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. cathy

    Don't release photos..

    May 4, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Righton

      Grow a set and move back to Canada!

      May 4, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Marco

    Hey I'm still waiting for the carbon dating of the birth cert!!!!!! LOL

    May 4, 2011 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  3. chuck

    It's all a conspiracy!!!! I work at a wax works factory, and about a month ago we got a request from the gov to make a wax dummy of usama bin ladin's head!!! Now I see why, it was to be used for the death photo to fake his death!!! This proves the conspiracy that this was all fake. Wow, unbelievable had I not of been there.

    May 4, 2011 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  4. Mike

    here's an idea....make the video and picture public but charge a steep fee and have all the proceeds go to the families of the 9/11 victims and veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (that need it)...also make it so that it can't be cut and pasted on facebook or something...people who just gotta see proof can pay for it...if they don't want to pay...tell them to go kick rocks

    May 4, 2011 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  5. Julie

    As Christians I don't feel GOD would want us celebrating a death this way. Yes we lost alot of Americans 10 years, but as once said "WWJD?"

    May 4, 2011 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  6. BAG

    I have already seen fake pictures spreading around, why not post the real ones and get it out in the open. Americans should not be sheltered and should be allowed to look and celebrate if they choose, or not look and pretend.

    May 4, 2011 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  7. lin paul

    releasing images of bin laden,s dead body serves no purpose but to fuel the fires of hatred. it won't change the mind of anyone who believes he's alive or the hearts of anyone who hates u.s. for killing him. just another scab the world media will not let heal

    May 4, 2011 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  8. Sheila

    There was no problem watching people jumping out of windows during 911. He was the mastermind behind it...why is there a problem seeing his pictures in death. I think our country need this. Members of my own family will not believe it until they see these pictures. I don't feel sorry for Pakistan because no one will ever make me believe they didn't know he was there, right across from the military? Give me a break!!!

    May 4, 2011 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  9. Joe

    The man murdered 3,000 US Citizens on our soil. Have we forgotten the "grusesome" sight of those poor souls jumping from the buildings at WTC? Show the photos, and the video if you have it. Worried about inciting backlash? Why, they dance on our dead, drag them around naked, screw being worried about offending, no one is worried about offending us. Show the pictures and put the issue to rest. I actually want to see the bas^ard's death, with all the pain he has caused me personally, I want to want him die.

    May 4, 2011 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  10. Abbie Abbs

    Wow. When will it come to an end? All of you ADULTS are so SELFISH and BLIND SIGHTED. Think about the kids!!!! As much as Id love to see the pictures I would like them kept hidden from plain view for the sake of my 4yr old. The pictures are going to clearly be inappropriate yet published EVERYWHERE. Yeah yeah yeah, they see it everywhere blah blah blah....does that make it CORRECT??? NO!!! As an American I ask that my country protect my child and all the rest of the children by not releasing the pictures.

    May 4, 2011 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Sharon

      Good for you. You are right. I don't feel it sets a good example to dance in the streets regarding a death, either. We can be satisfied, but war and death are serious. Let it go.

      May 4, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      I have one question to ask. Why is it that we continue to vilify ourselves for taking out Bin Laden? It makes absolutely no sense. I mean, if we are going to do that, argue about it, and continue to make a big public display about it then maybe we should have just left Bin Laden alive, well, and retired in Pakistan? I mean, would you all really have rather had that? I doubt it. The fact is, that releasing a photo of his corpse and dancing on his grave in jubilation doesn't remotely bring us down to his or anyone in Al Qaeda's level of evil or delusion. We've endured years of them burning our flag, releasing photos of our dead and charred GI's, and countless beheading video's. We've seen the images and thing that their vengeful hearts have created, and to that end, it is time to see the images of justice being served to them. End of story.

      May 4, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Ryan

    Of course we should release the photo. In a world where LiveLeak, Best Gore, and The YNC exists there's really no shortage of gruesome pictures floating around out there. Either that, or someone will just send a copy on over to Wikileaks and let them take the fallout.

    May 4, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Sharon

    Are we not supposed to be better than them? If this is a war, then we are bound by Geneva Convention not to show the dead bodies, aren't we? I'm sorry, I feel we should take the word of our President and top Military officials. If we can't trust them, then maybe we should buy into the conspiracy theory of 9/11, too.

    May 4, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Kevin Jankoski

    We should most surely release the photo’s. Can they be any worse than us watching the death of nearly 3000 of our friends and family choose between Burning to death or Jumping to their death on 9/11 ? As a disabled American veteran I believe this is the closure we have been waiting for, President Bush promised us the people that did this would hear us all soon, and I believe Osama Bin Ladin can hear the cheers of his death all the way to the bottom of the sea and in hell too.

    Kevin M. Jankoski

    May 4, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  14. TV

    i say, release them. if you dont want to see them dot look at them

    May 4, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  15. layaansajid

    Terrorist are the ones who likes to show the horror they create, because they know it fuels anger; the internet is full of photos of mutilated bodies and killings done by terrorist, I plead with my fellow Americans that we not stoop to that level with such a high profile individual, it will solve absolutely nothing!

    We americans are not terrorist, we are people not animals and we should not stoop to the terrorist level and release the photos of the dead Bin Laden. What will that do, even if the photoes are realease there will be skeptics who will challenge the authenticity of the photos and video!

    We will never satisfy the hunger of curious and skitical individuals and this world is full of those!

    I think as American we need to trust tha our government is doing its job and let it be; what benefits does Obama get by making such a huge statement in front of the world. Can you imagine if we lied about having killed Bin Laden and the guy surfaces some years later, the humiliation and national embarrasement will be terrible... let it go, they guy is dead and to those who have been hurt by Bin Laden, my heart goes out to you as I can never change what has happened.

    May 4, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • dave

      I agree. Let's show the world we're above this type of barbarism. The photo release would serve no purpose other than to appease people with a morbid curiosity. Let them get their jollies elsewhere.

      May 4, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • sguyse

      I totally agree with you. To post photos is in very poor taste but most importantly, it is just morally wrong....any way you look at it. I pray that our leaders will have the discernment to realize how wrong it will be to do this.

      May 4, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
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