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. David

    No pictures will ever be enough to satisfy the "conspiracy" or "doubting Thomas" crowds. He's dead. Time to move on. What could the US possibly gain by trying to hookwink the world into believing he's dead when he's not!!!! Imagine the repercussions if he magically reappears holding a current issue of the New York Times newspaper!!!

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

      Did you loose anyone in the 911 attacks? If you did not-then do not speak on this. You know nothing about what that feels like. There are those who lost people that this is necessary. If you think for one minute the government would not lie about anything, you are very naieve. He may have been dead long before this attack and they used this to finally annouce it because it is the right time for a reason we will never know. No one will ever know what this government is up to at any time.

      May 4, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Allen

    I can only say one good thing aboout Ol George W. He'd have OBL head on a pole on the White House Lawn!

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

      Wouldn't that be a beautiful sight! I feel bad that President Bush did not get any credit for this. If anyone thinks that obama made this decision you are fools. This is made by the Military and other inside organizations. He was told what to do-lets not make this to be all his doing.

      May 4, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • maggie

      Ah, it appears Dakota knows all. Get over yourself will ya? To speak for all survivors in this way is arrogant in and of itself. Some people may need that closure, as you apparently do; many do not and to belittle someone who may not agree with you is childish.

      May 4, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. jim

    They knew he was there. Forget them and their nuclear weapons. We will stop them and destroy what is their country. We want to be friends with anyone, but why should we be subject to their way of life. Killing just because we, or I don't like somebody. Their way and our way are very much alike. THEIR GOD AND OUR GOD ARE ONE IN THE SAME, WHAT IS THE PROBLEM!! Everybody pray the way they want and let pray as you wish.

    May 4, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Joep

    No, he's dead. Let's not portray ourselves remotely similiar or any worse to the third world nations that enjoy burning our flag.

    May 4, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • dakota

      You don't know that-and true-pictures can be falsified-but it's a start. We don't look bad because we want the families who lost their loved ones to see for themselves. There is nothing wrong with that. Burning our flag? What about all the film footage out there of them taking a small pocket knife and "slowly" cutting our soldiers heads off? This is much different than that. We would not release to be disrespectful-it's for those who reserve the right to see.

      May 4, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  5. mizzdirekt

    This is the news organizations convincing the American people they need to see it, so they can getk as much out of the story as they can. The American people are sheepish and will do what they are told. They will follow orders and demand to see the pictures in the end...why? He's dead people. There is no reason to see this mess accept to pump up your own egos.

    May 4, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • dakota

      You don't know that. From what I have seen, the media seems to not want the photos released. It's the public that wants to see-know why? Because we don't trust our government nor should we. You are the sheep not those strong and brave enough to ask for proof from their government.

      May 4, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      I guess you didn't have any friends or relatives die in the Twin Towers. Your arrogance and disrespect are disgusting.

      May 4, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Judy

    I, for one, would really like to see the body. I don't think anything is too graphic after what we all saw on 9/11. I'm having a hard time believing he actually is dead. Like someone said earlier, why dump the body overboard so soon? Out of the respect of Islam?? That doesn't make sense. He had no respect for any of the several religions involved in 9/11 – so why are we paying any amount of respect to him, of all people. I want to see his dead body!

    May 4, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • dakota

      You have that right! Why, indeed, do we owe them anything remotely "respectful". So many Americans want to say we should look better than them, I say these very people are scared little rabbits afraid to show the "enemy" what we are made of. No one is afraid of Americans because we come across as "pu–y's". If we hung his body out to rot, maybe we would be taken a bit more seriously.

      May 4, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  7. John O'Neill

    Suggest the President show the video to all state governers, representatives of senate and congress etc along with some foreign dignitaries to prove to the skeptics that Osama is dead. A representative for the FAmilies affected by 911 could be included. Don't think we need to prove anything to the world.

    May 4, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • dakota

      That crackes me up-you're assuming these "representatives" are honest. What Country do you live in?

      May 4, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Brett

    I don't need a photo. It will attempt to 'prove a negative' – – that OBL is NOT still alive. Conspiracy nuts will swarm !

    Instead, let OBL prove a 'positive'. If a video of him dancing in the streets – w/ a copy of his NY TIMES obit held high – is released, he will have a huge propaganda victory.

