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. DaveNY

    I was at the WTC on 9/11. Saw the second plane hit and EVERYTHING that happened after that. I didn't get to watch it on TV, I saw it with my own eyes and was affected by it in person. I personally do not care if the people who want to do the United States harm, rejoiced in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, support Al Queda and Bin Laden, etc. are offended by the pictures of his corpse being released. They had no problem viewing the video, telecasts and pictures of the 9/11 attacks on us. I saw what he did / was responsible for. I want to see the pictures and the just end that he brought on himself, and earned.

    If other people do not want to see the pictures, they do not have to view them. Everybody can make that choice for themselves. I don't think that the pictures should be splashed across the front pages of newspapers, but they should be released to the public (in the newspaper – not on the covers -, news web sites, etc. for example).

    Again, those that want to harm the United States and it's citizens have no problem viewing and rejoicing of pictures of the victims of their terrorist attacks (and they have attacked other nations as well, before and after 9/11), so I have absolutely no sympathy for their feelings about the pictures of his corpse being released. I trust that our Navy Seals got him and killed him (and in my opinion, deservedly so), but that being said, I want to see the pictures. It would be a part of bringing some closure to what we have waited so long for (getting the #1 person responsible for the attacks).

    I also think that it also sends a very clear warning, to anyone who wants to do our country harm, if you attack us, you will be held accountable, found (because we will not stop in hunting you down), and made to pay for your actions. It's one thing to read or hear words stating that, but a visual image backing those statements is much more powerful and more of a deterrent. He was buried with all respect and in accordance to Muslim religious beliefs. That did not have to be done. It was done to respect the Muslim religion, wants and needs. They should now respect and understand our wants and needs to see the pictures (for those of us that do). We are not talking about an innocent person here. He was a terrorist responsible for thousands of innocent people being murdered. He brought it on himself and should not be protected now (even after his demise).

    May 3, 2011 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
  2. wwwwwhhhaaatttttthhheeeeffffuuucckkkk

    -show some credability for once -if you have proof lets see proof – half of america dont believe this administration anyways theyve compromised there word and promises so much in favor of favors -perks stipends angendas and other special interest bullsh!t -so why believe the made up story now – sounds like a freakin fairy tale – we sent in the seals after months no years of tracking all the enemy in the house was killed we took photos and dna and then the body and hard drives and intel -wich were speculating on now and oh wait we took graet pains to show compassion for this piece of "sh!t" and gave him a proper burial at sea........i believe in a tooth fairy and santa clause too -maybe even the boogeyman :} ... spin doctors went overboard one this one without proof down to the bull sh1t oval office pictures and the – comment about our fearless leader finally taking a risk -more bullsh1t without proof ....i dont believe the liberal media as it were – id send back the carrier to retrieve the body and then display it publically at ground zero . screw upsetting any muslim that complains about them being offended -we had over four thousand -americans die as victims and arround 5,000 troops since this bullsh1t started all because of his @$$ so damn right he deserves to be put in a sideshow freakshow forever wrapped in pig guts and denied paradise because of all the innocent blood he shed as a islamic radical extremists terrorist . screw compassion he deserves none – he crushed and burried and incinerated and caused americans and other muslims to surffer severly before they died because of him – so let him be -paraded like the sewage he was . let there be justice and let there be proof of justice – screw political correctness and islamic hatred fear/or offence or compassion or consideration -all are worthless in the eyes of americans now . along with the koran and allah and his prophet muhammad -if i were god i would be ashamed to call the islamic radicals my people seeing the violent abuses and criminal acts they perform on others . god is just – radical islamic terrorists are not – there criminals that kill innocent people for no real reason . they get offend and want to cause violence – great let them come – they hate us anyways and destroy us regaurdless so why worry about upsetting them now – if they hate us they deserve whats coming to them anyways .nuff said.

    May 3, 2011 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
  3. John

    A lot of you only want to see the pics so you can talk more trash. That is all you do, your president to a big risk authorizing this mission and all you can do is doubt him and disrespect him. Remember this, every time you say you don't believe him, you are disrespecting the military, the CIA, the navy seals that executed the order and every single american that risked his or her life during this mission.

