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White House won’t show bin Laden photo, do you agree?

May 4, 2011

President Barack Obama said in a television interview on Wednesday he decided not to release photos of Osama bin Laden’s body because it could incite violence and be used as an al Qaeda propaganda tool.

“There is no doubt that we killed Osama bin Laden,” President Obama told CBS’s “60 Minutes” program, according to White House spokesman Jay Carney. “You will not see bin Laden walking on this Earth again.”

The Obama administration had been wrestling with whether to release photos of a dead bin Laden, who was killed in a U.S. raid on his Pakistani compound on Monday, and the president said he and his advisers agreed the images should not be made public.

Do you agree with President Obama's decision not to release photos of dead al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden?

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I do not think it’s necessary to sooth the interests of people with nothing but prurient interests. And for those who disavow anything said by President Obama, well, nothing satisfies them so why bother even thinking about them?

Posted by palmer1619 | Report as abusive

We have way too much sensationalism as it is in our world. The last thing we need is a graphic image of an infamous dead person to parade around and make a huge deal over.

Given enough time, with the testimony of bin Laden’s family and the DNA test results, it will become obvious to everyone that he is actually gone.

The liabilities of throwing that kind of image into an already emotionally charged issue way outweigh any benefits that could be derived from such a move.

Posted by MrRodgers63 | Report as abusive

Ok, I get not releasing the death photos… That is all fine and dandy with me, but why would we just stop with that. what about the autopsy report, or the DNA analysis?
Also, there was a live feed from the SEAL team to the White House…. So give us a freeze frame right before we shot him? Right? Right?

“I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
- Martin Luther King Jr.

Posted by Naidldoes | Report as abusive

Prurient interest has nothing to do with it. It’s just a tag for more conspiracy theorizing. Show it and let the weepers weep and the complainers complain. At least it won’t become another “birth Certificate” fiasco.

Posted by advaitin | Report as abusive

Obama is absolutely right not to publish these photos. The birthers’ continued denial of Obama’s multiply-proven American citizenship has taught him that no amount of evidence will change the minds of people set on hating him. A photo of dead bin Laden will do nothing to convince the Obama-haters – they’ll even deny the triumph of our brave Navy SEALs just to avoid admitting that Obama did something right!
Fortunately, the fact-deniers do nothing but strengthen Obama’s position and weaken their own. They come across as deluded, irrational loons who just can’t quit their hysterics…and for all their noise, they can’t come up with criticism of Obama that’s not made-up nonsense.

Posted by GodsHonestTruth | Report as abusive

Between the probable terrorist outcry and the upcoming election, he’s playing it safe- more votes could be lost than gained in releasing it. I think ultimately the photo will be ‘leaked’… probably at an opportune or a worst vanilla point in time. I do think a cooling off period is a functionally helpful thing for security and safety for our troops and civilians, but the American public deserves to look- many paid in blood and taxes for this photo. I wonder if any military servants and/or members if the islamic religion could weigh in with their opinion.

Posted by ghstchuck | Report as abusive

When Saddam Husain can be prosecuted, why not Bin Laden?

Looks like Mr President have no trust in their own judiciary.

Posted by M_K | Report as abusive

In all honesty, this should never have been a kill operation.

It’s unfortunate that this question is being asked – as if he was captured and kept alive, allowed to stand trial, then there would be no question as to whether or not we actually had him in custody.

With him dead, not disclosing photos piques the minds of conspiracy theorists (i.e. Donald Trump). Disclosing the photos incites retaliation and rage from the remaining Al Qaeda organization.

Lose/Lose situation here, but not releasing the photos was/is definitely the right option given the course of action taken to apprehend Osama.

Posted by bchambs89 | Report as abusive

I would rather see a foto of Santa Klauss or one of the Easter Bunny, which I frankly believe are far more real than this set up tale.

Posted by Mongoh | Report as abusive

I don’t even think al Qaeda is disputing the fact that bin Laden is dead (if they have, I haven’t heard about it), so I don’t see any reason for the photos to be released.

Posted by corfy | Report as abusive

how to snatch defeat from the jaws of us the pictures dumbass

Posted by Nashville | Report as abusive

Its good Obama decided against releasing the photos. Wikileaks will do it soon.