    May 4, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  9. DKW

    Thankfully, it's done. He's buried at sea. Bury the pictures too. Let's not give him or his cause any more public attention.

    May 4, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • dakota

      You don't know that. What are you afraid of?

      May 4, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Allen


    if you really dig for turth, it out there, OBL was dying 9/11 of kindey failure, he was gone by the years end. FACT it out there. ANY RNs OR DOCs out here ? The US was in Iraq looking for WMD, we could not just pack up and leave. We shipped Tanker after Tanker of OIL to CJHINA for the US debt...it out there! I'm a Vet, I'll be the first to fight and die for my country and ALL it people, but I'm not buying the SECRET Agenda of this county. Sorry and Sad

    May 4, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • dakota

      If it makes you feel any better-I agree-he was gone a long time ago. They have other reason's for doing this right now. They went into that house for other reasons-maybe thought it a good time to say he's dead. Who knows when it comes to the government; but, yes; he was dead a long time ago. Didn't think anyone else knew this.

      May 4, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Nick

    Seriously, what proof do "WE THE PEOPLE" really have right now that clearly shows us that our demon is gone?? Show the pictures, get it done with and lay the matter to rest. (no pun intended) Pictures will eventually show up, so please...do what most of America wants and release the pictures. Plainly said, stop wasting time. This issue should have already been satisfied. We've seen pictures like this before of other "terrorists" so whats the big deal? If the nightmare is truely dead, what difference does it really make??? WE WANT THE PICTURES. This "germ" hurt America and hurt it's people...and the government is hesitant to show his picture???? Seriously....get with the program Obama. RELEASE THEM.

    May 4, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • dakota


      May 4, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jerry M

    bin laden should die in every living room in the US, just as the thousands in the Trade Towers did. The American people own the film, show it.

    May 4, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • dakota

      Excellent way to but it-the American people own the film-very good. You're right. And yes, we have been exposed to way, way way worse than this in pictures. Just an excuse. They need time to doctor some photos-don't you think?

      May 4, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Allen

    Show the film!

    Show the film!

    Show the film!

    Show the film!

    Show the film!

    Show the film!

    May 4, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • dakota

      I agree-the film footage would be harder for them to "doctor". They could do it-but it would be a little harder-it's a start. Should have put his body in a climate controlled glass container at ground zero like they did the Pope-don't ya think?

      May 4, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jay

    Is picture of OBAMA face with gun wound isn't real? Where that came from?? Why we have to see whole dead bodY?

    May 4, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • dakota

      No official pictures have been released yet.

      May 4, 2011 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  15. richard Manichello

    Americans will gloat and cheer, and send reproductions across the world on the Internet and its many derivative services. People will indulge just as our enemies do when tragedy befalls us. It will only prove how similar we are, how crass and bloodthirsty, not how superior. Our government is not obliged to show photos of anyone killed in wartime endeavors and/or service. It also diminishes the seriousness and dedication of Special Forces personnel. It is not a media event, it is their clandestine business. Not everything in life demands video reproduction, nor an audience.

    May 4, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • TLZ

      You must not have known anyone who has fought for our freedom since 9/11. I do not believe we should celebrate just anyone's death. However, in my opinion, the day the USA killed Osama bin Laden, should become a National Holiday. Look how we are when it is September 11th each year. That day will always be remembered also.

      May 4, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mel Q

      These pictures should not be thrown out there without some thought. I think that the pictures should be given to, say the Smithsonian, and the media and public can travel there if they want to see these pictures. Forget about it being in the worst taste possible to parade the pictures around. Also, haven't our children and children across the world been subjected to visions of violence. I would not want my kids to see pictures of his dead body all over newspapers, magizines, and the internet. The Presidents needs to allow Americans to calm down before making a decision that is harmful to everyone.

      May 4, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • dakota

      Did you loose anyone on 9/11? If not-be quiet. We are not asking for these photos to be shown in a bloodthirsty, disrespectful way-just to help those who lost people and it may help them-that's all that matters-is anything that will help them. And yes, we do, as Americans loosing our Fathers, Mothers, Sons, Daughters, Sisters and Brothers have the 'RIGHT' ask for photos-the government is put in place to serve us-don't loose sight-they get lots and lots of money to do so.

      May 4, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
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