Social Question

nikipedia's avatar

Should the media publish photos of bin Laden's body?

Asked by nikipedia (27669points) May 4th, 2011

I haven’t seen a question specifically about this, but I confess I didn’t read the other threads about his death, so I don’t know if it’s already been discussed.

According to the Washington Post, gruesome pictures of Osama bin Laden’s dead body do exist. What would be the benefits of releasing them to the public? The costs? Would you want to see them?

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37 Answers

john65pennington's avatar

Yes, his body should be televised to the public. Why? It would help to eliminate any “questions” of his death and capture. It would also bring closure to the remaining family members of the 911 attack.

All of us have waited a long time for this moment and the public has a need to know and see.

erichw1504's avatar


lemming's avatar

I’m not sure, I don’t think it should be in the papers or on T.V. anyway because people who don’t want to see it shouldn’t be forced to and kids definitely shouldn’t see it either. Maybe they could put it on a web site and the people who want to see it can log on and view.

A few years ago in my country a body was found in a suitcase and they couldn’t identify who it was so all the papers had his bloated decomposing face on the front page…I was only young at the time and I can remember it well…It wasn’t right, I think.

poisonedantidote's avatar

If it were my decision and my decision alone, I say no.

Why not? Is it for fear of retaliation? Out of respect? No, none of that. Just, lets not be like that. Lets not be the medieval corpse parading mob. Thats all.

Having said that, I’m not an American, I lost nothing on 9/11, to me it was just a day of interesting news. If they show it or not, I don’t really care too much, I’m mainly answering from an ideological perspective.

Saddam’s death “got out”, and mark my words, so will these pictures, maybe even some video.

marinelife's avatar

I am afraid that with his body buried at sea, pictures are the only sharable evidence left. I reluctantly think so.

wundayatta's avatar

Documentary evidence—it might go a little ways towards settling doubts of people who don’t trust governments. But has Obama’s release of his birth certificate quited the birther folks? I kind of doubt it. There is a large group of people for whom documentary evidence is meaningless. They believe what they want to believe.

On the other hand, there are also a number of people around the world who would be more reassured that the US is telling the truth if they did see a picture. For them, it might be worth it. It might make it seem more real.

On the other hand, there will be those who say it isn’t necessary. They didn’t have to go and show those pix. Nothing was served by it.

You can’t please everyone.

JilltheTooth's avatar

I don’t think it’s necessary, nor do I think the public has a “right” to view pics, films or other evidence. If bin Laden was still living, refutation of the death reports would be easy.

CaptainHarley's avatar

I don’t care one way or the other. The dude is dead and the sooner we move on from his peculiar brand of insanity, the better.

Michael_Huntington's avatar

I already saw the picture (like hours after his death was announced), so personally, it wouldn’t matter to me.
What I want to see is his death certificate!~

Ron_C's avatar

The pictures of his body, preparation for burial, the actual burial, pictures sampling his DNA, and a DNA report with a copy of the chain of custody should all be published to insure that no mistake of cover-up occurred. Only then will I believe the government reports.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@Ron_C : Why would you believe those government reports? They could conceivably be manufactured as well. Have you had personal access to bin Laden’s DNA reports from before he was dead so you could make a personal comparison? Do you have the knowledge and ability to verify the legitimacy of reports and pictures that might be released? With very little computer know-how even I, with a little research, some stock film footage and photos could probably rig up fascimiles of those things you mention.

JLeslie's avatar

Yes. And blood or tissue samples should be analyzed by more than one lab. To quell any naysayers and put closure to things.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Since they tossed the body I would say yes. I need to see some real proof. Our government has lied to us so many times in the past what makes this event any different that I should just take their word for it?

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Seeing photos of Bin Laden’s body by the general public is not going to prove that he is really, truly dead. Maybe it is just me, but I’d struggle to be able to positively confirm the body of most friends who had their face blown off, much less of a person I’ve never met or have seen scantily clothed, especially in a photo.

I would prefer that the evidence gathered to be shared with the appropriate officials of other countries that could confirm (or dispute) it and publish their conclusions. It seems like this would sit better with those that do not trust Obama, to be telling the truth about the information that has been released so far.

Jaxk's avatar

Conspiracy theorists come in all shapes, sizes, and ideologies. Some want to see the proof to satisfy some need for closure. Others want to see it so that can criticize or claim it false. Who really shot Kennedy, the moon landing was staged, 9/11 was a government plot, Elvis is not really dead, to those people, evidence is always falsified. It’s not clear whether they actually believe these theories or whether they simply enjoy the entertainment. For those people, pictures will not put this to rest.

gondwanalon's avatar

As Confucius might say, “One Picture is Worth Ten Thousand Words,” If Binnieboy is dead, then lets see the close-up glossy evidence.

Qingu's avatar

I’m torn. A lot would depend on how it’s framed and how gross the photo is.

I don’t want our country or our media to look like the dumbasses who strung up and taunted Saddam Hussein (“Muqtada! Muqtada!”) and then danced around his corpse. That looked petty and savage and only served to inflame the sectarian tensions in Iraq.

There are still thousands of Taliban, AQ and sympathizers in the world, and we need to convince as many of them as possible to lay down their arms and join civilization. We also need to show the rest of the world that we’re better than these people who seem to enjoy releasing snuff videos to promote their causes.

Qingu's avatar

I also think the level of “proof” some of you guys are demanding is patently ridiculous. It’s not enough that the president, his entire chiefs of staff, the SEALs who shot him, the people who transported them, and the soldiers on the carrier who dumped OBL’s body all saw him and confirmed it was dead… you personally still need to see evidence or you won’t believe the big bad man is dead?

