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. Gloria

    I believe bin Laden is dead and gone, but I also believe the public has a right to see the proof. Conspiracy theorists abound, and there will always be those who choose not to believe that he's dead. However, to not release the photos in order to placate some who would be inflamed, is not a very good reason. We saw the Hussein brothers' bodies, and we witnessed Sadaam's walk up to the gallows, and later, his corpse; why not the most wanted man in the world?

    Congratulations, Mr. President, Navy Seals, the military, and intelligence agencies on a job well done!!

    May 4, 2011 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  2. Bonnie

    The best comment posted anywhere over the last 3 days came from a woman named Dorothea, who said "If a Navy Seal says he's dead – he's dead."

    May 4, 2011 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      Send the Navy SEALs to the Rush Limburger show and let him call them liars to their faces. Then send them over to FOX, and be sure you have the fire department right behind them.

      May 4, 2011 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  3. Mel

    Post the pics...if one wants to view they should be available. The world, except for maybe a few unfortunate followers, should be Happy this Evil person is Dead! He Demonstrated No Feelings For Human Life!

    May 4, 2011 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  4. Catherine Runnals

    Hooray the wicked witch the wicked witch is dead. I don't want any pictures if it will hurt our country or our allies to get back at us. Also, who cares if he was armed or not. Were the people in the towers. Would not even give that monster a change to open his mouth. Seals did there job, and the way those nuts arm themselves with explosives, shot first would be the only way to go. I would not trust Pakistan. If there was a huge home built in my area, I would be nosy to
    Find out who lived there especially if it had high walls and barb wire. Hope the government checked that house for tunnels or hidden doors. I believe there is more there then the Seals had time to get.
    government better open it's eyes.

    May 4, 2011 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  5. Beadlesaz

    Releasing the photos will do no good. Those who need to see them to "prove" OBL's death will only claim the photos were doctored. Those who need to see them to get closure for their losses will not get what they seek. The photos will only stoke the anger in the other crazies and serve the prurient interests of the sickos. The photos certainly do not need to be shown to the Congress – who performance of responsible behavior is noticeably lacking. The photos would be on the internet within minutes!

    May 4, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • James R. Strickley

      Show all photos of Bin Laden, not just Americans, but for all of the animals who still kill our military...Just let all the
      world media show that we will kill them, too. The message is very clear...let none of us forget 9/11. The ugly truth,
      Al Qaeda leaders must die. Freedom is for all and all countries must stand by the USA...the cost of human life
      has unconditional value.

      Sgt. James R. Strickley

      May 4, 2011 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  6. Mel

    Hopefully Moammar Gadhafi is Next!

    May 4, 2011 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  7. Beth

    In ancient times they would place the enemys severed head on a pole and display it for all to see outside the city walls. It was barbaric then and even more so today. We don't need to stoop to this level by displaying photos of Bin Ladens dead body. I hope we have evolved in civilization. We are better than that. I hope.

    May 4, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  8. Buster Bloodvessel

    I'd like to see a photo proving Dick Cheney didn't conspire with al-Qaeda and get the president out of DC on that particular day when he knew the planes were coming. Can I get THAT photo released?

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

    Transparency was promised by President Obama. Release the pics. The American people deserve to see the pics. We have given our sons and daughters and our treasure to kill bin Laden. Let us see the pics.

    May 4, 2011 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  10. Mike

    Share the photos! It couldn't be anymore grusome than watching people pludge to there deaths from the WTC.

    May 4, 2011 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  11. George

    Shame on our government for delaying the release of the photos.

    May 4, 2011 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  12. George

    The longer they wait to release the photos, the more outraged I become.

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

      What the hell is wrong with you? What kind of a ghoul are you that you want to see something like that, and then to get "outraged" over waiting? You're a nut. You should go get checked out, REALLY.

      May 4, 2011 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Fred, If you are not enraged by what Bin Laden did and want to see proof of his demise, you're the nut. Thousands of people died and billions of dollars have been spent because of this guy and we finally got him. The American people have paid an enormous price to get rid of him. The least the government could do is show a picture. We paid billions for it.

      May 4, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Fred

    If I were President there is no way the pictures would be released. I mean come on. This isn't a game. The man is dead. Everyone who has any sense knows it. Who is anyone to be requiring photographic proof? And what is the release of a photo going to do anyway? The same crackpot conspiracy theorists will then simply discount the photo as a fake. There is nothing to be gained by releasing a photo of this man's corpse. What President Obama needs to do is hold a press conference saying simply "He's dead. Trust me. If anyone sees or hears from this jerk again, I'll give you 5 million out of my own pocket." END OF PRESS CONFERENCE. 45 seconds from start to finish. Let's move on.

    May 4, 2011 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  14. bob

    The government has no duty to satisfy someone's desires to see a snuff film.

    I certainly wouldn't mind seeing them myself. The closure would be nice, but don't for a second delude yourselves into thinking the government MUST show them.

    May 4, 2011 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  15. Buster Bloodvessel

    I don't care about the photos any more than I cared about that loony burning a Koran, except that I don't want any Americans hurt over it. I'm sorry you Republicans are having to eat nails wrapped in duct tape over this, but try to understand: Bush didn't WANT Osama caught. He was soft on terrorism. Obama restarted the hunt for Osama a year ago, because he's NOT soft on terrorism. When we started chasing him, we soon caught him.

    May 4, 2011 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
    • T10050

      What are the facts you offer to support this?

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

      I believe it is very wrong to show the pictures of Bin Laden death. People who love this type of evil will soon be making post cards and all kind things to glorify him. Then, they will want you to bring his body up form the deep! We need to show, that America is "far better" than the Bin Laden's of this world!

      May God bless and protect the America.


      May 4, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
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