrorists who want photos released. They just want to inflame the situation to their advantage. It doesn't matter what other people say or think. We got him and he is history. That's all I need to know.

    May 4, 2011 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
  6. Photonerd28

    @SJD1217: In death penalty cases, the families of the victims are allowed to watch the death of convict if they so choose to. All of us have a right to see the photos of Osama Bin Laden's corpse, gruesome my butt: what about rolling stone's article "The Kill Team". They had no issues publishing photos of a 15 year old boy that the soldiers took as "trophy" pictures after their kills.

    May 4, 2011 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  7. joejoe

    Don't do it. just do not do it.

    May 4, 2011 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
  8. Greyson

    If I don't see pictures. Then I will not believe it. The longer they hold the photos the more I think the Govt is trying to cook up a photoshop masterpiece.

    May 4, 2011 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
    • lanjha

      Come on. 911 was a conspiracy isn't it?

      May 4, 2011 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  9. Leslie G

    I want pictures. I am not a freak who likes to see dead people, but due to the lack of trust I have for our government I need actual proof the terrorist is dead.....DNA doesn't work for me

    May 4, 2011 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |

    on a issue like this where the US as already promissed that where ever Bin Laden is he will face justice,why should the Us care about woulf opion. But for the US citizens the truth and accuracy and photogaphs should be honestly revealed for the healing to take place.

    May 4, 2011 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  11. Trinity Miller

    I would have to say that people have a right to see the pictures and the video, if you want to see them then do not look. We have video games that are voilent and filled with gore, so why is this any different we put pictures of Hussiens sons up all over the place when they were killed and there was no even a pause to think if we should. So I say bring it on, I am not a victim of his wrong doings, but we all deserve to know that he is truely dead.

    May 4, 2011 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  12. Greyson

    The fact is. They ditched the body in the ocean and in 24 hours after his supposed death because bin laden has been dead for years. He has been on ice for like 8 or nine years. They dumped the body to cover up the forensic evidence that he died before Saddam. They are putting a delay on photos for means of cooking up a perfect photoshop masterpiece. Why did they put the body to sea in accordance with Muslim law? What the heck kind if Muslim was bin laden anyway? A horrible one.

    May 4, 2011 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  13. R Johnson

    If the Navy seals say that got him – they got him. That has more validity than a picture, a video, or an announcement from a politician.

    May 4, 2011 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  14. TWG

    Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed

    May 4, 2011 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  15. Gloria Argenti Hobor

    It is my opinion that a select group of people, which should include congress, should view the pictures and video. No one should be allowed to take pictures or record anything during that viewing. These people can then confirm what was observed. We should not lower ourselves to the standards of the Bin Laden regime. This could only put our troops in more danger as well as all American citizens.

    May 4, 2011 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Sherry Ann

      "They" showed us the pictures of our soldiers charred bodies hung from a bridge and I have the right to see that a bullet hole inOBL head was a cartridge well "spent."

      May 4, 2011 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      WRONG...We the American people have the right to see the pictures and the proof, he is the slaughter of thousands on American soil, and still thousands more around the world; WHY IN THE HELL are we so concerned about not offending the very people that hid, supported and worked for him. Why did he get a "proper" burial at sea? Thousands of people in the twin towers didn't get a "proper" burial, why should he? this whole "issue" infuriates me...

      May 4, 2011 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
    • rah

      the gop will LEAK it anyhow if they think it will hurt obama, so just release them already.

      May 4, 2011 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Calle13

      Just release it to the public, The united states government lies too much, we, the citizens need proof!

      May 4, 2011 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      You tell 'em Sheryl!

      May 4, 2011 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
    • DCJAFO

      Shelly..who are "They"????

      May 4, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
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