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. Kuje

    Most should rejoice. However, enemy or not, its still a life. Although we should be satisfied, we should not publicly rejoice as Christians and to further infuriate the Muslim world. By going public with pictures, are we any better than the enemy. Also, people should try to understand Pakistan's position, like it or not. Its not like living thousands of miles away where war has not occurred since the civil war. Pakistan is a hot bed. A little spark could blow the entire region away. Also, Pakistanis have a right to live, not die in the enemies' hands. Whether its right or not, I strongly believe its wrong. But are we to tell the Pakistanis to risk their lives? Let's try to understand the other person's position.

    May 3, 2011 at 10:13 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Boo

    As a Vietnam Veteran, why would anyone want to see a picture of ANYONE getting their head blown off with an M-16. It's NOT pretty.

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

    so now cnn's article's consist of comments posted on other articles? classy...

    May 3, 2011 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • newsreel

      I find it relevant. They made a good decision. This articvle is about a controversy, both sides have interesting and valid reasons, it's nice to read both sides. They did the homework for you, reading thru all and selected a few bests views. I would have to labor through numerous childish, immature posts to get at these good posts. CNN did a nice job here on this article, including republishing the comments.

      May 3, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Stantop

    I'd like them to be released. For no other reason than my perverse blood lust. I want to see his corpse frozen in carbonite but a picture is the next best thing.

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

    Why would I want to see his face? What will the pictures do for the people? Absolutely NOTHING!!!!!!!!!! It will not bring any of our love ones back. Even during this proud and happy moment in most American homes, there's always someone that's never happy with the Obama Administration, and will find every and any reason to feed the brains of the paranoids. The man is dead and gone, isn't that what we all wanted? Stop giving him air-time and start focusing on more important issues. I'm glad he's dead and don't care how they did it. This was a victory for everyone in world that believe in peace and freedom. Enough with foolishness and let's move forward.

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

    Personally, I don't want to see a photo and I don't want my children seeing a photo. I think it is morbid and beneath the United States of America. I don't want to see our country being drug into the same sewers terrorist roll around in when they murder and disrespect the religious beliefs of others. They know he is dead, we know he is dead. They want us to show those photos so they can use it to whip their sheep into a frenzy.

    This is one time we cannot let the manipulators prod us into something we know is morally wrong.

    May 3, 2011 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Henry

      Children shouldn't watch the televised news. It filled with too much rubbish such as violence, pointless debates from unknown people, and more rubbish. It exposes kids to the reality that the world isn't a safe place.
      You did make an excellent point though. But Americans have seen an assassination video of our former president, we have seen videos of Husseins execution and we see countless murders and acts of violence on the television. Will news stations and newspapers print a graphic picture of Osama head shots wounds? Who knows, but people want actual proof because the whole operation sounds a bit fishy.

      May 3, 2011 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Osamaid dead

    I would like to see video since. I really would like to see his dead body go in to the drink. If that is who they dumped into the see.

    May 3, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
  8. jim

    i want proof that he is dead.because the timing of getting bin laden is kinda odd.considering a day before we got him.the president was getting tons of heat over the NATO strikes on gadoffi

    May 3, 2011 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
  9. richard h

    this is absolute bs. when i was 11 i saw people jumping out of the twin towers... im 20 now an i wanna see that osb dead idc how graphic i saw people jumping out of towers because of him. i am startin to belive they didnt even get him.

    May 3, 2011 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
  10. richard h

    i have been scared of planes for years scared of islams in malls i want this pic i need it or i dont believe it. i saw people jump out of towers i can the man who planned shot in the head

    May 3, 2011 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Psyclops

    @Joey: Lol! Your nemesis troll. You know there are 6 billion people on earth and probably more than 1 internet troll. I'd like to see the pictures/videos too, but not for celebration. We should not celebrate inhumanity. There's enough of that already. I just don't trust my government 100% and would like closure. My taxes paid for this operation after all.

    May 3, 2011 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • newsreel

      Well, my tax dollar also pay for the government in general, and i want my government to be dignified, civilized by not releasing the photos. Your request may be valid, but it is nullified by my request already. What's the governement to do ? Certainly not to listen to an individual. Hence, they fall back to the usual operating mode: they will decide by themselves.

      May 3, 2011 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse |
  12. John

    Germany already released the photo, day of event and we have a free press?

    May 3, 2011 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
  13. MrMailman

    http://forourfathers.com/2011/05/03/osama-official-pic/

    May 3, 2011 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
  14. jen

    I think they should show the pic n the video only because we have seen what that monster did to us on 9/11. we seen pic and video of people jumping out of the building. we have seen everything that that monster did to us. there are so many things out there that we have seen and there's crazy movies that have ALOT of things. so why not show the video and pics of him. i know that there is alot of people that want to see it

    May 3, 2011 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Justin

    Release the photos so I can print them & use them for target practice.

    May 3, 2011 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
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