The Case for Releasing the Photo of a Dead Osama

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In the wake of bin Laden’s death, a bellicose reaction from the Muslim world has been surprisingly unspectacular. Major terrorist leaders have been predictably preoccupied with honoring the terrorist’s deadly legacy rather than instigating immediate overt acts of violence. Hamas mourned the death of a “Holy Warrior,” and criticized the “shedding of Muslim blood.” Radical imams in Pakistan denounced the US for “an act of terrorism,” calling bin Laden a hero.

This is not to say, of course, that Islamic retribution for the photos’ release is not a genuine concern; it most definitely is. But the question of importance is this: would releasing the photos of a dead Osama bin Laden really make the situation we are in with radical Islam any worse than it already is? Is it really possible to make jihadists angrier, more radical and more determined to kill us? Is there a species of jihadists who don’t participate in jihad and will only do so once they see a picture of dead jihadists? And, most importantly, are we in the business of appeasing jihadists?

What we can assume are reasonable answers to these questions suggests that the Obama administration is not so much concerned about “inflaming” the Muslim World in terms of the violence it would be willing to commit, but “aggravating” it — that is to say, “angering” it. But have we now arrived at a state where American foreign policy is dictated by the emotional state of Islamists? Our governments must now decide what they should and should not do for their citizens based on the perceived temperaments of jihadists? We do not live in a police state. We are entitled to certain information so long as it does not constitute a grave and serious threat to ourselves — not so long as it does not offend radical Islamists.

The president’s own statements indicate that his real worry — one that he echoed twice in his interview with ABC — is that American arrogance (in his vision) will provoke the Muslim world to violence. This view is, of course, in continuity with his overall philosophy that it is America’s “arrogant” position in the world that has brought Islamic terrorism upon America. Thus, Obama believes that the promulgation of the bin Laden picture would constitute displaying a trophy or “spiking the football.”

In making these remarks, the president has shown himself to be completely out of touch with the pulse of the American populace. The American people want (and deserve) to see the pictures, not because they are sitting around hoping to revel in their “trophy.” Yes, naturally, to some extent, within certain milieu, this may be true. But the American people as a whole clearly are driven by the rational and justified desire to possess all of the information possible regarding how their most vile enemy was brought to justice. It is not an interest that the nation should be ashamed of and suppress — as President Obama shows himself to believe.

The president stated that he saw “no purpose” in allowing Americans to see bin Laden’s dead body. Such a statement reveals a tragically naïve and ignorant understanding of the psychological and strategic chess game in war and politics. Showing the dead picture of Osama would deliver a devastating blow to our enemies – and a vital message to the world. It is crucial for America to say: here is a picture of an enemy of the United States who declared war on us and who killed thousands of our citizens. This is what happens to people who engage in this behavior. Showing the photos would be a demonstration of American determination and strength in the War on Terror, while withholding them would produce an appearance of appeasement and weakness before the very people and ideology bin Laden represented. For a leader not to understand the vital importance of this reality is ineptness at its worst.

As a leader in the War on Terror, an American president should recognize that releasing the photos would boost our allies’ morale in countries like Tanzania and Kenya, which have also suffered numerous dead in al-Qaeda attacks. Besides giving our foreign friends a comforting demonstration of American power, victims and their families in allied countries would also like closure and would be grateful to America for doing so. In addition, photos of the dead al-Qaeda leader would increase the incentive of these states and their peoples to continue to follow American leadership in combating worldwide jihad. This is especially valid for countries like the East African states that have a strong al-Qaeda presence nearby in Somalia and Yemen.

Releasing photos showing a dead bin Laden would validate who we are as a people and illustrate our determination to carry on the fight no matter how long it takes or how many blows we receive. It would say in unequivocal terms that we are not afraid and that we will boldly bring those who hurt us to justice. Not releasing the photos denies the American people a confirming moment that would not only be cathartic for many, but, at a minimum, must be done out of respect to the victims of 9/11 and their families, who deserve closure.

The image of a dead bin Laden might trouble some people. But the images of our innocent citizens jumping to their deaths from the World Trade Center Towers on 9/11 were troubling as well — and it is with them in mind that we must frame our decisions as a nation.


