White House mulls the release of bin Laden photos

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

This has been an on-going story for the last 24 hours.   On CNN (TV version) they quoted someone complaining that they didn’t think it was appropriate for children to see pictures of a dead person on the front page of the local newspaper, as if our freedom of information must now be restricted to the level of a third grader.

So after killing the guy in a raid, they are concerned that releasing pictures might actually inflame tensions.  Excuse the hell out of me, but compared to  killing the guy, releasing the pictures seems pretty friggin’ trival from the moral perspective.

In a world where pictures of a naked women is considered the equivalent of rape, this fits in quite well.

What really galls me is the arrogant position permeating this debate that American’s need to be shielded from the gruesome truth for their own good.  In my humble opinion, if we don’t have the fortitude to see what they’ve done, then they probably had no business doing it.

[Posted by Dave Krueger]

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65 Responses to “White House mulls the release of bin Laden photos”

  1. #1 |  A McGillican | 

    Which guest blogger posted this?

  2. #2 |  André | 

    I’ve got my money on Dave Krueger.

  3. #3 |  Buddy Hinton | 

    What I want to see is the video. Did he really resist? I don’t care if he did resist or not, but I care whether there was a lie about whether resistance, on his part, occurred.

  4. #4 |  goober1223 | 

    The better excuse is that it might incite more violence. Still terrible, but better. I guess that it’s always best to have a back-up.

  5. #5 |  MacK | 

    If they were called birthers when needing to see Obama’s Birth Certificate, are we now going to hear about deathers?

    Will that said death cert look suspiciously like said birth cert?

  6. #6 |  maybelogics | 

    Agreed. Release the photo. But only if printed on a Limited Edition Deluxe Commemorative Plate featuring the Bald Eagle, symbol of our Nation’s hard-won Freedom, soaring from bin Laden’s bloody skull wound. Three easy payments of $19.95 while supplies last.

  7. #7 |  ThinkAnarchy | 

    They hanged Sadam on live tv, yet showing post death videos is to violent for the children? I’m thinking they don’t want the skeptics to inspect the photos looking for evidence disproving their claims.

  8. #8 |  omar | 

    They hanged Sadam on live tv,

    I don’t think that’s true. Someone filmed the hanging with their cellphone and was leaked. The official tape ended before Saddam was hanged.

  9. #9 |  Gobias Industries | 

    Naked photos of women is the equivalent of rape? Ummm… Care to expand on that point? Or do you just wanna take a deep breath & calm down before posting next time?

  10. #10 |  Reginod | 

    The photos will come out.

    The administration just wants to be “made” to do it. First, the more they can get the right to speculate that bin laden is not dead, the worse the right looks when it turns out he is. Second, if they “have” to release them, it looks less like gloating than if they choose to release them. Third, if they release the photos next week they get the time between now and then with people focused on the photos (and the fact that Obama killed bin laden) and then they get another news cycle on the photos (reminding people that Obama killed bin Laden).

    Refusing to release the photos now and then doing so later is win/win/win for the administration.

  11. #11 |  ThinkAnarchy | 

    @omar

    You seem to be right. The videos I just pulled up end as they put the rope around his neck. I remember watching it as a kid with my father and I could have sworn they showed the entire process.

  12. #12 |  Tom Sullivan | 

    With the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; the killing of innocent civilians in both countries (call it collateral damage if you like); the no-fly zones, sanctions, and occupations of these same sovereign countries; and the unilateral action we took (again over sovereign territory) to get to UBL – and their worried about inciting violence with the release of a couple of pics? Really!? It’s either a really weak excuse not to release the pics or the leadership in this country has lost all sense of proportion.

  13. #13 |  SJE | 

    I am in two minds about this. The US first amendment part of me says it should be released. However, we must also consider that most countries have very restricted media, and would consider a release as entirely propaganda. Therefore, I would advocate release but in such a way to maximize dignity of the body. Certainly no pictures with soldiers doing V signs.

  14. #14 |  cackalacka | 

    Uh, many people, both inside and outside America and the Islam world view images of the dead, even pathetic excuses for human beings that deal in death and fear, as taboo. This value called many things: a conscience, being civilized, having a soul.

