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. Sickpnai

    Posting photos mean nothing. Photos can be faked with any number of programs on the market now days. With the number of days to pass before there put up on line give the government time to fake as much as they need to prove the point that need to be made.

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

    The pic is available online at any Nachrichten Deutschland website. For anyone interested in looking at a FREE PRESS report with photo of Bin Laden Dead

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


    HERE YE ARE............HAVE FUN

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

    Hello America!! Guess what?? Well ,we found the terrorist dude whom we had a near ten year search for...but decided for your safety... to toss him over a boat for the fishes to eat! Then release fake old circulated pictures of his dead body ...You believe us right?? I mean we would NEVER EVER hide the truth!! Follow us to Victory!

    May 3, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bonnie

      Kyla – those pictures were faked by the Pakistanis. No photos have been released by the US military or the White House yet.

      May 3, 2011 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • tapu

      Are there people who are seriously this whacked? Who let them off the ward?

      May 3, 2011 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
  5. CalGuy

    The blooddy face picture of death bin Laden was on the Desert Sun Newspaper(Palm Springs, CA) this morning. It was captured from the TV stand from a city in Pakistan. They should be released.

    May 3, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Bonnie

    Let the military leaders decide. This shouldn't be political. The military are going to take the brunt of any backlash, so their leaders should make the final call. It shouldn't be up to anyone to have to 'prove' to ANYONE that he's dead – especailly for political or credibility reaons. It was a military operation and if people choose to call those brave Navy SEALS liars, then do it on your own time, don't risk more military lives to pander to the nay-sayers.

    May 3, 2011 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • tapu

      Ah, thank you. A voice of reason. And yeah, if these SEALS say he is dead, oh yeah, he is dead.

      May 3, 2011 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |
  7. JLB

    who are we kidding? we all know bush knew about 9/11, Osama didn't have anybody to protect him anymore. Tell me when gas prices are down please........

    May 3, 2011 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Dolores

    So what if they are gruesome pictures? They can't be any worse than what is seen on TV violence shows aand in the movies. As for his followers, let them see what happens to terrorists. That is, if it even happened. Not many will believe it until they see the video and the pictures.

    May 3, 2011 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • tapu

      If you believe he's dead because you saw a picture, you are one naive rube.

      I'll go with the DNA testing, fingerprinting, face and body imaging.... And no, I'm not worried that the 100s of people involved in that identification are all lying to us.

      May 3, 2011 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Psyclops

    @MrMailman: That's a fake pic. Brain is perfectly intact while the rest of that head is split wide open. Cuckoo cuckoo!

    May 3, 2011 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
  10. American Rebel

    I highly doubt posting a pic is worse than the guy being killed. Pretty sure that people are already ticked off that the US killed their leader. Nothing in the world could trump that card which has already been played. Just show the people the proof they want.

    May 3, 2011 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Angela from Atlanta

    There is no choice but to release those photos! This man was a monster! Poor JFK, they released his autopsy photos, and how disrespectful was that to a man who did great things for this country???? If JFK's autopsy photos are all over the web, then why the hell aren't this monsters? He doesn't deserve a SINGLE consideration, nor does any one out there who has a shred of sympathy for him or who worship or like him! PLEASE RELEASE THOSE PHOTOS, N-O-W!!! IT WILL GIVE CONSIPRACY THEORISTS LESS ROOM TO TALK AND HELP THOSE THAT LOST THEIR LOVED ONES ON 911.

    May 3, 2011 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Marine5484

    releasing the photos really wont do anything significant people who believe will believe and those who dont will grow the next great conspiracy and make money off a crappy movie

    May 3, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
  13. spc williams d co wtb @ hood

    i really believe in security and show what absolutely would keep the talking and asking for info of the operation to a low. show what only would not the video not the dead body just enough proof. seal team 6 is family tactically safe and acknowledging the story must be tight and will not risk other team mates. information should kept quiet. save the furthering of danger of my comrades in the world against the attacks.as Intel on the other side may act dumb but they might just be covering for the family right. *** just develop a plan secretly against further attacks and info on leads. keep the fight on tight put pressure for more to appear. do not open our doors keep the cia away and not letting our teams down. *** ONE FIGHT ONE TEAM

    May 3, 2011 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse |
  14. charlie

    we had to watch as people were forced out windows of the trade centers by fire. how can a happy photo of a bullet in the head bin ladin be too graphic??????

    May 3, 2011 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Angela from Atlanta

      I TOTALLY agree Charlie, my feelings and thoughts exactly. Why are we sparing this monster? He doesn't deserve it!

      May 3, 2011 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
  15. David Baker

    Should we be worried about his followers comming back on us when his followers telavised decaptation of Americians.

    May 3, 2011 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • SewMil55

      Yes! many people died during the 9/11 attack. My heart goes out to mankind – we have so much and yet nothing. Constant war in the world. I was in disblief seeing 9/11 attack – not that I did not think it could not happen – hit home drastic way – I will always remember the event in Life for so long as I life. If our government did what was just – believe me what want around came around. To see Osama bin Laden – 9/11 has painted a picture for Life.

      May 3, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • SewMil55

      Yes! many people died during the 9/11 attack. My heart goes out to mankind – we have so much and yet nothing. Constant war in the world. I was in disblief seeing 9/11 attack – not that I did not think it could not happen – hit home in a drastic way – I will always remember the event in Life for so long as I live. If our government did what was just – believe me what went around came around. To see Osama bin Laden – 9/11 has painted a picture in my mind for Life. In the world of Osama bin Laden this is there way of Life and I do not want to glorify by seeing him. He received what he gave.

      May 3, 2011 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
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