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  • good srilankan

    Where is the report Alleged War Crimes against USA, UK and NATO forces during the war against Osama Bi Laden?

    • StephenD

      LOL. Yeah, someone get this guy "the report" so he can review it in case he wants to file charges. What a dolt!

  • ApolloSpeaks


    If releasing the photos of Bin Laden's dead body is a grave national security concern as the president said; and that doing so could imperil the lives of innocent US civilians and soldiers fighting terror in the field then why didn't Obama keep the mission to kill bin Laden a secret? Why wasn't it a covert operation with Obama denying any responsibility or connection to the deed? Does this make any sense? Could the release of gruesome photos with Bin Ladin's face blown off be more of a national security risk than revealing the fact that we did it? That America was the executioner that struck the fatal blow?


    • Jm58

      Agree 100%. Just the fact of stating that the pictures are so grusome that you can't release them by itself might be even more inciteful than releasing them….

  • ApolloSpeaks

    That the killing of bin Laden was a US operation from start to finish with the President calling the shots? How does releasing photos that Al Qaida could easily fake for deceiving the ignorant be more dangerous than going public with the operation? Which of the two puts US lives at more risk? Indeed, the disconnect between Obama suppressing the photos but not info on the mission is so wide and bewildering that you can drive a galaxy through it……..

    Click my name to read the rest of hiss piece.

    • Nico

      Good posts. The lack of logic in Obama's actions is bewildering. Also astounding is the "amateur hour" coming out of the WH after this operation. They can't even get the story straight, nor their statements. Whatever political points Obungler may have enjoyed immediately after the Osama kill, he will lose in spades thanks to his utter imcompetence and display of dilettantism, confusion and disarray. This guy has the un-Midas touch, he can turn gold to crap.

  • Dispozovdaburka

    Its interesting that they think that releasing the photos will increase the violence.

    I would imagine that they understood what violent consequences would be BEFORE
    they assasinated him.

  • davarino

    Obama had no problem showing the pictures from Abu Grab. Those had the portential to incite violence. Why so sensitive now?

    • Nico

      When it comes to demonizing, diminishing and compromising the US, all is fair. But don't touch his precious islamocrazies.

  • Steve Chavez

    OBAMA/OSAMA CARTOON CAUSING SCANDAL at the University of New Mexico. The newspaper, Daily Lobo, Chris Quintana editor: "The political cartoon alluded to a memorable scene from the Disney movie, “The Lion King,” in which Rafiki announces Simba’s birth. Except in this case, President Barack Obama was cast as Rafiki, and in place of Simba was Osama bin Laden’s severed head. Regrettably, this cartoon offended the African-American community — along with many others — who interpreted Obama’s representation as racist. For this oversight, I sincerely apologize."

    BUT THOSE CARTOONS OF GWB AS "THE CHIMP" WERE FUNNY? Chalk up another win for the PC Police who are handcuffing what we think, what we write, what we eat, what we drive, what we own, what we are paid, and now what we laugh at!

    • Nico

      These idiot students are probably taking "Multiculturalism", "Underwater Basked Weaving" and "Cultural Sensitivity" and "Community Organizing"
      for their majors, with a minor in "Newspeak" maybe. If they actually went to college to study something worthwhile, they would be busy studying for their finals instead of looking for ridiculous non-issues to gripe about.

  • tanstaafl

    It must be the same reason as the one he is using to withhold his birth certificate, college records and skee ball scores…………………….I sense a conspiracy!

  • Larry

    It is my opinion that the photos are not necessary as far as proof because the same folks that want to see pics as proof, will then say they were photo shopped.
    So unless they all got together with Bin Laden and said lets play a game, you pretend your dead and never speak or be seen again, because if you do, we are going to look really stupid, and we all know OBL wouldn't want that right :), then it is my guess he is gone and that is all that really matters. If we flaunt the killing of another person, then that almost put's us on the same level as the other twisted radicals out there.

    • Nico

      I respectfully disagree with you completetly. The photos should be released, and that doesn't make us the same as the islamosavages. This is justice, not wanton murder like they do. We delight in justice, they delight in death of innocents. Stop the moral equivalency, there is none.