Posted by samfl | Report as abusive

The terrorist already use 9/11 photos and video for propaganda, they use photos of everything for propaganda… so the claim that it might be used for propaganda ignores the fact that they will use everything for and if you are going to try and stop them from their propaganda you would have to stop allowing photos of everything from A to Z. That explanation doesn’t hold true.

The claim that it will incite violence… well lets face facts they already hate us and have already declared war on the West, what are they going to do beyond that declare double dog war on us? Again an invalid point.

What should really be considered is the fact that in most states that execute criminals the victims’ families are allowed to watch the execution. By that logic, the helmet cams of Osama getting executed should be freely available to anyone that was victimized by one of his attacks. If people don’t want to see that they are free to ignore it and not watch.

Posted by Yirmin | Report as abusive

How does the demand to see photos of Osama from the raid make anyone a conspiracy theorist?

Definition of “Conspiracy Theorist” – “the idea that many important political events or economic and social trends are the products of secret plots that are largely unknown to the general public.”

Sorry but this situation doesn’t fit the definition.
This is not a conspiracy, it is simply doubt. A conspiracy is something like ..Aliens are cooperating with the government and are sharing advanced technology (that would be Impossible to prove). America claimed it killed Osama then provides no evidence that he is dead ..other than its word. Just because pictures of his alleged compound are released ..doesn’t mean he was there. ANYONE could’ve been there! That blood on the ground could’ve been from a search in a family’s home in Iraq for all we know!

Posted by cHills552 | Report as abusive

Based on the photos Reuters has posted of the victims, NONE of them look even remotely similar to bin Laden. American CITIZENS paid for the operation, American lives were lost because of bin Laden, our current “king” owes it to us. The Administration has chosen, once again, to exercise power it does not possess, over the American public.
The “sheeps” had best wake up………

Posted by pez770 | Report as abusive

I agree with MrRogers63. The last thing most of us in the world need are the graphic pictures of Bin Laden. I seriously think about travelling on a plane that carries USA and British tourists. I really do not want to be part of a scenario where a plane is downed due to the fact it carries these citizens. Not that I don’t like them, it is a high security risk. Wish it wasn’t as they are nice people.

Those wanting photo’s should leave things be. His daughter confirmed his death and so will his wife. What good will it do whether the circumstances were right or wrong.

Can’t wait until next week where the story will take a step back and finally off the news and radar.

Posted by Wrosey | Report as abusive

This is the greatest cop-out ever. We have photos of dead presidents, a dead Saddam Hussein and so on. The only thing that Obama is afraid of, is that the photos proof it was an execution.

This is laughable.

Posted by hvdgoor | Report as abusive

yes i agree with witholding. Clearly we all believe Osama is dead, even our enemies such as Iran, Venequela think so.

Those who doubt, will also doubt with photos,they will
have the theory are doctored and reality is, photos can easily be doctored.

so for those with conspiracy theories why bother with them. Sad to say, the photos will be used in a bad way,
by some amongst us as well as Al Quaeda.

aL Quaeda can pass on taking revenge if they claim he was not killed. we dont have to prove to them anything.

As for it being an execution, seems like it, but that is fine in this case. The shot ensured justice with no possiblity of escape- there was too many risks to the mission, to the use navy seals and to others for him to live -live to be a subject of hostage negotiations.

Posted by thoma | Report as abusive

The White House team was right to not put these images on the internet. There will be many fake images put out on the internet by unintelligent individuals. At least then the White house can say the images on the internet are fake because they have not released any image so they will not be held accountable for the fake images. Then people will know if any images does appear that they are the result of some moron trying to cause trouble and are fake. I really respect the White houses decisision. If these images was shown it would have created more violence and terror and the extremists will feel embarrassed and will want revenge. It was the best decision they have made for every countries security. The White house has shown decency and respect for both sides by this decision and I applaud you. Well done America.
From the people of Australia.

Posted by AL73 | Report as abusive

I think that the photo or a photo of the raid prior to the shooting should be provided. We were already told that he was armed and was going to retaliate and the next day we found out he was unarmed.

Those that want to view can and those that dont, dont have to.

