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. Libby

    Please don't show photos. Two wrongs don't make a right! Let it go. I admire the treatment of his body by bathing him, wrapping him in a white sheet and giving him a respectful burial at sea. Now it is time to let it go.

    May 4, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jerry M

    Put him on display by way of the film, Americans watched film footage of our men in uniform being beheaded.
    Show the film. Stop babying these people.

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

    Who comes up with this BS, someone's making a whole lot of money with this CRAP!!! but hey its the American WAY!!! LIES LIES, AND MORE LIES...

    May 4, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  4. alex63

    why all the crying about showing Bin Laden's dead body on tv? the media didn't mind showing our boys dead bodies being dragged through the streets of Somalia when the black hawk went down. THAT was more grousome.

    May 4, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Connor

    We definitely need to see the picture to save us all from the annoyance of people saying we are all idiots for believing he's dead. Don't put us all through that.

    May 4, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Connor

    We definitely need to see the picture to save us all from the annoyance of people saying we are all idiots for believing he's dead. Don't put us all through that.

    May 4, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jason

    Our goverment, our elected officials you know the ones WE put in office yeah those guys. They should really listen to the people like they are paid to do. The vast majority of Americans need to see the photos in a way that most can't even explain. Its confirmation we put the right people in offce. Since when do we work for them ?? Its confirmation that our brothers, sisters, daughters, sons, husbands and mothers who have made the ultimate sacrafice have done so in good faith in our goverment. I understand that there are many unseen issues with releasing the photos but the American people need to see these photos to be able to say that ALL of our sacrafices were worth it. OR we can just take "your" word for it. Taking a politicians word? Have we learned nothing ? When did our troops walk off the planes from the middle east or our sailors make port????

    May 4, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  8. alex63

    Libby, the man was responsible for the loss of more than 3500 lives here in our own country, not counting all the other terrorist acts that have transpired here on our own soil...........the man deserves to be laid out to be eaten by vultures. He does not deserve a decent burial. The people in 9-11 certainly didn't ask for what they got.

    May 4, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Makenosense

    "I admire the treatment of his body by bathing him, wrapping him in a white sheet and giving him a respectful burial at sea. Now it is time to let it go"

    Are you ***** kidding me.

    May 4, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Deb

      And you really believe that? Hopefully someone spit on him before they threw him to the sharks! Did the 3,000 who died get a decent burial??

      May 4, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Larry P.

    We saw some of the bodies from 911 and the government showed the bodies of the two sons of Sadam Hussein. We shold have the right to see the body of Osama bin Laden, not for verification but just to see that justice was done for the thousands of people he was responsible for murdering. No matter how grotesque the picture is, we should still have the right to see his body. We had to see our troops getting killed. At least let us be pleased in seeing Osama's body.

    May 4, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Makenosense

    Here's the man who killed 3500 innocent Americans, and you admire the treatment of his body? Did this inhumane, poor excuse of a human being stop to think, hmmm maybe I should respectfully let these people rest. NO. He celebrated smirked and laughed and joked about that atrocity. Us as American's should have kept his body and gained crucial intel on terrorism and said " You want respect, you want his body. Earn it"

    May 4, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Don

    Enough already! The more air time the news mdedia gives ben Laden the more he becomes a marter. We got him; now lets get on to more important news.

    May 4, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • dakota

      More important news? What's the matter with you? What about all the families that lost their loved ones-obviously you were not one of them so you don't care-what is the matter with you?

      May 4, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Dave E

    I can understand the decision for a burial at sea, but who's decision was it to honor the burial rights of Muslim tradition, to a man that was as ruthless as any of our major war criminals ,especially to his own Muslim brethren . He didn't deserve that type of burial. A 45 minute ceremony should have been a 5 minute body dump with the words"May God have mercy on your soul." Simple,.... and that would even be too gracious.

    May 4, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Meg Williams

    We the American people must come together as one and start believing in our government. They will now lie to us about something as important as killing Ben Laden. The president made the right decision by not releasing the images. We should not always have to see in order to believe. If Ben Laden is not dead he will eventually surface with one of his home videos and the fate of the American people in our government will crumble once and for all. Ben laden is dead, I believe it and so should every American. The Terrorist who are demanding to see the images of Ben Laden dead already know he is dead and if they do not they will soon know. The only reason they are demanding to see the images is to fuel more hatred towards Americans and to prove that we are no better than they are, by showing the world and our children brutal images. We have shown the terrorist they will not win, we do not have to prove anything to them. God Bless America, precedent Obama and the Navy Seals. I am extremely proud of our country and our government.

    May 4, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Steve K

    If a single American wishes to view them it should be allowed. Everything the Government holds is the property of the American People. It's time the Government quits believing all is for them to decide alone.

    May 4, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
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