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. carolina

    I think they should release the photos of bin laden body because because the people have a right to know if he really is dead or not because some people think that he isnt dead because the have no evidence that he is dead and maybe this could prove he is dead!!!

    May 4, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  2. enough

    Nothing to be gained by showing any dead person's photo. Let this story Die with Bin Laden

    May 4, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  3. enough

    Our country is hurting for money if you want too see photos and videos $100.00 US.Pay up are shut up.

    May 4, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  4. enough

    Maybe there is something to gain a lot of sick people would pay to see.

    May 4, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Kriss greenn

    I have seen a picture and he's dead (check out KTLA in the photo section. it's not the hoax one) but I want our people here and abroad to be safe. Showing these photo's will just start something cause you all know the media likes blows things out of proportion. For once the media is not getting their hands on a event to pervert it.

    May 4, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Joycelyn Martin

    I say that if our President do not want to show the pictures of the death of Osma Bin Laden to the american people ; I feel it should be shown to the families who lost love ones in the 911attack. I feel this may give them type of ease. Let them come to the White House to see from start to finish. Let those families decide if they want to see the pictures are video's are not. I say this would fair to the familie to who lost love ones on 911.

    May 4, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  7. CKP_3

    I don't think releasing the pictures is needed, and I just went to the KTLA site and there are no pictures of OBL.

    May 4, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Will

    I guess its not WE THE PEOPLE, ITS ME THE PRESIDENT.. He has done a great job so far. Recovering from bush era is not going to be easy, and the Senate and Congress Fight to much. We have earned the right and have payed to see those photos and video. HE WAS WRONG IN HIS DECISION but he can give an order to kill him!!

    May 4, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. roland

    Go ahead release it, they were asking for closure. It good also bring good morale to allies who are fighting terorism.

    May 4, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Alex N.

    Show the pictures, show the video, show everything! Until that's done, people are going to continue to circulate doctored photos and videos. Release all of it! If you don't want to see it, then don't look at it. Personally, after seeing what this horrible person has done to the world, I would love to see what we have done to him.

    May 4, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. roland

    Go ahead release it, they were asking for closure. It could bring good morale to allies who are fighting terorism.

    May 4, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  12. connie

    Please the pakis knew all along they were probably getting paid by OBL to keep their eyes n mouth shut of his whereabouts.Our government should take a good look at the Pakis

    May 4, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. NavyVetJJ

    I am not an Obama supporter, but I do agree not to release the photos, for now. We need to remain vigilant on any terrorist activity as time passes. If the photos were to be released, they would be somewhat grusome, yet satisfying, and it should not be a billboard poster for children and ney-sayers to see and also will trigger the muslims and terrorist to fuel more anger. I do however, would like to see the operational video and photos in the future, possibly in the anniversary future of either the death or 9/11 maybe a decade from now, when the excitment slows down.

    May 4, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  14. NavyVetJJ

    I'd like to add, that conspiracy theorists will always find an issue with anything, even if photos were released. As a Navy Veteran, I do have many friends still around, on USS Carl Vinson and Seal Team Six, and that alone will gratify myself.

    May 4, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  15. NavyVetJJ

    Darn, forgot another thing, I also believe that the photos should be remain classified, but allow a secure place with no way to copy, for closure to NYFD, victims, and widows.

    May 4, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • melanie

      well if you didnt know the photos have already been all over the news in the middle east. so why should they get to see them and we dont?

      May 4, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • THerese Henry

      I feel the President has make the wrong decision in not letting the American see at least one photo. The AMerican people do not need proof but need to have closure we are the ones who have lost our brothers, our fathers, sisiers, childrens, our homes, our jobs, our children feel they have no future and are up to their eyeballs in school debt with no sight of getting a decent paying job and we need to show mercy and turn the other check. Perhaps we can forgive when we see our children are no longer suffering due to this monster's plan to take out our way of life. WE are still facing an uphill battle and our children need to have motivation to see they can be winners and climb that mountain not just forgive and forget and live at homE until they turn 50 because of what this monstger did to try to destroy our way of life tHEY NEED TO SEE AMERICAN WILL PERSERVERVE NOT BRUSH EVERYTHING UNDER THE CARPET.

      May 4, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
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