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. Jan Gott

    I feel that they should show the photograph of this tyrants demise. After all we have all seen the death pictures of Bonney and Clyde, Babyface Nelson, and others, and they were just bank robbers. He was one of the worst of the worst against humanity world wide

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

      Good point! I have seen all those photos also-I can bet you that those photos are much worse than what the government would release.

      May 4, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  2. JohnG

    This is all political propaganda people!! Obamas rating was so low he had to pull a rabbit out of his hat or should I say aOBL!!!!

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

      That's funny-you have that right. I don't care what comes out-this is a blind for something else. I am not a "conspiracy" person-but I will tell you-Osama was dead a long time ago-there were other reasons for all of this and the Pakistani Govt. could also be in on it-there are huge secrets in our government-and the poor ignorant american people fall for it. I feel and sense a lot of lies regarding all of this. Now all of a sudden there were several children there that can testify? Com'mon.

      May 4, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Allen

    IT's a FAKE.......Wake Up. use you brain!!!!!!!!!! for god sake man READ.........Search Understand

    May 4, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • dakota

      Yes-it is-I agree.

      May 4, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  4. hans

    why not release the photos, the public is being told that the photo is so gruesome, I doubt that very much,...I believe that flying 2 airplanes into the World Trade Center is not gruesome, if not that then what is?,...yes show the photos, to send this terrorists a message, you can not hide, and this is how you will look when we get you,....

    May 4, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Denizen Kate

      Gloating and celebrating over gruesome images of our enemy's demise would make us just like them. Do you really want that? Let's be better people. If the SEALs say they got him, that's good enough for me.

      May 4, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Hans! EXACTLY!!!! I'm with you!

      May 4, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • dakota


      May 4, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  5. P A Scott

    We do not need to see these photos – they will just inflame some and disgust others. It's enough to know he is dead and Thanks to the Navy Seals for a job well done.

    May 4, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Denizen Kate

      Where's the "Like" button? Well said.

      May 4, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • dakota

      Who's "we"-do you have a mouse in your pocket? "you" may not be interested-then again"you" probably didn't loose anyone or watch a burn victom go through a "hell" from scrubing off flesh several times a day in a hospital for months after 911. If you didn't loose anyone-be silent.

      May 4, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Allen

    Show the film!
    Show the film!
    Show the film!
    Show the film!
    Show the film!
    Show the film!

    May 4, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • dakota

      Yes-show the film-all of it. Those who don't want to see "DON'T"-for those who do-it is our right as American ciizens.

      May 4, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Craig Vale

    I'm in favor of publishing the photos. Al Queda had no problem with posting the horrific video of the beheading of Nick Berg for no other reason than shock value. No photo of Osama could come near that horror.

    May 4, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Yes. We are allowed to see many gruesome pictures of United States citizens and service people being murdered over and over for ten years but one photo of the murder's ugly dead face is too "gruesome" for public viewing? The U.S. government better release a photo soon because public support for the government is going down the drain by the minute for holding it back.

      May 4, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • dakota

      Thank you-I'm the only one that bring's that incident up-how quickly the "americans who are so afraid" don't want to remember that. That was one of the worst, horrific things I can imagine-a picture is nothing compared to that-so let's see the picture-not that they can't make one up-but, let's go for it anyway.

      May 4, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Makenosense

    The thing I don't understand is that we "respected" the wishes of burying him within 24 hours, yet did they show us any respect after the 9/11 incident? No, they celebrated, they spat on us consistently. Why the hell should we show them respect after what they did.

    May 4, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      I agree entirely. Respect has to be earned and Bin Laden was very far from qualifying for respect.

      May 4, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • dakota


      May 4, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  9. jampaalb

    We had to sit and watch innocent civilians die on live TV on September 11, 2001. I had to witness innocent people jumping off buildings before they were burnt alive. I bet everybody remembers the couple that jumped from the buildings holding hands as cameras zoomed in as they were falling. Almost ten years later these images are very clear in our minds. Did the Al-Qaeda think of the consequences those images will have? Weren't those images "too graphic for the masses"? I think it is only fair to offer closure to the American people by showing absolute proof that we got the person responsible for the attacks of 9-11. The pictures are going to be graphic, so if you can't handle them then don't watch them but many people deserve to see proof.

    May 4, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • TLZ

      I agree. Show the videos and photos. I still remember exactly where I was standing and what I was doing at that sad morning on 9/11. Each year the news shows those same photo's over and over. That was such a sad day for our country and the military are still fighting for our freedom caused from that day. I do not believe Obama should get credit for Osama bin Laden. He didn't do it, our military did it!

      May 4, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • dakota

      Yes-we do deserve to see-and yes, those who don't want to-don't look. You are right about those vision still stuck in my head. Horrific. A lousey picture is nothing compared to that.

      May 4, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • dakota

      TO TLZ – You are absolutely right! Obama is so smug-the way he annouced this made me sick to my stomach. He did not make this decision-the military and other secret sector did. You notice everyone in that room was sitting up, erect and foward-but he was all slouched up in a ball in the corner? Does that look like a brave decisive man to you? No me. The American pubic is so snow-balled. He just wants to further his election campaign. Sad.

      May 4, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Covert

    Let everyone wonder if he's really dead all they want. The President needs to be smug and just leave it as is. This is U.S. Special Ops..be very afraid, if you cross the US they will find you, and nobody will even know what happened to you. The mystery of it all is powerful. The U.S. needs that.

    May 4, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • dakota

      The mystery is not powerful for those who lost their loved ones. obama is smug thought-you have that right-although he didn't do anything.

      May 4, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Allen

    I hope It's true, I saw on the news last night and basicly they call the Marines and Arny Special Forces "in my interpation, a bunch of "Candy Asses" not able to pull this type of operation off, WEB MSNBC. I hope this does not turn up to be FAKE. A Marine or Ranger would not stoop for such a low life ploy. Show the film!

    May 4, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Denizen Kate

    No amount of video or photographic evidence will convince conspiracy theorists, so why bother? It won't satisfy the doubters and will only inflame our enemies. If the Navy SEAL team claims they got him, that's good enough for me. I'm not dancing in the streets in celebration of Bin Laden's demise, but I do feel enormous relief that the world's burden has been lightened by one less bad guy. More, please. Go Navy!

    May 4, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Joseph

    I say show the pictures, Let all of Al Qaeda see these pictures.. let them all see that this "Holy Warrior" they look up to is in the end another dead terrorist like all Al Qaeda members will be. Let them feel the sense of loss and hurt that all 9/11 victims and family felt and better yet let them know the U.S will never stop till Justice is Served.

    May 4, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Matt

    The way i see it, if you won't show the picture/video of Osama, then they should stop showing the video's from 9-11. I guess the videos of the air planes crashing into the buildings, the people jumping out, and the buildings falling aren't graphic? The picture is gonna be released somehow, either through the president or someone leaking it. Why not just give the people what we want and show the picture? If you dont want to look at it, then don't look at it,

    May 4, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jessaca

    I for one would like to see not only the photos but the video as well. I know with all the technology today that the photos and the video can be doctored up, but how will the people of the world really ever know if the USAis telling the truth or not without any proof? News stations can just simpley not show it on TV and just post it on all their web sites with a big warrning of what the videos will have in it before clicking on the play button.

    And like ford429 said I want to see before and after, so I can see for myself if it was the real person they killed.

    May 4, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
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