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. keith hardin

    i think americans has paid enough on the war to get him,and we deserve the right to see the photos

    May 5, 2011 at 6:54 am | Report abuse |
  2. Kurt Schroeder

    In my opinion, not showing Bin Laden death photos is an utter and complete sign of disrespect to the American people, and the troops overseas who are educated in the reasons for them being overseas. Does is make sense in an already failing country to not show the photo of the man that is in the end RESPONSIBLE for deployment overseas in a two front war, and a covert war with Pakistan? Another good point to add is how is it okay to show pictures all day, and all night of rotting corpses in concentration camps on the History Channel and Military Channel? How is it okay to show Pres. Kennedy's brain matter getting blown all over the Mrs.? Obama is selfish, and an a smug liar. That is putting it mildly.

    May 5, 2011 at 7:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Sgt Scott

      I agree compleatly with Kurt..I spend 13 years in the military and had to get out due to injuries before I could retire..
      I remember the day our enimies had no problem dragging naked US soldiers through the streets! They beheading soldiers and civilians on TV! Use civilians and babies as human shields to try and assault our soldiers! Why shouldn't we have some payback for their actions?

      The only respect you get in the middle east is by the measure of how big the stick is that you carry. They simply do not respect you unless there is the barrel of a gun involved.. If we show how good we are at getting somthing done that we say we are gonna do goes a long way at our credibility in the area. They won't mess with us if they know that they have no place to hide, and no mercy That all they have to look forward to is a life on the run and the inevidable deadly end!. Just my humble opinion..

      May 5, 2011 at 7:53 am | Report abuse |
  3. Timothy Gummert

    I know the pictures might be quite graphic but AMERICA needs to know for shure if the man that setup the attacks of 911 and the bombing in Kenya and the navy carrier that killed 17 Americans.I beleive these photos should be released so that America knows that this is not just government propaganda or the real deal.

    May 5, 2011 at 8:16 am | Report abuse |
  4. Michael Kinsey

    My guardian angel took me to witness the capture of Osama Bin Laden, December 22, 2001 at a road stop in Afghanistan. I saw a US airforce captain Davis stop a light blue Volkswagen Jetta, type car. He and 2 others in the car were dressed in full burquas. Captain Davis asked them to get out of the car. They obliged without a fuss. Tall women.

    Captain Davis called this in that he had 3 al quida suspects. A US apache helicopter showed up and took the 3 burqua covered women out to sea to a totally dark US navy ship. Troops thought maybe women being brought in.

    The CIA interrogated the 3 prisoners for a little over a month in holding cells at top security aboard the ship. The 3 died in Feb. 2002, their bodies were taken in a white ford explorer with the bodies inside was taken to a mountaintop near Tora Bora with a US helicopter.

    The people were shown this SUV blown up on TV by Donald Rumsfeld claiming they believe they got Bin Laden with a drone-launched missile . Only thing wrong was that the weather and snow was to heavy hat it took 5 days to get up to the bodies of the 3.

    Wolves, afghan troops, to much damage by fire and missile, all the bodies were not intact and found.

    On Dec. 23, 2001 president Bush went from we must get Bin Laden to well even if we get him we still need to be there to take down Al Qaeda and other bad guys.

    The US and Al Qaeda benefited by the non capture of Bin Laden, with the fake audio and old video tapes.

    Now we get more feel good and political boost for our president and troops. Captain Davis is on he fast track at pentagon and happy.

    May 5, 2011 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
  5. Delisa

    I don't think we need to see his body...children watch TV. I think our children are getting to use to seeing death and violence on TV and video games. Seeing too much blood and gore causes post traumatic stress. Its trauma to see someone with their brains blown out of there head. I know it bothers me. I personally had enough trauma from 911 and my own life. Showing us and our children would be terrifying. We know he is dead...let him be dead. I don't need him to rent anymore time in my brain.

    May 5, 2011 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
  6. Arnie Lesnick

    Showing pictures of Bin Laden would be glorifying the event. Attention is what the terroist need, lets not give it to them. Even with proof of Bin Laden death, it would not be enough for some.

    May 5, 2011 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
  7. seth w.

    All of you have strong ideas, and I agree with many of you! I think it wont be good to reless the pics. becaus terrists may respond with anather 911 and continoue the war in Irak!!!!!!!!

    May 5, 2011 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
  8. gene

    Typically, in this country, when a person is executed, those who were impacted by the person’s actions generally witness the fact that the death of the accused is carried out.
    I think that the President is wrong for not releasing at least some of the photo which would indeed show this person has met his demise. The notion that “no one will see Osama walking the earth again” is quit laughable, after all no one have seen him in the last 10 years except for his small inner circle he chose.
    Do I personal need to see the photos?? No, but AMERICA, she needs to see that the person who orchestrated an act upon its citizens has met its rightly due diligences, that justice has indeed been carried out. So much changed by the acts of this man, so much have been lost, so many still hurt. It seem to me that the President is more concern about the reaction from the racial Islamic, those who could care less about human dignity, those who have hijack the Muslim religion and turned it something of their making. MY GOD, WHEN WILL AMERICA STPT COWARDING AND START STANDING AGAIN!!!!