    I know that we’ve desensitized ourselves tremendously over the past generation, but what is the appeal of seeing this jerk’s corpse? What’s the motive?

    People who are unconvinced will remain unconvinced. People who are angry about it would just be more angry. People who grieved 9 1/2 years ago will still grieve, and the injuries that our previous administration (and the current one) allowed on our values will continue to fester.

    When you say: “So after killing the guy in a raid, they are concerned that releasing pictures might actually inflame tensions. Excuse the hell out of me, but compared to killing the guy, releasing the pictures seems pretty friggin’ trival from the moral perspective.”

    has it occurred to you that we live in a world that is dominated by images? A picture says a thousand words.

    What does a picture of a corpse say about us?

    What is your desire to see this picture say about you?

  15. #15 |  Tom Sullivan | 

    #14 cackalacka
    This isn’t about satisfying some morbid fascination we have with seeing the dead. This is about the right of the people in this country (who supposedly are the ones with the power) to hold to account the people we put in office. It’s about sending a message to those in DC that we demand accountability and have a right to know what they are doing in our name.
    Like it or not, people of other countries (hell, people in our own country) do not separate we the people from the gubmint – so what one does, the other is automatically associated with. Proof needs to be provided to we the people that the actions taken resulted in what we are being told they resulted in.

  16. #16 |  ThinkAnarchy | 

    @cackalacka

    A fascination with death is not a new thing. The Romans loved their blood sports and public executions were still common throughout the 19th century. Simply because our society is more civilized in certain aspects now does not mean there isn’t a natural fascination with death nor does it speak ill of those who are more fascinated.

    I remember when the faces of death site opened for business and everyone in my school was talking about it. I took a look and nearly lost my lunch after the second thing I clicked on. I don’t think people should be criticized for what they enjoy viewing. So long as their not the ones doing the killing, or throwing people in front of trains, I don’t see the any problems with it. I also don’t think it speaks ill of them.

    I’m not a person who enjoys viewing the dead, I do however look at pictures of dead people when the moment merits it. And with these pictures the moment certainly merits it.

    The U.S. has already inflamed tensions over there. Showing a picture will not make things any worse for our relations with the Middle East.

  17. #17 |  Matt | 

    “Uh, many people, both inside and outside America and the Islam world view images of the dead, even pathetic excuses for human beings that deal in death and fear, as taboo. This value called many things: a conscience, being civilized, having a soul.”

    Do you have evidence for that? I’d call it potentially distasteful, but not taboo in the way incest is taboo. And in some situations, such as after a crime, we would expect police and jurors to look at pictures of the dead to try to understand what happened. That’s what’s happening here, people want to understand what happened. But there’s no ordinary process where photos would be reviewed discretely by someone other than the executioner. All we have to go on is bare assertions of the US government and it’s no surprise lots of people don’t consider that enough.

  18. #18 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    What is your desire to see this picture say about you?

    I believe sausage eaters should tour the sausage factory.

  19. #19 |  John Jenkins | 

    And because people put a great deal of weight on images of the dead we are supposed to care…why?

    Irrational beliefs about the dead or images of the dead shouldn’t govern what we do with information.

    If we have pictures, they should be published, at the very least as additional evidence of the truth of the claim of his death.

    I guess what this says about me is I am utterly indifferent to bullshit and cliches [I believe it’s been scientifically shown that pictures are only worth 997 words].

  20. #20 |  Brian Despain | 

    No photos for you!
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110504/ap_on_re_us/us_bin_laden

    Actually two things made me feel very old on this thread. ThinkAnarchy’s comments about watching Saddam’s executiion, ” I remember watching it as a kid with my father and I could have sworn they showed the entire process.” And his comment about the “faces of death” web site. I remember Faces of Death as a badly done VHS tape.

  21. #21 |  Les | 

    cackalacka, for many of us, there’s no desire to see the picture, but rather a desire for an open government.

    If the government kills someone and takes pictures of it, the people, who are supposed to be represented by the government, should have access to those pictures. It’s as simple as that.

  22. #22 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Oops. Sorry for not including the by line. I added it at the bottom.