  • Mike

    And how is this photo more gruesome than the crime scenes we see on TV shows like CSI, Bones, etc?? Show us the picture already. We can handle it. Quit treating us like children.

    • Nico

      We watched in horror as people leaped to their deaths from burning buildings on 9/11. Daniel Pearl's beheading was posted on the internet, and others too. We don't need some elitist nanny prick telling us what's good for us and what we can and cannot handle. Thousands of our own sons and daughters, husbands and wives have given of lost their lives because of islamoscum like Osama. We deserve to see him dead. As far as I'm concerned, Obama had no skin in the game (to quote one of his phrases), and he has no right to say we can't see the pictures.

  • jacob

    People can believe what they want but to me, this OBL liquidation business looks
    to me a publicity stunt propping up OBAMA's falling popularity and endorsement
    by the general public.

    Furthermore, his ordering the burial with full observance of Muslim rites, a 45
    minutes religious service and now this poor excuse for releasing the pictures
    speaks volumes to me about who we have in the White House

    Granted: burying him at sea will not allow a mosque built on his grave but will not
    stop either the building of a shrine on his memory, as he is already considered a
    "Shahid" by most Muslims…

    As somebody ponted out, if and when he is actually OBL, I hope and pray the 72
    virgins Mohammed produced for him, are all of them clones of HELEN THOMAS.

    Now, doesn't the whole story details smell fishy ???

    If and when he was actually OBL, I guess the Pakistanis decided to get rid of him
    There is still a 50 million dollars reward on his head and besides, the US subsidy
    to Pakistan makes a powerful and convincing argument….

    • richard


  • tagalog

    Deciding not to release the pictures displaying bin Laden's death? Yes, not good. But also there's the element of letting the Muslim world know that if you f**k with us, you die. It's been demonstrated over and over again that a display of resolute resistance to radical Islam usually results in a diminution of jihadism, not an increase of it. Islamists act like little kids: put up with their crap and they walk all over you; give them a spanking and they begin to behave better.

    • Jim_C

      "But also there's the element of letting the Muslim world know that if you f**k with us, you die."

      I'd like to think they've gotten this message by now.

      I think the relative calm in the Arab world over Osama's death corroborates this. I think a subtle sea change is taking place in the region. And who do I give credit to? Have to give some credit to Mr. Bush for putting some teeth into our foreign policy.

      Another faintly vsible change: There is an element of the Arab world that is also sick of blaming Israel for its problems. We have to do everything we can to support this change in sentiment.

    • Nico

      You're right. Islamists only understand and respect force. They hate us no matter what, but if you show force, they back down and at least respect the power. They are cowards and bullies, and as such they shrink away when challanged, or go hide behind a skirt (or a burqa as the case may be) and use children as human shields, despicable cowardly wusses.

  • richard

    since he could have been taken alive he should have been. holding a trial/execution
    in an undisclosed location, not in the us. televised worldwide. (no-one would know where he was). public execution; firing squad. i'm certain before he was killed, if he was, the decision was made not to show photos. this supposed controversy of cia saying would be released, lends credence to some fictional struggled over decision. pure fiction.

    • Jim_C

      No–the whole process would have gotten fetishized and turned into a circus. Once it goes public, you have no control over what happens.

      This was the best way. Those who like to wank to conspiracies will always do so regardless of any further information.

    • pagegl

      Assume, instead of killing him, we had taken him prisoner. How long would it be before a trial would start, what sort of intelligence would have to be revealed to get a conviction? Assuming we would get a conviction, do you really think the EU and UN would let us execute him without raising a monsterous stink about the death penalty? No matter how grievous his transgressions the leftists of Europe would not support his execution.

  • Fred Dawes

    we need to see bin laden dead and if the pictures don't come out maybe its wasn't bin laden or maybe bin laden been dead for 9 years? and maybe this is just a tool that obama is using to fool us? or maybe the one world guys are playing us all once more?

  • Chiggles

    Panetta, not Obama, gave the order to whack bin Laden according to this:

  • Sue Schiller

    Since hollywood shows all the fright movie with their grusomeness I think that the pictures should be released.
    Except, Hollywood supports,obama, I use the lower casr letter as its deserves lower case.