    May 5, 2011 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Justin Kutz

      America orchastrated it with osama, -.- now their faking his death he can walk amongst us again

      May 5, 2011 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  9. Robert Chamberlin

    I wish Theodore Roosevelt and his staff were in office today. He most likely would have said show them photo's and damn the ones that want to fight us over them. Our “American Government” sure is weak compared what it was like in them good ole days when Teddy was in the White House. We let these other countries walk all over us and pay billions of dollars to them as they laugh behind our backs and call us fools. We are damned if we do and damned if we don't so why should we worry about what some pack of rats in another country think of us anyways? Theses radicals are going to try and kill us no matter if we show a photo of “Dead Bin Laden” or not. It seems to me that some of our leaders have no backbone at all like the days of Teddy Roosevelt. Now that was a real President. He would not have worried about being attacked by a bunch of low life punk radials we call the Taliban. We Americans have been walked on too long and it must stop. The Hell with this nonsense of always being politically correct. “I mean Incorrect”

    May 5, 2011 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Justin Kutz

      forget about the photo, i was reading my local news paper and the headline read "ROT IN HELL" with a big picture of osama under it...and yet obama is trying to say a dead picture of him is innaproprriate?

      May 5, 2011 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
  10. Justin Kutz

    ok so you did dna tests...where did the original dna to match the dead bodys dna with? hmm confusing, show us the damn pictures who does obama think he is? and why would they just slide osamas body into the ocean? the worlds most wanted man, u killl him and sink his body so no one can see it? i think the reason its in the ocean is so we cant prove whos body it really is!!!

    May 5, 2011 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
  11. Michael

    Does Obama have amnesia ? Americans have been watching JFK getting his head blown off every year on his anniversary. What is he saying we are not these type of people. FEED AMERICANS CLOSURE !!!

    May 5, 2011 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  12. Justin Kutz


    May 5, 2011 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
  13. Tim Stephens

    As a two tour Vietnam Vet, and for those who think the best thing is to release the photo. I can tell you, that my first
    instinct is just as it was in combat, you want to leave a lasting impression on the enemy and the human spirit is capable
    of things unimaginable. However, for every example left for the enemy, I can sight another example of their retaliation due to it, ie, finding comrads dismembered, tortured, etc. So for those who don't remember the images of westerners
    captured, kidnapped, etc. and then showing them being beheaded on the internet. This again is what releasing morbid
    photos will bring. For those family members who lost loved ones at 911, should be allowed to travel and view the photo
    in private if it brings closure. Can you imagine what would happen to those photos by those who love to incite and no
    control of what gets put out there on the internet. If I had opportunity, I would be for hanging his head on a post for all
    to observe, however, it begins a chain of events by those with no conscience or respect for human life. For those who have not experienced human retaliation, by those elements, get a grip.

    May 5, 2011 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Justin Kutz

      LMAO they wont see the photo and say on well im going to shoot someone in the head and put it on theinternet cuz thats what u did....thats not how it works, they do that for themselves, for their own sick and twisted please not for revenge

      May 5, 2011 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
    • gene

      I do understand what you're saying but as morbid as they may be, the seen of people jumping to their death from the 75th floor a burning building is just as morbid. I'm willing to bet you that there were snap shot that were taken to would present this person with some dignity, if that what you want for this man. never-the-less, some pictures should be release.

      May 5, 2011 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
  14. Doyce Brown

    It seems to me that everyone is forgetting about the children of the world who will be exposed to this gruesome image of Obsama bin Laden dead! I agree wholly with the president for protecting those who should not see this image. We protect our children from X rated movies and TV, now is the time to protect them from this X rated image. Those who do not believe he is dead will not be convinced anyway, and we will be hurting the most fragile in our society.

    May 5, 2011 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Justin Kutz

      the majority of those children old enough to see the photo and understand what it is most likely played black ops and mw2 and killed hundreds in an airport terrorist attack themselves...in todays society corrupting our children isnt getting anyworse

      May 5, 2011 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
    • gene

      We like to think that live in an open and free society. The brave men and women who risk theirs lives to do their duty so that we may continue to live this was put on display by their action in completing this mission. We as parent do protect our children from those thing we feel that are harmful to them. X rated movies and video games are still there to be watched by those who mature enough and those who wish to partake of such events. Society stop being an open and free when someone dictates you're be better off by not seeing what I think is to gruesome.(we're not children). I do believe Osama is a dead man now.

      May 5, 2011 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  15. Lynn Farris

    There is nothing to be gained by displaying the photos of Bin Laden's body and frankly, I think the effort to get the pictures released is being driven primarily by the media. What I keep hearing on CNN (and other news shows) is that "people" are asking questions and demanding that the pictures be released. Who are these "people". If you are talking about the people that get on the Internet chat sites and go on and on about how the whole thing is fake or a hoax, your not going to change their mind one way or the other. The other "people" that I have seen calling for the release are the people that just like to see themself on TV and/or create controversy (like Alan Dershowitz).Then there are the people that just like to see gruesome and sensational pictures and we don't need to satisfy their desires.

    May 5, 2011 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
    • John Clark

      I would not like to see a photo of dead body as proof of death
      as photos can be tampered with
      HOWEVER the DNA Evidence mentioned on the first day of
      the breaking news, it would be nice to see a confirmation YES OR NO
      on that

      May 5, 2011 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
    • ncourt

      We see yet another way for the media to stir up the American people and the World over a dead body. We need to focus on getting AMERICA strong, getting our troops home, our Economic situation straightened out, take care of our own. If 9-11 taught us anything it is the resilence of the American people. Our people have suffered many losses both with 9-11, multiply the loss of life, limbs, and future prospects for our first responders, our troops, our young and our old. The White House and Congress need to work on keeping us strong and getting people back to work, our jobs back in this country, our schools & colleges strong, and help people who want to further education for our children and grandchildren. We need to respect all peoples, and get back to the basics in this country, not care what public opinion is, or what the world thinks of us.. We have to stay strong & support each other. God grant to us strength in the days, weeks, and months ahead. Forget about elections, let's get something done! We don't need goulish displays, remember the Sadam hanging? Do we want to martyr this guy who cost many many lives all over the globe. I think NOT!

      May 5, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41