Posted by justmehouson | Report as abusive

The photos of the ones we killed are enough plus with what the President said I am in complete agreement these are very graphic for some kids and for anti American sentiments that to keep them classified is a good idea. I do think that the fact he took massive shots to the head and chest he probably would have made some wonder if it was a photo shop picture but Obama made a good call and instead of second guessing our President we should be praising him for making the decision not to give Bin Laden’s forces firepower to attack us.

Posted by JeniferZ | Report as abusive

Nice decision President Obama in interest of nation.
You have just pulled a Hollywood style mission cleanly, caught Pakistan red handed coning us and Islamists dont know how to react!
Let the conspiracy theorists crib for they have already decided what they want to believe,no matter what proof you throw at them.

Posted by Raider14 | Report as abusive

What difference does it make weather he was shot in the head or killed by a unmanned drone – both aim to kill.
By taking a chance and going into the compound, Obama made sure of his target and innocent lives were not lost.

Posted by psmt | Report as abusive

If people can cheer for the death of a man they are obligated to look at his corpse.

Posted by djlowballer | Report as abusive

I can choose to look at these photos or not. And I believe that we all have the rights to the facts as they exist. The government works for us, not the other way round.

Posted by FredFlintstone | Report as abusive

SHOW ME THE BODY! I want to know what my tax dollars are paying for. Not a conspiracy theorist…I just want to see the body. Call me morbid XD.

Posted by callmemorbid | Report as abusive

I think the President is wrong when he decided not to show the pictures of Usama. I feel he owes the american people closure in this long adventure. Unless there is visual proof there will always be that doubt if it is really true. Lets think about this……….have we been lied to by our officials in the past? For those who do not want visual proof that is your right, but for those who need visual proof that should be our right.

Posted by sacisi | Report as abusive

At this point, I am so pleased with Mr Obama and his decision to approve the mission that killed OBL that I am willing to accept his decision not to release the photos.

Posted by mheld45 | Report as abusive

If Bush was mostly responsible for this event, then pester Bush to release the photographs.

Posted by WhoopTeeDo | Report as abusive

You just keep that thought mheld45. Obviously, it doesn’t take much to please you. OBL has most likely been dead for years and his body was being kept in the compound. The real crime is Mr. Obama taking credit for something he had nothing to do with. He has no credibility; therefore, no one will accept what he says without proof any longer. Very sad but true.

Posted by lezah2 | Report as abusive

Osama bin Laden has been dead for at least 10 years. What Obama did was a low-brow, cheap trick. People were murdered so that he could give himself a little boost in the polls. It worked, but it won’t last. If the truth comes out, it will be Obama’s undoing.

Posted by BillXY | Report as abusive

…”Excuse Mr. Obama, can I see the body?” “Of course not, we honoured Islamic tradition as we’ve always had!, *ehemm* even Prophet Mohamed itself didn’t like pictures or videos…*eehemm*…Look! over there! Pope John Paul resurrected from the grave…” true!, very subjective reporting, go Obama…apologies for questioning! your highness…

Posted by kechimba | Report as abusive

Mr. Obama should not always be so damn analytical. The reasons given for not showing the pictures were logical but people are emotional animals. The intense emotions from the attack still remain and showing the pictures would have helped reduce the emotions. The media (even the liberal media) should show the attacks on TV to remind people of what happened on 911. People would than demand to see those pictures.

Posted by jorge62 | Report as abusive

Just send the photos to Al Jazeera and let them decide to release or not release.

Posted by stanrich | Report as abusive

It must be a terrible disappointment to tens of millions of patriotic ghouls throughout this great land.

They’ll have to be satisfied with boisterous celebrations of what appears to have been the cold-blooded assassination of four unarmed men.

This is military glory on an American scale.

Torture and assassination – it is truly sad and pathetic what this country has been reduced to over the course of its so-called War on Terror.

Posted by jrpardinas | Report as abusive

truth never dies and lies do not have life.

Posted by drdang12 | Report as abusive

I believe that OBL is dead. In a short time, most of his supporters will also know that it’s true.

It’s still wrong to publish postmortem photos.

When fewer Muslims hate us, we can begin to scale back this global war on terrorism. If more Muslims hate us even more fervently, we will have to ramp up the global war to even higher levels.