    May 3, 2011 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • DaveNY

      I want to see the pictures for my own feeling of "needing to see them" after what I saw and went through on 9/11. I do not like Obama due to his apologizing to every other country for our previous actions, his handling of the economy, seemingly (in my opinion) to be more concerned with the rest of the world over the United States, not ready or experienced enough to know what to do as president, etc. and will not vote for him in the next election. I have the right to disagree with his policies views. BUT, that being said, I do give him credit for giving the "go-ahead / authorization" for our military to go in and eliminate Bin Laden. And he did state that the groundwork that the Bush (and Clinton) administrations laid in finding him were a major factor. While I don't like Obama, I have respect for the President of the United States (who-ever it may be at the time). In this case, it is Obama who was the President when U.S. intelligence narrowed down Bin Laden's location to a degree of certainty, and he gave the "go ahead" to go in and get him. I will always be thankful to Obama for doing so.

      May 3, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Zach

    And what if we do show the pics it isnt like the war is over anyway someone else is just going to take his place. I served in the Army and did a tour i have seen how the people are in these places. They might not all be bad but I damn sure guarantee that there is another person just as bad as him if not worse.

    May 3, 2011 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ha

    The conspiracy theories are just a conspiracy of a bunch of violence mungers wanting to get to look at gross pictures and gloat. Honestly, pictures prove nothing. Pictures can be faked. Hey, maybe the man never existed in the first place. How's that for a conspiracy. Anyone that's convinced by a picture probably still believes in Santa Claus.

    May 3, 2011 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Katze

    I personally want to see the proof of it and would watch the video. They should also release the pictures of his body. The American people have the right to see what our government has done. I paid into the system, as does anyone else who has had any amount of work this year or last. I demand to see the proof. The death announcement has been released, but no pictures. I BELIEVE that he's dead, but I want to see PROOF.

    May 3, 2011 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Chris

    They will release the pictures mostly because the outcry of the media. It could be damaging because it was a strictly kill mission, the SEAL team I believe had absolutely no orders to capture him alive. Capturing him alive could have been damaging in many ways, mostly not putting an end to his reign of terror sooner. The news just said the picture will be released tonight. They will release it my guess after 11:30 PM Eastern Standard time so the East Coast papers can't post it on there front page for tomorrow at least. I say show it and put this topic to rest and now let's kill his top Lieutenant and continue to damage the terrorist network.

    May 3, 2011 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Steve michel

    No I do not think this would be appropriate. This would only exploit a bad situation. Do not release the photo's or tapes.

    May 3, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
  9. cmarin

    First of, let me remind everyone that more horrific than seeing masses of people fly out of windows from the twin towers and plowing to their death -I don't think anything can compare. Besides I think that the US owes the video, owes the pictures to the family members/loved ones who unfortunately lost someone on 9/11. a visual aid is something that would allow most to feel content (as twisted as that sounds) as is serves as a form of justice, but most importantly CLOSURE to the AMERICAN people.

    May 3, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
  10. tony


    May 3, 2011 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Joe

    Release them so the deniers will shut up.

    May 3, 2011 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
  12. evan21

    Of course these pictures should be shown. I agree with laxfan12983, we should be able to see the entire video. Youtube is filled with graphic videos of the Twin Towers collapsing, and others of people jumping to their death. Our brains are stained with the images of the dreadful day that Bin Laden caused. As citizens of the United States we have a right to see these clips.

    May 3, 2011 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Wolverine

    So let me get this straight.........You can show the WORLD ,repeated video footage, of the WTC and thousands of INNOCENT lives being MURDERED by a TERRORIST like BIN LADEN.........but you won't show AMERICANS , footage of our GREAT NAVY SEALS killing that MONSTER........Thanks US Goverment.....What's wrong with this picture..HMMMMMMMM

    May 3, 2011 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jan

    I am opposed to showing the photo of the dead Osama. While this situation is different, I remember the coverage of our dead solidiers being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu. To serve him up as a trophy kill as our soliders were is wrong. We're better.

    May 3, 2011 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Annie

    Posting photos of the corpse is totally inappropriate. Two wrongs don't make a right. We don't need to be morbid. He is gone, thank heavens.

    May 3, 2011 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • jim

      pics or it didnt happen.i wouldnt take this presidents or any presidents word for it.

      May 3, 2011 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • KennyG

      At some point we've got to accept that he's dead, pictures or not. Because of the fake picture circulating many won't believe the legitimate photo anyway. Why plaster gore everywhere? Obama okayed the successful operation that was resulted from policies started by Bush. That's all we need to know.

      May 3, 2011 at 10:29 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