BBC–Should photos of Bin Laden's corpse be released?

Before the president’s announcement, it was reported that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defence Secretary Robert Gates were advising him not to.

They fear that the photos might make the US look like it is revelling in Bin Laden’s death, and spark reprisals in the Arab world.

That’s a view expressed by one of the people who has seen the photos, Republican Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. He’s worried their release could endanger US troops.

Read it all.


Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Office of the President, Pakistan, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Terrorism

26 comments on “BBC–Should photos of Bin Laden's corpse be released?

  1. Kendall Harmon says:

    I support the decision. There are times not to speak, there are times not to show things. This is one of them.

    One of the pitfalls of the information age is that people feel everything should be seen by anyone that wants to see it. Perhaps one good that can come of this is for a realization by more folks that this assumption is false.

  2. Ian+ says:

    We’re such a tabloid culture thanks to rags like the National Enquirer and TV like CNN and Jerry Springer. No way should those photos be published. If people won’t believe verbal reports that ObL is dead, they won’t believe a photo of a mutilated face– it could be anybody, they’ll say.

  3. Bookworm(God keep Snarkster) says:

    “Should photos of Bin Laden’s corpse be released?”

    Absolutely not.

  4. NoVA Scout says:

    The doubters will doubt no matter what. The United States knows he’s dead. That’s enough.

  5. Confessor says:

    NO – and I decry Reuters’ use of the photos of other Al Quaida operatives killed in Obama’s compound. Photos of a dead person posted on television or the internet are a violation of that person’s dignity, just as the college students recording and sending on the internet the s-xual activities of the young man who committed suicide were a violation of that person’s basic human rights.

    The only exception would be if the s-xual activities had been committed in a public park or restroom, then the person engaging in s-x publicly would have been opening him or herself up to being filmed by anyone with a cell phone, and would also have violated the public environment and the rights of others, in fact, committing harassment, the kind of assault similar to exposing oneself in a park or library.

    Again, an emphatic NO.

  6. Sarah says:

    I agree. Nobody who’s inclined not to believe it will believe it if a photo is released.

    There’s no need to see the photos.

  7. Betsybrowneyes says:

    I also say no. Releasing the photographs would serve no purpose.

  8. Ad Orientem says:

    Well this is disconcerting. I am complete agreement with everyone else here. I think I need to go lie down now.

  9. Ian+ says:

    If this continues, #7, you may want to consider changing your moniker to Ad Occidentem

  10. Branford says:

    Well, I disagree somewhat. Partly on historical reasons – bin Laden was a public terrorist and this is part of his history – of the historical record; and partly on selfish political reasons – the Administration is full of people who saw no problem with putting our soldiers at risk in the release of the Abu Grahib photos, yet now they are squeamish about bin Laden’s photo – rank hypocrisy (and I know this is not a good reason to publish them, but it really irks me).

  11. rwkachur says:

    The photos will not convince the conspiracy theorists that bin Laden is dead. If published I am sure someone will find “flaws” and that will fuel the conspiracy further. I think the President is right about his “not spiking the football comment.” Justice was served in the only way bin Laden made it possible. We should stand on that alone.

  12. David Hein says:

    This situation is one of those rare ones in which I found myself accepting of either option. I am glad that they will not be released; I could have stood it if they had been released.

  13. AnglicanFirst says:

    I had a chance to take pictures of two field grade officers (probably majors) of the 3rd (aka 27th) North Vietnamese Regiment who had just been captured within the previous hour and were awaiting helicopter transport from our FOB in the Seven Mountains area near the Cambodian border where my counter-infiltration unit was stationed.

    They were tightly bound and totally vulnerable and defenseless and their demeanor and bearing were a combination fierceness and fear. I was moved by something inside me to show respect for their defenseless situation even though I wouln’t have hesitated to have taken them under fire if they hadn’t been captured.

    I am still glad that I didn’t play the part of a gawking tourist and a dilettante.

    Respect and honor are not always easy to define, but its something that you recognize when you feel it and when you witness it.

  14. Sidney says:

    The pictures will be released eventually, probably in 5 to 10 years, sort of like the the Zapruder film. I can wait.

  15. Scatcatpdx says:

    Just wait

  16. Scott K says:

    I prefer they not be released. They will not prove anything to conspiracy theorists; releasing them is only one step removed from public executions in the town square. Let’s not celebrate violence even to our enemies.

