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. sean

    the reason why they had to give him a "burial at sea" so soon is to respect the Muslim law, yes why does he deserve this but this draws the line between us and the radical Muslims

    May 3, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  2. aaron jewett

    just show the damn pictures everyone wants to see them, god, even the people who are saying they dont. Should have drug him back to ground zero.... then killed him there...... slowely and painfully

    May 3, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ed

    I for one can not believe we even need to discuss the "should we or shouldn't we" issue. This is a newsworthy, historic event and since my tax dollars paid for the admission, I should be allowed to watch the show. If others choose not to look, that is their prerogative. What does it say about a society that will allow, in fact promote, the viewing of a farce such as the infamous OJ chase and subsequent trial (by the hour, I might add), but has to question whether the tax paying public should be able to view the only proof the average person will have of Bin Laden's demise. Release the photos and pass out the barf bags. I want to know, actually, I demand to know that the monster responsible for the deaths of so many innocent people is indeed gone. The concern we should consider long and hard is what to do when the remaining members of the world-wide terrorist community decide that the head of the playground bullies has been removed from recess and they need to do something to regain control of the four square court!?

    May 3, 2011 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Patrick

    Pictures should be released as well as any audio or video that was captured

    May 3, 2011 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Not sissy Joey

    Great job, thanks to all our troops over there. Any wagers on how many liberals are going to write a conspiracy book on this. Of course it's about the truth, not the truck load of money they're gonna make on the book.

    May 3, 2011 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
  6. imeubu

    Here's what's strange. Bin Laden has years to "prepare" this property for such an event. No booby traps, all the computers laying about, no mention of a safe room, escape tunnel... he's just waiting there... even 30 minutes after the shooting begins... this guy remains by himself, unarmed... too easy???

    May 3, 2011 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Elyas

    I dont think Thier killed osama if thier did show us the body of osama

    May 3, 2011 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Noble9

    Did they film it in 3D?

    May 3, 2011 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jay

    I dont think any visual proof is a necessity, but its provides some with a feeling of satisfaction. I, personally, I am interested in seeing a photo and/or his burial.

    May 3, 2011 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Shan

    Show it, it's going to show up online anyway just like Hussein and his sons. .So just show the real ones before people do their "photoshop" thing to a regular photo of Bin Ladan.

    May 3, 2011 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Shan

    Show it, it's going to show up online anyway just like Hussein and his sons. .So just show the real ones before people do their "photoshop" thing to a regular photo of Bin Laden.

    May 3, 2011 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Uncle Rink

    Time to get out of Afghanistan – sheltering OBL was our only reason to be there.
    Cut off all $ aid to Pakistan – they are NOT an ally. What are they gonna do to us? Harbor a terrorist? Whoops. Done that; still got $. Shame on us.

    May 3, 2011 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Lily

    We saw the Hussein brothers almost instantly after they were killed, we watched the hanging of Saddam Hussein (!)...why then would our country be "affraid" of retaliation from Al Qaeda. RELEASE the pictures. We have already been DESENSITIZED by the horrors Bin Laden has caused in our country and abroad...ALL SEEN on the web and TV. We need visible evidence, picture, video of him being prepared for burial etc. Its not like we tied him to the back of a fire truck in NY City and paraded him to Ground Zero (which he deserved). We are NOT that country.

    May 3, 2011 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Wes

    I think the pics should be released, so that every American knows TRULY that he is dead and bring comfort, and satisfaction to everyone who was affected by 9/11

    May 3, 2011 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Dave


    Can't tell if this one is fake or not but it looks a lot more real than that other one.

    May 3, 2011 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
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