  23. #23 |  Brandon | 

    The government should release the pictures, and leave it up to individual media outlets whether to publish them or not. Some will, some might not. You can choose whether you want to see them or not. Isn’t it amazing how freedom is a good solution to almost every problem?

  24. #24 |  ThinkAnarchy | 

    @Brian Despain

    I may have gotten the name of the site wrong. I just went to that site and it’s for a video, apparently they still make them, just now their probably poorly done dvds. You get the kind of content the site hosted/hosts though. I get off topic so easily.

  25. #25 |  Our gentle protectors — Kayak2U Blog | 

    […] Krueger, guesting at Balko's place: In my humble opinion, if we don’t have the fortitude to see what they’ve done, then […]

  26. #26 |  Mattocracy | 

    @ #9

    You obviously don’t read the agitator very often. There are a fair amount of people elected to office and operating in the DoJ who are trying to rebrand pornography as violence against women.

  27. #27 |  MikeZ | 

    “If the government kills someone and takes pictures of it, the people, who are supposed to be represented by the government, should have access to those pictures. It’s as simple as that.”

    Out of curiosity is this the same way you feel regarding Nikki Catsouras? AKA Porsche Girl?

    I think the argument that we can’t handle the truth is bogus and agree. However under normal circumstances I think release of the photo may actually require some thought and not an automatic procedure.

    Here I agree with Dave its a wartime photo that should if we can’t stomach the photo we shouldn’t be killing people. But by that same argument it would also be helpful to show all american casualties for our two active wars so the Public wakes up and takes our ongoing wars a bit more seriously. That seems pretty disrespectful to their families though doesn’t it?

  28. #28 |  Dave Krueger | 

    In answer to the question of why someone would want to see the pictures…

    I abhor unnecessary government secrecy and strongly believe that the public has a right and an obligation to know what its government is doing in its name. These pictures should be made available for the same reasons that news pictures showing the combat death of our soldiers should be published (not to mention the caskets when their dead bodies are shipped back to the U.S.). I believe that all the pictures showing the torture and mistreatment of Abu Ghraib prisoners should have been released because Americans should not only know about it, they should be embarrassed by it. And I’m a strong believer that Wikileaks has done far more good than harm for so-called free countries and will hopefully continue to do so.

    A government “of the people, by the people, and for the people” can’t function when “the people” are ignorant of what that government is doing.

    We have a government that, despite the Constitution expressly forbidding it, thinks nothing of making it a crime to broadcast “bad words” on TV and radio in the name of protecting the listeners, so it’s certainly no wonder that the public rolls over when it comes to being protected from images that show the death and destruction doled out in the name of peace by our government.

    By the way, I have very little regard for anyone who tries to shame someone for their curiosity about death. It’s like shaming kids for wanting to see what people look like naked. If you are personally offended or disgusted by images of death, fine. But don’t impose your standards on the whole world and proclaim your superior morality. A free country doesn’t let the government regulate the distribution of knowledge and expression, nor does it grant the government a monopoly on what constitutes the truth.

    The rationale that the release of the pictures might incite further attacks is the same as saying we should not permit the printing of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad because it might piss off the radical Muslims who might then hurt us. It’s a poor excuse because it surrenders our First Amendment to those we claim to be our enemies. If we are so quick to sacrifice our freedoms, what the fuck are we supposed to be fighting for anyway?

  29. #29 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Naked photos of women is the equivalent of rape? Ummm… Care to expand on that point? Or do you just wanna take a deep breath & calm down before posting next time?

    That was a reference to Catherine MacKinnon and I’d say it’s a fairly close approximation of her theory that pornography constitutes sexual assault against women.

  30. #30 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #16 Boyd Durkin

    I believe sausage eaters should tour the sausage factory.

    Excellent. I should learn to be so concise. :)

  31. #31 |  Mario | 

    Why would I want to see the pictures? Because I still recall the pictures of innocent people leaping to their deaths from the World Trade Center.

    Seeing a picture of Bin Laden dead appeals to my sense of justice.

  32. #32 |  ktc2 | 

    So it looks like Obama caved to the “sensibilities” of the enemy again.

    More futile attempts to win the hearts and minds of the barbarian horde.

