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. Rad

    The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 is to be awarded to President Barack H Obama for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to Obama's vision of and work for a peaceful world.
    Please look for the peace ...it is the answer

    May 4, 2011 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
  2. J Jones

    Tell me why does jt matter if Bjn Laden was armed or not. Did he check to see if any of those people he killed was ARMED? MY DAUGHTER HAS BEEN DEPLOYED ON Navy Ships 5 times in this war. I wonder if she had lost her life would Bin Laden have CARED. STOP trying to pick the mission apart. The world was given a blessing. Leave it alone.

    May 4, 2011 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Shumway

    Look anyone that thinks the release of the photographs of Bin Laden's body is a First Amendment Freedom of Speech issue is obviously not legally trianed. President Obama is not restricting or prohibiting the press or anyone from releasing the photographs; he is simple exercising his power of Executive Privilege and denying them access to government property. He is responsible for foreign affairs and he clearly believes that the release of the photographs is a national security issue. Legally speaking, a court would find that a potential national security breach is a compelling governmental issue and that refusing to release the photographs is necessary and narrowly tailored to accomplish the compelling governmental interest.

    May 4, 2011 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • SBradley

      I believe Bin Laden is dead..unfortunatly 2/3 of the Muslim world still think he is probably alive. The photo needs to be shown..there is more grusome things seen in Hollywood films ,than a man with a shot thru the head..it does not have to be a grusome photo. But we will now have the Muslims' world version of "sighting Elvis" and he IS Alive.....I knew there would be a spin to the news..that this is just USA propoganda..a photo would end this !

      May 5, 2011 at 1:16 am | Report abuse |
  4. kathysig

    I agree that releasing a photo of Osama Bin Laden would not only be morbid but could further enrage terrorists and lead to reprisals- what is the obcession with this? I completely understand the President's decision and frankly have seen all I ever want to see of Bin Laden!

    May 4, 2011 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jill Klann

      Don't be so nieve – he threw his # 5 wife in front of him – coward that convinced people to beleive him. Show his sorry butt to the world. Your children should learn from this – as a parent – you should be teaching them about these crazy people in the world. Buck up – be a parent..............

      May 5, 2011 at 1:17 am | Report abuse |
  5. matt

    i think that they should show the pictures and the videos of him being killed. He made us watch our people being killed in 9-11 and he is the reason why most of the kids dont have fathers or mothers. And look at the destruction he did to our world. I think the people that died on the air planes would like to see them. if it wasnt for our people trying to take back over the plane the white house would probaly be destroyed and more deaths!

    May 4, 2011 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Simone

    GRAPHIC is what millions of people watched on 9/11. Bin Laden laughed while people burned to death or jumped out of the 100th floor in the twin towers knowing they are going to die. I do not know anyone personally that died that day and yet, even i, think these pictures should be shown. The people who's relatives and loved died at the hands of Bin Laden are the ones deserve to see the man that killed their friends and family who have suffered like they have for the last 10 years. Not showing the picture because of repercussions from Al-Quada just comes across that the Americans are scared. I heard someone on the CNN news say today that it is the American tax dollar that paid to find this mass murderer. The people have the right to decide. Just like if our friends and relatives were murdered, we can never have closure until we SEE that Justice done, hearing is a relief closure is seeing the END RESULT. Obama you should let the people (Americans) decide.

    May 4, 2011 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Roseann

      Simone & Jill,

      After reading the posts, must say I agree with you. I am good friends with a family completely shattered by the 9-11 tragedy; having lost a family member in the North tower. Living across the street from the towers, the child saw his father die when the building collapsed. THAT was graphic. The child continues to have significant mental health problems related to severe depression and is hospitalized – 10 years later. THAT's graphic. That's just one of the real human interest stories that Osama's legacy has created. CNN (or whichever) could show the picture but forewarn viewers so that those who don't want to see it, don't have to. BUt taking away the rights of the people to see the photo is similar to the dictatorial mandates of some of the other governments we are so quick to fight against.... in the name of freedom and democracy. For my president to tell me 'NO YOU CAN'T' takes away some of my rights and freedom. The other thing is, when discussing "Graphic", our media did not think it too graphic to show our own president's head being shot – and skulll and brains blowing out- nearly 5 decades ago, so in that sense, we are moving backwards... OR.... into a form of "democracy" that is more rigid and controlling. Many many victims of 9-11 need to see the photo. As with many people who have experienced loss, they need to see it for closure. From a person who lost a loved one MIA, there has never been closure since the body was never found. The Americans who want or need that closure should be allowed that opportunity and not be dictated to about why they cannot. And as already said, to always be "afraid" of others' reactions only makes us look cowardly and easily pushed around. We, as a country, are so intensely wary of not remaining 'politically correct' at every moment, we lose some of that foundation that first made us so strong and had others viewing us as a strong country.

