Wednesday, May 4, 2011

To Release or Not To Release, That is the Question

In the wake of Osama bin Laden's death, a debate has emerged regarding whether the United States should release the photos of bin Laden.  After several days of deliberation, President Obama has decided not to release the photos of bin Laden's corpse to the public.  When speaking with CBS's 60 Minutes, he provided the following explanation:

"I think that given the graphic nature of these photos, it would create some national security risk.  It is important for us to make sure that very graphic photos of somebody who was shot in the head are not floating around as an incitement to additional violence. As a propaganda tool.  There's no doubt that Bin Laden is dead.  And so we don't think that a photograph in and of itself is going to make any difference. There are going be some folks who deny it. The fact of the matter is, you will not see bin Laden walking on this earth again."

Personally, I'm conflicted on this issue and could really see it going either way, so I came up with a list of reasons on why the photos should be released and the corresponding reasons why they shouldn't be released.  My list after the jump:

  Reasons To Release the Photos    Reasons to NOT Release the Photos 
It will show the Muslim world that 
Osama bin Laden is dead.
It will inflame the Muslim world 
and make life harder for the troops.
It will prove once and for all
that bin Laden is dead.
DNA evidence, facial recognition
software, and the U.S. Navy SEAL
team confirm bin Laden's death
more conclusively than a photograph.
It will give closure to many
Americans who wish to see bin
Laden's corpse for themselves.
The need to see the photos with our
own eyes is more of a selfish need
than a need for closure.
The entire point of going in with a
SEAL team as opposed to an air
strike was to obtain proof of bin
Laden's body.
The entire point of going in with a 
SEAL team as opposed to an air strike 
was to confirm bin Laden's death.
Al Qaeda could force us to release
them anyway by releasing another bin
Laden video which claims that he is
Any bin Laden video released
in the future will be unable to
provide authentication with respect
to its date.
We are desensitized to gory images. The photos will be too gory.
If we don't show the photos,
certain people will continue to
believe the conspiracy that bin
Laden is still alive.
By virtue of the Birther issue,
we have seen first hand that people
predisposed to believe a conspiracy
will continue to believe it no matter
what you show them.
In the interest of good faith
towards the Muslim world, it will
show that we gave proper burial
rights to bin Laden.
Only the video of the burial -
and not the head shot - is necessary
to show that proper burial rights were given.

Should the White House release the photos of Osama bin Laden's dead body?
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