  33. #33 |  cackalacka | 

    @14 Think Anarchy

    “A fascination with death is not a new thing. The Romans loved their blood sports and public executions were still common throughout the 19th century.”

    Yes, and Emperor Nero made human candles out of Christians. You know that big river that floats between Canada and the US? It is named for the patron saint of humorists AND grill-chefs. How did he get this distinction? The pathology known as Roman values.

    Please understand that, while I have Italian heritage and immense pride in my ancestor’s many accomplishments, I find the argument that any civilized nation should specifically emulate Imperial Roman values, particularly in matters of death or treatment of our enemies, as absurd beyond ridicule

    @15 Matt-

    “Do you have evidence for that?”

    Tell you what, you try and dig up some photos of the recent earthquake tsunami photos. I’ve got a lot of beefs with many Japanese sensibilities, but the respect they have for the dead (including their privacy) is respectable. I would imagine that the average human being (irrespective of nationality) can relate to this value more than the ‘faces of death’ website.

    Substitute Host @25

    “A government “of the people, by the people, and for the people” can’t function when “the people” are ignorant of what that government is doing. ”

    “It’s a poor excuse because it surrenders our First Amendment to those we claim to be our enemies.”

    OK:

    1) In your reading of the 1st Amendment, how many cubits long does the pike have to be for the trophy-skull?

    2) These aren’t Matthew Brady photos from Antietam. This isn’t Life magazine printing 3 young GI’s corpses washed up on the beach. These aren’t photos from Dover AFB.

    These are images from our sworn enemy. One that we’ve already elevated to a mythological status. We can do things the way the Aztecs & Romans did it, or we can do things the way our grandparents did at Nuremberg.

    This animal did more to undo our values. But what the hell, let’s just don the loin-cloth and go one step lower.

    “By the way, I have very little regard for anyone who tries to shame someone for their curiosity about death.”

    See, now, that’s fascinating. I have very little regard for anyone who will wipe his humanity for some snuff shots, and uses limp constitution-ish arguments to cast my argument as a moral scold.

    There is right and wrong, and then there is prudent and imprudent. The administration’s choice is the former, on both counts.

  34. #34 |  Leonard | 

    +1 to #10 Reginod.

    The photos will out. But meanwhile, just like the stupid birther thing, the administration can milk this one for political advantage.

  35. #35 |  DarkEFang | 

    Let’s look at this from a game theory perspective. If he releases the photos, the worst-case scenario is: widespread anti-American demonstrations in the Islamic world; criticism from those who think the photos are too violent for public viewing; armchair forensic pathology making dubious claims about the circumstances around bin-Laden’s death; and claims by political opponents that the photos are faked. What’s the best-case scenario?

  36. #36 |  Robin | 

    Totally. It’s really quite enraging. Just release them. Put them up on a government website. It’s such a pointless drummed up controversy, and as we speak it’s generating a range of new conspiracy theories, theories that adherents will be loyal to for the rest of their damn lives. It’s just this kind of bureaucratic arbitrariness that makes everyone paranoid. Or perhaps Obama is actually holding them back until some prominent delusional republican starts accusing him of fabricating the whole thing, and then he’ll say “fine! Here they are! You happy?” See! Here I go. Paranoid.

  37. #37 |  ThinkAnarchy | 

    @ cackalacka

    “Please understand that, while I have Italian heritage and immense pride in my ancestor’s many accomplishments, I find the argument that any civilized nation should specifically emulate Imperial Roman values, particularly in matters of death or treatment of our enemies, as absurd beyond ridicule”

    When you don’t have an argument, twist the others to mean something that wasn’t written. Good tactic. Where did I say we “should” emulate Roman values? I was merely pointing out we are no more desensitized to violence now, than nearly any other point in human history.

  38. #38 |  cackalacka | 

    ThinkAnarchy

    You allude to ancient ethos, and the faces of death website, and feel that now is an appropriate time to rubberneck a corpse.

    That’s just peachy. But hey, don’t walk it back when you get called on it.

    Incidentally, you are right. A fascination with death is not a new thing. Our surrogate host’s flaccid assertions otherwise, how we treat the dead speaks volumes of what kind of people we are.

