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. Lee

    Will the release of the pictures bring about anything good? I can't see that they will. If we trust those in charge of protecting our country, Americans should now feel secure that this man is deceased and can no longer bring about the great human suffering he previously inflicted. We can make many justifications for and against the release of the photos, but in the end, our children (who will have access to these images) do not need to see more gruesome death.

    May 4, 2011 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  2. Allen

    I have questions, and foreign news groups are great in showing the other side, Germany, Korea, India etc.
    WHERE are pictures of Bin Ladins SON’s BODY?
    Where is the kidney dialysis machine equipment photos in the compound that keep him alive since it’s a fact he needed drained twice a day since 9/11 to stay alive.
    Why haven’t we heard or seen his wife yakking on some facebook page or the name of the 12 year old daughter released.
    Osama bin Laden died in a cave of kidney failure in December 2001 EFS!
    The US needs closure and I’m proud American and can see the need. I just thing the US has played the country for a pack of suckers for too long. The last 50 years TOO Long

    May 4, 2011 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  3. Anne

    an image can not be removed from our thoughts, how is a photo of Osama's death going to benefit any of us? how will u explain the look of death to your children? we're suppose to rise above, be strong and set an example.

    May 4, 2011 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  4. Cap'n Rita

    I'll say it again. You can release all of the photos, videos, reports you want. You can parade ObL's mutilated corpse through the entire country with his mother weeping beside it and there will always be nut-jobs who will find a way to say it was faked. You can't prove anything to those who do not want to see it. We need to move on and finish this business as quickly as possible.

    May 4, 2011 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  5. Kristofer Kielsen

    Don't release them.

    The release accomplishes nothing. Knuckleheads who refuse to believe the obvious are not worth a change of policy. The photos will be perceived as taunting by some in the MidEast, and that will incite further hatred and calls for revenge. We know Osama's dead. Let's close the chapter and move on.

    May 4, 2011 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Karen Poore

      "We know Obama is dead" How do you know he is dead? Because someone told you? Hey, I have a bridge to sell you!

      May 4, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  6. Sun Tzu

    Sensitivities?! How about the countless hours of new coverage of our "UNITED STATES CITIZENS" being beheaded, drug through the streets, hung from bridges, leaping to their deaths from the Twin Towers!!!!! The Muslim extremist had no moral filters when they broadcasted those in-humane murders. Has America become so PC and concerned with offending religious zealots and whack jobs such as OBL that we dare not wave our country's flag and show our unwavering support for our troops? To stand up and cheer and celebrate for surgically removing a piece of human cancer infected with hate and Hitler like ideals, oozing puss filled hate speech! I dont need to see the pictures of his dead body... but I would certainly not refuse to see them. Hell I just might make it my wall paper!

    May 4, 2011 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  7. stormin4

    Release the pics and video to minimize the inevitable conspiracy theories. If the photo is too grotesuqe–DON'T LOOK AT IT! Agree with those who have said there was no privacy in showing the tragedy unfolding on 9/11 and videos and photos of people jumping from the World Trade Center

    May 4, 2011 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  8. fatboyslimm55

    There is no need to release these graphic photos. In proving his death in a court of law they would not be allowed into evidence. Release the death certificate and DNA test results. That is more than sufficent. We MUST consider the safety of our service men and women as well as government employees stationed in harm's way of Al Quaeda. Look at what happened when that nut Terry Jones burned the Quran! 12 people were killed. There will always be conspiracy theorists for whom no amount of proof will suffice. We need not appease them. If he were alive, we would hear from him. To those who say "Why not? They filmed Daniel Pearl being beheaded!" I would respond, "Really? And did you approve of that? Are we no better than that?"

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

    I don't want to see his picture. I think it will put our troops and all American's in more danger than need be. Once released, the pictures will be shown on TV and news print adnausum for ages. there is no need. Also agree that the conspiracy theorists won't believe pictures anyway. I do hope pictures are not released.

    May 4, 2011 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  10. Karen Poore

    At my age I do not trust/believe anything without evidence. Isn't that what/how science is based on – evidence?
    Their is so much corruption in the US and the world ... so I say prove it!

    May 4, 2011 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  11. Allen

    I voted for President Obama and “still” believe, follow and will vote for him again! I just hope some camel jockey does not show up at the National Enquirer with a leg bone form a cave and they pull a plug from OBL sister and do a DNA test. The republicans will have a hay day.

    May 4, 2011 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  12. stormin4

    Why shouldn't we celebrate the victory of good over evil....God over the devil?

    May 4, 2011 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  13. TP

    What is everyone talking about. Type "dead body of bin laden" in google Image search and you will see the photo right on the top.

    May 4, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  14. Grandma J

    I feel the government reveals way too much in most everything they do. There is no need for show these pics or anyother pics. The general public does not need to know how, what, when, or where during any operations.

    May 4, 2011 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  15. J S Moeller

    Only because video and photos of our dead mutilated soldiers being dragged through the streets were shown by the extremists, is why I believe these photos should be shown. Muhammad and Jesus preached fighting for the good of humanity; our soldiers are doing just that; Osama had no good intentions of killing our loved ones on 9/11.

    May 4, 2011 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
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