Give me a break. I think this attitude is emblematic of the sense of entitlement and narcissism that so many Americans have, that politicians and global events need to cater to their whims “or else.” Your curiosity to see bin Laden dead must be weighed against how we project our global image and the risks of inflaming people who are already planning revenge attacks.

Qingu's avatar

Quoting Ezra Klein (“The incoherence of the “Deathers””)

If we didn’t kill bin Laden, presumably he’ll quickly release a video emphasizing the fact of his continued existence. Or he’ll at least tell his daughter to stop publicly saying that she watched as he was shot and killed by Americans. If the conspiracy is that the Obama administration is claiming to have killed bin Laden when they in fact have actually captured him and are holding him for torture/interrogation/fun dance parties, then a photograph proves nothing more than that someone in the Obama administration knows how to use Photoshop.

I’m all for skepticism of government claims, but not when it makes no freaking sense whatsoever to doubt them.

Things I am willing to be skeptical about, to varying degrees:
• The helicopter malfunctioned as opposed to being shot down
• That we gave no warning to the Pakistani military/ISI (though I’d put this as quite probable)
• That bin Laden “resisted” in a meaningful way
• The extent to which the funeral on the aircraft carrier was respectful
• Nearly anything that comes out of ISI interrogations of the survivors

I’m also very curious about those reports that the power shut off in Abottabad before the assault began, which would also tie into the discrepencies between reported number of helicopters and SEALs involved (I’ve seen anywhere from 12 to 72—maybe a group split off and cut the town’s power), and how many people were actually in the compound and fighting back.

But those are details.

Qingu's avatar

NYT says that Obama has decided not to release the photo of bin Laden’s corpse.

Say la vee.

mazingerz88's avatar

@Qingu beat me to it. It’s insane to think all those Americans concerned faked this knowing Bin Laden is alive and could at anytime expose them! This is paranoia to the max! But since we’re talking about it anyway does anyone here also think Bin Laden might have pulled an insanely brilliant stunt and that was just a body double we killed? Could he have a twin brother no one knew about? Now I’m the one being paranoid!

Qingu's avatar

No. A body double wouldn’t have a compound built for him in plain sight to hide with his entire family, nor would his DNA match that of bin Laden’s family… and the real bin Laden would simply release a video in due time.

flutherother's avatar

I think Obama is right. It is better if we don’t see the pictures.

nikipedia's avatar

Sounds like the president has had his fill of capitulating to insane conspiracy theorists. I can get behind that.

Qingu's avatar

“That’s not who we are. We don’t trot out this stuff as trophies….we don’t need to spike the football.”

I do think the senate and house of reps should get to see proof, and maybe some journalists. But whatevz, really.

Only138's avatar

I’d like to smoke dope out of his skull. :)

filmfann's avatar

I really want to see the pics, but I am pretty demented.

Obama came out and said that showing these pics would be akin to spiking a football, following a touchdown. It’s all “In your face!” without any gain.
I am very proud of this president! He presents the America I want this country to be.

plethora's avatar

There is no benefit to showing the pics. The reason the man was killed and dumped at sea was to prevent demented terrorists from making a shrine to him and parading him or his pics around the world to our disadvantage.

As for evidence, pics would not convince those not already convinced and who choose not to be convinced.

This site is full of Obama lovers. I don’t even like him and I trust him on this. Maybe I trust him because he finally did something I can be proud of. And maybe “you”, whoever “you” may be, don’t like this action at your core. Whatever, I’m glad the demented fool, bin laden, is dead. And I am particularly glad that SEAL Team 6 got to blow him away. Killing him was no error. They did not go there to capture him. Obama made that clear.

woodcutter's avatar

wouldn’t surprise me at all if they leaked out later. I can only hope. But that is just me.

BarnacleBill's avatar

Nope. I could care less. Why do something to deliberately incite outrage and incense so we can satisfy idle curiosity?

We really need to stop playing Cowboy to other country’s Indian. If you think Cowboys are the good guys, ask a Native American for their perspective.

gondwanalon's avatar

You really don’t need (or want) to look at a picture Osama’s corpse. All you have to do is visualize the effects that 2 high powered pullets delivered at close range to his head. If the President says that he is dead, then that is good enough for me.

woodcutter's avatar

It’s looking like it has probably been too long since 911 and people have let it fade from vivid memory as well as the outrage. Some on here were small children on that day. I want to see the images. I don’t need to justify that to anybody. But I will be patient and wait.

phaedryx's avatar

No, pictures would just be used by his followers to make out as a martyr.

There is no evidence that he is alive. I accept that he’s dead. I don’t need photos.

Qingu's avatar

@BarnacleBill, if an Indian murdered 3,000 innocent people I would have no problem with a cowboy riding into Indian territory by night, sneaking into his camp, shooting him twice in the face, and riding back out.

flutherother's avatar

I think Obama’s judgment on this has been perfect from start to finish.
@Qingu But if white men murdered 3,000 Indians (which is more likely) the Indian that sneaked into the white man’s camp and shot their leader twice in the face would be considered a terrorist.

Qingu's avatar

@flutherother, true, but I’d give that Indian a high-five. :)

People in Pakistan are no doubt calling the SEALs terrorists; they’re certainly pissed about the operation.

Jaxk's avatar

All in all, it was a good deal. the pictures won’t provide any further proof and could be quite detrimental. I certainly wouldn’t want pictures distributed that would identify any of the seals. Nor would I want anything out there that could be used later in some sort of ‘Show Trial’. When they shot the wife or if Usama was trying to surrender. Any number of things that could come up when some jackass decides we murdered Usama and wants retribution.

We assassinated him and that’s a good thing. I certainly wouldn’t want another argument about a show trial in NY. We dumped his body overboard and that’s a good thing as well. I certainly wouldn’t want a Grave Site that could be used to keep his cause alive. It was all good but it’s time to move on. Pictures won’t help us do that.

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