  39. #39 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #37 cackalacka

    Our surrogate host’s flaccid assertions otherwise, how we treat the dead speaks volumes of what kind of people we are.

    Our willingness to face reality in all its horror especially when we have a hand in its causation “speaks volumes of what kind of people we are.”

    And, our willingness to permit others to confront that reality without deciding for them what is permissible for them to see “speaks volumes of what kind of people we are.”

  40. #40 |  ClubMedSux | 

    Our surrogate host’s flaccid assertions otherwise, how we treat the dead speaks volumes of what kind of people we are.

    Why? I would argue that how we treat the LIVING speaks infinitely louder than how we treat the dead. I only show respect to the dead to the extent that I wish to comfort (or, at the very least, not upset) their loved ones. But as for the dead themselves, well, THEY’RE DEAD. It doesn’t matter what you say or do; it will have zero impact on them because THEY’RE DEAD.

  41. #41 |  ThinkAnarchy | 

    I don’t feel individuals should be judged based upon their view of death. Simple as that. My points were perfectly valid in response to your post about our society being desensitized and your insulting tone to people who have a different set of morals than yourself.

    If you had actually called me out on something I’d said, you would be correct. You didn’t do that however, instead you twisted my words to mean something that was not written and was not even eluded to.

    You are entitled to your morals, but good and evil/right and wrong is not objective as you seem to believe.

    Yes, sites like that are out there and I don’t feel you are qualified to judge the patrons of those sites as morally inferior to you.

  42. #42 |  gDavid | 

    I would like to have the pictures of that Muslim SOB so that I could look at it will I viewed the FITNA video and know that whether in Heavan or Hell, the people who died because of that bastard will someway have clousure. Our leader is a typical Dem pussy coward bully bullshit artist.

  43. #43 |  John Jenkins | 

    This just in: corpses are inanimate objects. How we treat them says as much about us as how we treat a couch, except that most couches aren’t also biohazards.

    Isn’t it just a TINY bit absurd that it appears to be less of a problem to have killed this man than it would be to release pictures of the corpse he left behind?

    Pictures like this should be on the front page of every paper, every day, as long as we are still fighting a war. The cost to both sides should be abundantly clear. Once you’ve taken the decision that people deserve to die, and that you’re willing to risk the lives of others to make that happen, you shouldn’t get to go hide in a corner while they die and pretend that death isn’t terrible. If we can’t handle it, then we shouldn’t be fighting a damn war in the first place.

  44. #44 |  lunchstealer | 

    I’m not opposed to making them available for review, but broadcasting them or making them front-page news seems a bit over the top.

    As for the idea that I should ‘have the fortitude to see what [the SEALs] have done’ I’m not so sure that my fortitude to view the aftermath should have any bearing on the calculus of whether a military operation to take him out should be authorized. The guy was responsible for between 3100* and 200,000+ needless deaths, depending upon how much US reaction you want to lay at his feet. I should think that HIS actions and any possible future actions are the biggest determiner of the necessity of an attack aimed at killing him (or capturing him, but there’s at least cause for skepticism that Obama actually wanted to have to deal with a live bin Laden).

    A more important question should be, should we be shielded from photos of Abu Ghraib or Iraqi civilians who were killed by our troops? Those seem like the photos we should have the fortitude to see, if we’re going to engage in elective war.

    *Don’t forget that he had a hand in Madrid, Dar es Salaam, Nairobi, Khobar Towers (although this one was more of a support role than a command role), and the USS Cole.

  45. #45 |  Reginod | 

    Dave at #28,

    The 80’s called and they’d like their boogeyman back.

    You are arguing against a distortion of an argument that is nearly 30 years old and citing it in support of why things in America are bad now.

    MacKinnon did not argue “that pornography constitutes sexual assault against women.” She argued (wrongly) that it caused rape and sexual assault, she argued (rightly) that some of it depicts rape and sexual assault, and she argued (I think wrongly) that it constituted a violation of the civil rights of women. She thought porn was hate speech and incitement to violence (and that censoring hate speech was ok) but she did not think it was violence. MacKinnon is wrong enough on her own, there is no need to create a strawman to argue with.

