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. Mike

    Lets look at this in a more global aspect. Osama Bin Laden was said to have brought so much wickedness to this world and killed so many innocent people. If all of this is true is he evil? Is he a war criminal? A lot of folks would whole heartedly say yes. Now think of how many innocent lives have been taken by an American president (innocent civilian deaths in the current war, or Hiroshima/Nagasaki, Veitnam war etc,etc) Would you not have a HISTORY of being evil?

    May 3, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Matt

    How does CNN NOT know by now that the "MLK Jr." quote is bogus.

    May 3, 2011 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jay

    How many times have they said Osama was dead...?.... 9 I think....WOW. look it up people.

    May 3, 2011 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Robert Stephens

    Behold, he is dead. Good. Show films, photos, all data and then we know categorically. Simple. Do it now!

    Thank you,

    Robert A. M. Stephens
    Scaled Dynamcis

    May 3, 2011 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
  5. BethanyS

    Who really cares if he didn't have a weapon. It is smart that the seals killed him vs. take him alive. I believe they were ordered to kill....I'm positive that President Obama didn't want to deal with the political fall out of where to try him or better yet where to keep him.

    May 3, 2011 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Beastie Boy

    No need to release the pictures. It'll be as fake as Obama's birth certificate.

    May 3, 2011 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Who Bloody Cares

      Just like the little wee wee your were born with...... Grow up Beastiality Boy

      May 3, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Filip

    I personally think we should be given the whole video and all the pics. This is a message to the U.S. government..why would you hide something like this from us? You told us he's dead but don't want to release the whole video and then except us to believe you.. Why not show us what really happened instead of editing it with your magic tools to make it not what it is at all. Common..

    May 3, 2011 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gabe

      use your brain for a second, pictures of his body would be used on extremist websites for recruitment of more muslims. They would make him out to be a martyr legend and basically say, "Look what America does to Muslims," or some other BS in order to get more men to join their cause

      May 3, 2011 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. JC

    This is pathetic. It never happened. No one killed Bin Laden. He died years ago. Disgusting how Obama will fabricate anything. Wake up America. They won't even show a picture and you believe this is true? They even made an animated video of how they didn't do it landing copters in a compound, not even being attacked or knowing if BL was there? Were they going to just kill whoever was there? . They dumped him in the water? This is funny.

    May 3, 2011 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Filip

      If he died years ago, why is this such a big deal now then?

      May 3, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Who Bloody Cares

    Please do not release the photos .... We believe he was shot in the head..... No need to pull a bearded head out of a basket to prove his death. Maybe we can see the Donald over to carry around photos and prove his death.

    May 3, 2011 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Lee

    The SEALS told the President OBL is KIA, the President then said in a statement that OBL is dead. That should be enough. Haven't we seen enough beheadings and remains hanging from bridges? Maybe we should have displayed OBL's remains from the GW. Enough is enough already.

    May 3, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Tod

    Yes. Display his photographed corpse. Show the world that the U.S. successfully killed its no. 1, individual enemy. The logic is flawed which tells someone that displaying such images is wrong or not beneficial.

    May 3, 2011 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
  12. marden08

    I would be willing to be that the deniers will claim that the photos were doctored. Those that don't want to believe that he is dead will question any proof

    May 3, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
  13. jrish

    We should see the videos as a pay per view and pay down on the debt of the US.

    May 3, 2011 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Andy

    Al Qaeda is more than likely going to release a statement or video or something saying that he is indeed dead. I do not see the reason why the United States Government should have to release the video or pictures! I don't think a lie this big could happen where Obama tires to cover it up.....

    May 3, 2011 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse |
  15. yelladogs

    HELL YES!!

    May 3, 2011 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • firefighter19

      we want proof he is dead not someware still alive which he prolly is they need to chop his head off an prove to us he is dead the goverment is just covering this up like they do everything else an it makes obama look like a lier

      May 3, 2011 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
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