  • Nico

    When the Abu Ghraib thing happened, in which, by the way, no detainee was harmed but only humiliated, liberals wasted no time publishing as many damaging photos as possible, knowing full well that it would infuriate the already infuriated islamofascist savages, possibly putting even more US lives in danger. This lame question was posed, "How would you feel if an American was killed and the muslim world put their picture on the internet?" I couldn't believe my ears! The savages don't only post pictures of dead Americans, they make videos of their beheadings for internet consumption, they display charred remains of US soldiers from bridges and post pictures. This is outrageous. Obama sides with muslim "sensibitlities" every time over the wishes and feelings of Americans. Obama and his amateur hour posse have so hopelessly bungles the aftermath of this brilliant operation, that any political gain he may have enjoyed will be negated by the incompetence, confusion, disarray and bad decisions that followed. Leave it up to Obumbler to eff up a perfect thing.

  • Lisa_H

    Let the pics be leaked sometime in the future … more effective.

  • Dispozovdaburka

    Another nice photo op for Obama at 9/11 site._
    Why give Osama a photo op?
    _More free press towards the 2012 election._
    _Obama's ego knows no limits.__
    "It's all about me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"__
    Where's GW ?

    • Nico

      If Obama was at least half a man with a scosh of decency, he would have thanked GWB for putting in place the system which allowed BinLaden to be found, the same system, by the way, that he demonized, criticized and vowed to dismantle, and for which GWB was ridiculed, hated, insulted and demonized. And while he's in NYC thinking he's being worshipped for something he has next to nothing to do with, except say "Ok go ahead", his appointed AG Eric Holder is still investigating CIA operatives and looking to try them in court and sentence them for the same types of "crimes" that gave us BinLaden, for which Obama is acting like the conquering hero. So sickening.

  • Nico

    Kind of what the Italians did with Mussolini… who could blame them?

  • MHL

    As Ann Coulter so brilliantly said last night on The O'REILLY FACTOR, in her unique, inimitable style:
    Show us the photographs of Bin Laden's corpse and don't be concerned that they're too gruesome. If we can look at Hillary Clinton's ankles, we can view anything.

  • 88keyman

    I'd suggest that the Radical in Chief ordered the killing with no mind for justice but only for political gain. The take down wins points from right and center, while not releasing the photos avoids alienating his not-too-thrilled-with-the-killing, hard-left base.

  • Irene Dowling

    I do not like Obama or anything he stands for ~ I agree with not releasing the pictures, as I do not want to put our men in arms way in any more danger than they already are in ~ God bless all of our military and God bless the USA ~

  • brimp

    There is a reason that self governing people might claim that the 'photos' if Bin Ladin are a fake because everything that this administration says is a lie. There is credible evidence that Bin Ladin has been dead for 9 years. A number of high profile government employees have reported to news papers and on television that Bush was going to claim to kill him at the most appropriate time to get reelected in 2004. Who is going to believe them when they did not even bring back the body?

  • g_jochnowitz

    There is nothing as beautiful as a fact. The world is real, and information is necessary no matter what the situation is.
    When people know that something is being hidden, they become especially suspicious. Obama should have learned from the long-birth-certificate experience that openness works. concealing information is counter-productive.
    Perhaps the photos are horrible. But if they are not released, in people's imaginations they will be even more horrible.

  • BS77

    Hmmmmm, they released video images of the scores of people who had to jump from the World Trade Center Towers to escape the horrific flames. We were able to view that ….and it was a terrible thing to behold……so why not see OBL with a bullet in him? Couldn't be any worse than seeing innocent human beings flinging themselves out of windows nine hundred feet from the pavement below. 9/11 Never Forget. FDNY your sacrifices will not be forgotten.