  46. #46 |  MPH | 

    “The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It’s like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can’t have steak..”
    — Robert Heinlein

  47. #47 |  digamma | 

    Yeah, it’s a pretty big jump to go from one person stating an opinion in the 1980s to “in a world where”.

  48. #48 |  cackalacka | 

    I guess we’re just going to have to agree to disagree on whether corpses are furniture, what Madison’s intents were vis a vis government-possessed war-pr0n, and the virtues of pragmatism in a geopolitical/shrinking/angry world.

    Censorship: that word does not mean what you think it means.

  49. #49 |  Dave Krueger | 

    The White House says it will not release the photos. That should come as no surprise given how notable this administration has become with regard to releasing any information.

    “We don’t trot this stuff out as trophies,” the president told CBS, according to a transcript read at a White House briefing Wednesday.

    As for what our morbid fascination with death says about us, I find it interesting that the picture they did trot out shows the White House staff watching the play by play as bin Laden was actually killed.

    Of course, CNN (TV version) mentioned that Obama didn’t watch the actual killing of bin Laden (probably like President Clinton didn’t inhale…).

  50. #50 |  Salt | 

    Yea, the OBL photos might inflame tensions – There is no way those Afghan kill team photos would have inflamed anyone. I am also quite confident that killing hundreds of thousands of Muslims, displacing millions, and obliterating multiple infrastructures would ever generate any resentment.

  51. #51 |  boomshanka | 

    Don’t you people think that *maybe* we need to let everyone calm down a bit and consider the consequences before they release the photo? A lot of people all over the world are extremely emotional about bin Laden’s death, whether elated or angry, and we don’t need people making rash decisions at a pivotal moment in the fight against al qaeda and in the wars in Afghanistan and now Pakistan.

    I’m hoping that his death provides the closure to diffuse tensions and deescalate the war in Afghanistan, and I think it’s in the country’s best interest to wait until people (including our enemies) are thinking a little more clearly. Would libertarians really rather this event become a flashpoint that leads to more violence and more war?

    I’m all for exposing government secrets, and believe they should release the photo at some point in the not-so-distant future, but let’s take a fucking breath and think of the real world consequences, rather than rigid adherence to your ideology.

  52. #52 |  boomshanka | 

    Dave, I agree that so far the administration has done a horrible job attempting to use bin Laden’s death for propaganda purposes, but it makes me believe that they need to STFU before they blow this thing.

  53. #53 |  xysmith | 

    We should be able to ask for, and receive, the photos for the reason that the government demands proof of death of us. You cannot just bury your deceased family member in the back yard. You have to report it to the authorities, a death certificate will be issued, they may investigate the circumstances, etc. As near as possible we have the right to have the same level of information about actions taken by the people who we have chosen to represent and act for us.

    In a similar vein, I think that all elected officials should be finger printed, DNA sampled, photographed, weighed, etc. Also anyone in a position serving more than twenty-thousand people (mayors of large cities, all federal positions) should undergo medical screening, regular and random drug tests, psychological tests, cognitive ability exams and the like. Every one of them should have to present a birth certificate and any other documentation necessary to provide proof of eligibility.

  54. #54 |  MikeZ | 

    “This just in: corpses are inanimate objects. How we treat them says as much about us as how we treat a couch, except that most couches aren’t also biohazards … Pictures like this should be on the front page of every paper, every day, as long as we are still fighting a war. The cost to both sides should be abundantly clear.”

    Personally I agree, but I’d say that 90% of the rest of the world isn’t that logical. Please go ask a parent of someone who died for our country whether they think it would be a good idea to place a raw photo of their corpse in every newspaper. I’m not sure they’d buy the couch theory. I certainly agree it would be a great reminder to the rest of us of the price we are paying for these wars, but I’m inclined to abide by the families wishes after all their son just died for us. (On the other hand we should be showing closed casket photos of EVERY single soldier and for the small number of casualties we have sustained I think an obituary of every soldier in the paper/news should be there as well.

  55. #55 |  André | 

    I can’t think of a coherent position that would have favoured releasing the Abu Ghraib pictures but is opposed to a photo of UBL’s corpse being released.

    (Partisanship doesn’t count.)