  17. Branford says:

    Very good commentary here from NRO’s Jim Geraghty:

    From the moment we heard the news, I’ll bet some not-insignificant percentage of the American public said, “I want to see the body.” Not because we’re a bunch of voyeurs, but because we’ve been through these false alarms with disturbing regularity since 9/11. We think we get a guy, and then we don’t. We had several false alarms with Saddam Hussein, and when he was captured, they showed a short video of him getting checked out by doctors.
    What’s that, Mr. President? The photos are “very graphic”? So was watching people jump to their deaths from the blazing Twin Towers, you hyperactive condescending nanny. About ten years ago, we had a national traumatic experience as we all watched thousands of people die before our very eyes when the towers collapsed. Since then, we’ve seen Daniel Pearl beheaded, Madrid subway cars blown up, London buses and trains blown up, Bali nightclubs blown up, a Beslan school turned into a massacre site. We’ve seen enough death and dismemberment of innocent civilians to last a lifetime. So pardon me for thinking that our delicate sensibilities might be able to handle seeing the man with more American blood on his hands than anyone else on the planet missing an eye and with some brain matter exposed. …
    The truth will set you free, even when it’s ugly or gruesome.

  18. ORNurseDude says:

    I dunno…I think it could go either way, and would be in favor of releasing the photo(s), provided that the motivation in doing so was [b]not[/b] for gratification of blood lust or “spiking the ball.” bin Laden was not your average criminal – and what he did was not your average crime. The direct victims and their families aside, what he perpetrated on September 11 impacted all of us and fundamentally changed just about every aspect of our way of life. Hence, I think that the spontaneous bursts of jubilation – which so many have derided as being unseemly or beneathe us – were nothing more than a collective sigh of relief, after 10+ years of hunting him down. I would submit that there would have been a similar reaction had he been captured alive.
    Finally, I have to confess that I find it more than a little disconcerting that the sanctimonious moral equivalency drawn by many who fought so arduously for the release of the Abu Ghraib photos, (irrespective of their impact on our troops), are now voicing concerns about the release of photos from bin Laden’s takedown and the potential for inflaming the Arab street. The weeks the US spent dropping MRE’s ahead of the Afghan invasion, the lengths the military undertook to minimize the deaths of civilians and the country’s liberation from the Taliban did little to assuage their emnity toward the US. Just ask Daniel Pearl’s family.

  19. Ross says:

    #18 ORNurseDude says:

    The direct victims and their families aside, what he perpetrated on September 11 impacted all of us and fundamentally changed just about every aspect of our way of life.

    Let’s not get carried away. Yes, 9/11 was traumatic and painful and the repercussions are still being felt today — but it did not “fundamentally change just about every aspect of our way of life.” Most of us live pretty much the way we did before 9/11 — we go to work, we pay the bills, we mow the lawn, etc. Things have changed, yes, but not so much as all that for most Americans. A few maniacs with hijacked airplanes can hurt us, but they don’t have the power to fundamentally change our way of life.

    As for the pictures… I see no need to release them. Some people have jobs that require them to know what a human being looks like after being shot twice in the head; I respect and admire those people, but I don’t think the rest of us are edified by learning that particular piece of information. The man is dead, and the world is better off for it; can’t we leave it at that?

  20. Sarah says:

    RE: “The truth will set you free, even when it’s ugly or gruesome.”

    Right — and we all know the truth too, without seeing the body.

    On the other hand . . . it is disturbing that most of the thread agrees with one another on this and in particular some certain individuals [you know who you are!].

    I’m tempted to change my mind, so great is my quandary.

    ; > )

  21. off2 says:

    The choice is being cast as whether or not to release the photos. I think the actual choice is who will release the photos.

  22. nwlayman says:

    Of course we should see it. And so should the Muslim world. Obama is treating them and us like children. After Nuremberg, A lot of Nazi henchmen were hung. You can find pictures of them afterward easily. I don’t recall an uprising in Germany, no Italians objected (did they?) when the rearranged Mussolini was photographed hung upsidedown. We deserve to see it because we spent around a trillion dollars and thousands of dead soldiers to get him. They deserve it to show what he got and deserved to get. The photo should be shown and we have every reason in the world to gloat. Our enemies need to see it too and know it. Spike the ball, you bet.

  23. Katherine says:

    I think off2 is correct. I have no strong opinion one way or the other. If/when it is released, it can be linked to with warnings, as were the videos of the beheadings and other atrocities. I never saw them, myself, but many did and knew the descriptions were true.

  24. Betsybrowneyes says:

    Pictures or no pictures, I think we owe a debt of gratitude to our SEALs and other members of the armed forces who protect our rights to even debate this subject. God bless them all!

  25. Katherine says:

    The more I think about it, the more I favor the release of the photo. The Muslim areas of the world respect force far more than they do reason in general. As Bin Laden himself said, people will go with the stronger horse.

  26. KAR says:

    It should be noted al Qaeda admits it and calling for vengeance, his wife say it … “Birthers” may not believe it, I think there is less utility that can come out of it and it gives those who seem determined to be doubt something a reason to wake up in the morning.