  • Allen

    David Horowitz, how can you question why America is destroying itself, Israel, and the rest of the world, when you allow a Kenyan citizen to sit as President in the Oval Office? Obama testifies to his dual citizenship with every birth document he produces. Do you not ask why there is not a law restricting foreign citizens (dual or otherwise) from becoming the commander in chief? The answer is that there is a law. In the Constitution, it is required for the President to be a natural born citizen, which means born in the U.S. to parents who both are citizens. Obama has convinced both you and his supporters that it is racist to mention his foreign citizenship and thus question his legitimacy to be President. It does not take much of a prophet to foresee all people (especially here in the U.S. and in Israel) forced to bow down to this slippery, charismatic, and destructive man, the law of the land tossed aside, as Obama takes the path of affirmative action to the utmost, to the Oval Office.

  • Mark Shepler

    Osama Bin Laden said of the US, "when people see a strong horse and a weak horse, they will naturally be attracted to the strong horse." Well, like any human, he was speaking of the world he knew best which is the muslim world. Are our multi-culti brainiacs so certain there are not perhaps more muslims glad to seem him dead than not? You know, those ordinary, work-a-day “moderate” muslims we hear so much about? If there are so many out there waiting for their chance to assert themselves why is it our leaders assume that seeing the very epitome of what they tell us is a teeny-tiny minority of radicals dead would present such a universal threat to the peace? Besides, I happen to believe that for the followers of any cult to see such a venerated, almost mythological leader gory in death, gray and inanimate at the hands of those he disdained could work just as well to deflate morale among the fence-sitters as inflame it. Who’s the weak horse now, baby?

    Secondly, the Obama administration has painted themselves into a corner and must release some sort of objective proof. First, they tell all the world we sent boots in rather than a drone strike expressly to obtain "proof of death", the most basic form throughout all of history being the bad man's corpse. Then, in a fit of shallow, multi-culti deference they promptly bury the corpse where it can never be found again. The modern proofs of pics, video and dna tests will suffice these naifs told themselves. Then even more obscure reasoning takes over and even these are deemed too inflammatory and won't be shown. "Trust Us" they demand. And then incredibly, unbelievably they are astonished that as Obama waves his dna reports like Chamberlain on the tarmac people and nations abound who don't believe him.

    Here's what we should have done: On Monday we should have had his head on a pike at ground zero and his body swinging from the Brooklyn Bridge like our English ancestors of yore would do to pirates, brigands, traitors and other breakers of the peace. The religion of the mass murderer be d a m n e d. The many millions of good muslims would understand and the rest can lump it for our very existence is enough for them to hate anyway and the visuals would at least serve as a stern reminder that like they, we act on our own motivations and purposes quite apart from their sensitivities. Screw 'em.

    But because of either its congenital bumbling or too clever machinations, the administration has guaranteed it will finish its days fending off doubts and conspiracy talk. Ditto for derision and, oddly enough, the handling of the aftermath could actually diminish confidence and respect for our government both home and abroad.

    Forgive the cheesy plug, but you can read my full take: | Obama Killed Osama? Don't Bet On It…

  • SaveUS

    I have no doubt that our Commander-in-Chief did not give the order to kill OBL. He is simply not capable of making such decisions, as history of his 2 1/2 years proves. His announcement after the killing, when he took all credits for himself, was a shock for me.
    Obviously, Leon Panetta and Pentagon (Gates) gave an order and probably Bill Daley and Hillary Clinton supported it. Our POTUS did not have guts to stop the order (he needs a loooong time to make any decision) and it was a good opportunity for him to reverse the existing opinion about his incompetence. In case of a failure, he would deny any knowledge of the action. Another proof is that White House was totally unprepared after the fact. They came up with a bunch of lies about the details of the action (Obama is a compulsive lier) and could not decide about the pictures. Obviously, our Seals were given the order to kill all men at first sight and spare women and children, but it was not POTUS order. The military / CIA were perfectly prepared for the action (including body disposal) in contrast with the White House

  • probably12

    l. How about the photo shown to the whole world the capture of Daniel Perl who eventually was beheaded, the Mogadishu massacre, where the bodies of the service men were dragged.?

    I wonder if any 9/11 member of the victims family who were invited to attend the photo-op at ground zero yesterday asked the impostor what is his position about the proposed GZ Mosque?

  • Steve Chavez

    Don't you think at least one out of 5000 sailors took photos of him and with him and he/she is waiting to dock to download them and then sell them?