  56. #56 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #52 xysmith

    In a similar vein, I think that all elected officials should be finger printed, DNA sampled, photographed, weighed, etc. Also anyone in a position serving more than twenty-thousand people (mayors of large cities, all federal positions) should undergo medical screening, regular and random drug tests, psychological tests, cognitive ability exams and the like.

    Well, hell the cognitive ability exams alone would almost certainly force an immediate turnover of at least 95% of elected offices.

  57. #57 |  boomshanka | 

    @54 Andre

    One event exposed ongoing abuse and war crimes against POW’s in our custody, in the attempt to end them. Our interest in releasing Abu Ghraib photos outweighed the possible negative consequences. The other event involves Osama fucking bin Laden. Emotions are magnified 1000 fold, and we should exercise greater caution.

  58. #58 |  mme6546 | 

    I lurk, and was undecided/leaning toward cackalacka’s POV, but this bears repeating:

    John Jenkins-
    Pictures like this should be on the front page of every paper, every day, as long as we are still fighting a war. The cost to both sides should be abundantly clear. Once you’ve taken the decision that people deserve to die, and that you’re willing to risk the lives of others to make that happen, you shouldn’t get to go hide in a corner while they die and pretend that death isn’t terrible. If we can’t handle it, then we shouldn’t be fighting a damn war in the first place.

    this, to me, is truth.

  59. #59 |  Alex | 

    “I know that we’ve desensitized ourselves tremendously over the past generation”
    It wasn’t that many generations ago that doctors advised mothers not to get to close to their children, because they were likely going to die. We are NOT anything like the most desensitized generation.

  60. #60 |  JS | 

    Dave Kreuger “And, our willingness to permit others to confront that reality without deciding for them what is permissible for them to see “speaks volumes of what kind of people we are”

    I think this kind of government paternalism is the bigger issue. The “Oh we don’t want to inflame hatred” thing is obviously ridiculous. Especially after we just killed Gaddafi’s son and grandchildren.

  61. #61 |  Stick | 

    “White House mulls the release of bin Laden photos”
    Maybe they need time to clean out the basement where they filmed the moon landings to make a mock up of Bin Ladens home for the photo shoot.
    (I’m trying to be funny)

  62. #62 |  André | 

    mme6546:

    The closest example I can think of: The cover of Time a couple of months back was an Afghan girl who had her nose cut off (ears too, but you can’t see), and the title is “What Happens if we Leave Afghanistan”.

    http://img.timeinc.net/time/daily/2010/1007/time_cover_0809.jpg

    It’s not quite the same. Actually, it’s a news organization using “shocking” imagery to drum up support for an unpopular war. And technically speaking, the girl’s nose was also cut off while the U.S. was occupying and nation-building in Afghanistan.

  63. #63 |  Strange | 

    “So after killing the guy in a raid, they are concerned that releasing pictures might actually inflame tensions. Excuse the hell out of me, but compared to killing the guy, releasing the pictures seems pretty friggin’ trival from the moral perspective.”

    The aftermath from image releases in Fallujah (hung contractors) and Abu Ghraib should inform.

  64. #64 |  Marcus | 

    @MPH

    You posted:
    ““The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It’s like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can’t have steak..”
    – Robert Heinlein”

    Cute quote, but has nothing to do with what is going on. The government is not stopping some outside content provider from providing content.

  65. #65 |  Marcus | 

    I get the sense from some of these comments that the posters would be upset no matter what the President/Government decided to do in this situation.

    I personally do not care to see the photos, but am a bit ambivalent about whether they are released or not. As some one previously pointed out, the worst they could do is cause terrorist groups to try more attacks, best they could do?

    As far as “proof” goes. If you believe that the Pres would get on TV and say, we got Bin Laden to the world if it was not true, you need to reevaluate your “thought” process. Again, look at the upside and downside, and how easy it would be to prove that he was lying.

    Imagine what would happen if:

    OBL released a tape with him holding a newspaper declaring his death?
    The military/Navy/Seals came out and said there was no raid/kill?
    Someone from the Presidents cabinet stating it was all fabricated?

    The risk of any of those happening would have to be 0 for the Pres to announce his death.

    This comes down to “I do not like the Pres therefore whatever he does is wrong.”.

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