Why fan the flames?

Posted by breezinthru | Report as abusive

When the terrorists broadcast the beheading of Americans, Americans should show the corpse of Bin Laden to the world news. Let them see what happens when 3K innocent people from many countries were vaporized on 9/11. Many responders are ill from toxins injested when they were trying to save others lives.

Posted by ingenoue | Report as abusive

Osama is probably being tortured as we speak.

Posted by diddums | Report as abusive

Conspiracy theorist will come up with their stories regardless of whether the photos are shown or not. To release the photos is just cheap voyeurism to satisfy ghoulish tastes. Bin Laden is dead, let’s put him behind us and move on to dealing with the real problems the country is facing in the present moment.

Posted by jackieg | Report as abusive

To those who think this should not have been a kill operation–had Osama been captured and held for trial his followers would have immediately started taking hostages and publicly executing them in their demands for his release. Our courageous Seals took the option available to neutralize Bin Laden without creating more tragedy.

Posted by jackieg | Report as abusive

Let’s watch Daniel Pearle get beheaded again. and Lets Watch Black Hawk Down and the hostages the Libyans took and lets definitely watch the twin towers coverage for a a few days and then take another poll on whether or not the pics should be be shown. Why not just silence the naysayers and the questioners of the execution. Put an end to it once and for all.

Posted by Carolinagirl965 | Report as abusive

Anyone posting the quote below needs to stop. It is a FAKE MLK quote.

“I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
- Martin Luther King Jr.

Posted by iceman98989 | Report as abusive

This is akin to allowing family of a murdered victim to be present at an execution. It is said that it provides closure. America as a whole was victimized during the 9/11 attacks – so people feel seeing OBL’s lifeless corpse will provide that closure. I, for one, need not see those pictures. However, everyone is different, and perhaps it would help some. I guess I’m on the fence for this one.

Posted by bodychex | Report as abusive

Does anyone think Obama would say Bin-Laden is dead if he weren’t? Obama would know that kind of lie would destroy his political future if Bin-Laden showed up again. I don’t give a crap what the naysayers think. Personally, I would love to see the entire videos of the raid, but I don’t want the rest of the world to see it. So, I will just have to wait for Hollywood to give me the vicarious experience in an inevitable future movie.

Posted by Stibine | Report as abusive

Does anyone think Obama would say Bin-Laden is dead if he weren’t? Obama would know that kind of lie would destroy his political future if Bin-Laden showed up again. I don’t give a crap what the naysayers think. Personally, I would love to see the entire videos of the raid, but I don’t want the rest of the world to see it. So, I will just have to wait for Hollywood to give me the vicarious experience in an inevitable future movie.

Posted by Stibine | Report as abusive

I understand the reasoning, they are disturbing and macabre and it will be called uncouth by many to release them. I do not agree that graphic pictures of Bin Laden would incite more violence or make him any more of a martyr. However, not releasing them is overly protective and “Big Daddy-ish”. In my opinion, the deciding factor is that a true democracy absolutely requires maximal transparency. How do Adults in this world participate in democracies (governments by the people) without knowing the reality and truth about the events we are involved?

Posted by ConstFundie | Report as abusive

Obama is right not to release them. The same images that will make American’s feel “closure” will also make militants feel anger. They will do a lot more damage, and allow him to become even more of a martyr.

Nowhere in democracy does it say “full disclosure”, nor does it say that government’s inner workings must be dangerously exposed to be a democracy. That is the entitled North American pseudo-logic at play, and it angers me.

Roll back the clocks 100 years and ask me if this would have been okay? Of course it would have been okay. Think about it.

Posted by oriondg | Report as abusive

I bet you guys would still believe in Santa if he told you he was real

Posted by screwyou81 | Report as abusive

The military says don’t release it, the CIA and the other national security agencies say don’t release it, the heads of the House and Senate Intelligence and Defense committees (both Democrats and Republicans) say don’t release it. They all say it because the doubters still wouldn’t believe we kill him and it would inflame the radicals and endanger our troops.

What’s so hard to understand about this. If you’re an American and you want it release then you want to endanger our troops and that borders on treason.

Posted by affableman | Report as abusive

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