      May 5, 2011 at 2:18 am | Report abuse |
  7. E. Marie

    No one asked to see the pictures of "weapons of mass destruction" that former President Bush sent our sons and daughters off to die over. So we don't need to see these pictures as a source of proof that a man is dead. What are you people barbarians? No we are Americans!! Are we to stoop to the level of terrorist. Come on we are better than that and I personally don't need my kids seeing this. Justice has been served now leave it alone. I'm still not sure that Osama is the only one responsible for our terror on 9/11 who else should we be looking for? ("hmmmm...I'm just saying!")

    May 4, 2011 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
  8. rob

    The picture that their showing on CNN are horrible. Please CNN have some decency. I agree with the president. If you show these pictures, it would be putting our soldiers at harm. Those picture they showed of his son and the courier are horrible. I like CNN but I thought that was very disrespectful of CNN. Please let that go. The media is the one hyping this up. We also have journalist in countries. Their lives can be a stake too. STOP IT.

    May 5, 2011 at 12:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Jill Klann

      The so called jouralists are idiots to be there. There are way too many stories in the USA to cover – homeless Veterans – and we spen billions to Pakistan and other countries that think we are idiots........ give me a break.

      May 5, 2011 at 1:11 am | Report abuse |
  9. Cornelius bragg

    Don't ask what"s we can't proof he"s dead. ask them to proof he"s a life

    May 5, 2011 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |

    thanks God this guy don:t kill more enocent people this is divine justice

    May 5, 2011 at 12:33 am | Report abuse |
  11. Luigi

    There is nothing, absolutely nothing to be gained by showing pictures of this event. If it happened, so be it, if it didn't happen, the truth will surface. That should be enough for anyone to consider.

    May 5, 2011 at 12:58 am | Report abuse |
  12. Jill Klann

    My husband is one of the ORIGINAL SEAL Six guys – and he said Obama made a mistake to Not show the picture right off the bat. We saw Hussein – so why not bin Laden ? It really does not make sense not to show him – especially since he was such a coward to throw his #5 WIFE (JOKE IT ITSELF) in front of himself. (My personal opinion – love the SEAL that saved us millions of dollars in keeping him "safe" for a trial that would take the US government freaking dozens of years - I'll donate the 17 cents for the bullet) anyway – media – you suck – you actually sound as if you are defending bin Laden. Do you ever listen to your self talk ?????????????

    May 5, 2011 at 1:06 am | Report abuse |
  13. Franklin Ben-Weller II

    I do sincerely think and agree with the "Iron Man" of the free world , President Obama and his team of national security not to release the photos of the mass murderer because he will not only be putting America in harms way but indeed the rest of the civilsed and peace loving world. If the "doubting Thomases" hold the opinion that this pathetic and insane terrorist is still alive, then let them prove their case by showing the American people and the rest of the world bin laden's living body. I also think they may as well want those brave seal to appear on national television to tell their story how they undertook that herculean expedition to make the rest of us sleep in peace.Are the "doubting thomases still living in the Dark Ages when DNA was not available? We need to move on. Bravo Mr. President for a promise well kept thus bringing some closure to the victims of 911 and thier families!!

    May 5, 2011 at 2:15 am | Report abuse |
  14. bonnie

    Why doesn't the press leave well enough alone! The Military and White House know what they are talking about. It's just the nosey ones like Al Derkowitz that just want to see the gorey details, they are just plain nosey and are miffed that they can't see the pictures! It's none of your business, it's the government's business and they took care of it now leave it alone. You people just want to sell newspapers, fill in time on your tv programs etc. etc. etc. Find something else to fill in the time and space, there are other things out there that are more important than yesterdays news! I say hooray to Obama for getting the job done and giving a certain amount of closure to the 9/11 families. His death will never replace their loved ones but the knowledge that he is DEAD should help them. Some people crave sensationalism, they get their kicks seeing death and destruction, they are almost as bad as the perpetrators! Leave well enough alone.

    May 5, 2011 at 3:47 am | Report abuse |
  15. Debbie Spina

    I can live with out seeing Osama'a body, I believe he is dead. We are not going to get away from others believing he is not dead. They will come to believe this fact over time when this man isnt heard from or seen.... the word will spread and they will come to know the truth. I am tired of hearing all the debates on TV about showing the pictures and how the raid went. It needed to be done and I dont care if Osama Bin Laden had a gun or was reaching for a gun....people are forgetting the thousands that have died because of this man, take a moment to remember why what happened on Sunday happened!!!!!

    May 5, 2011 at 4:44 am | Report abuse |
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