he White House has DNA evidence and photographs proving that al Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden is dead, and is weighing whether to release them, along with video of bin Laden's burial at sea. Senior lawmakers want photos of bin Laden's corpse released to silence skeptics in the Arab world — not to mention "deather" conspiracy theorists in the U.S. But bin Laden was reportedly shot in the forehead, and blood and brains are visible in the "gruesome" photos. Should President Obama release them anyway?
Nip the conspiracy theories in the bud, now: As Obama should have learned with the "birther" flap, it doesn't take much fuel to fan false fires, says Damian Thompson in The Telegraph. And "at the moment the White House is making this ridiculously easy" for conspiracy theorists on all sides. Bin Laden's death is too important for us to let the deniers gain any traction.
"No body. Now for an explosion of conspiracy theories"
The photo could rally bin Laden fans: Yes, there is precedent for releasing bin Laden's death photos, says Bob Orr at CBS News. The Bush administration released photos of Saddam Hussein's dead sons, as well as al Qaeda's Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. "But, bin Laden's case is touchier." The image "would become instant fodder for radical Jihadist websites and undoubtedly a recruiting tool." The U.S. killed him; it doesn't want to add to his legend.
"Picture of dead Osama bin Laden could embolden radicals"
After 10 years, we deserve a last look: "Most of us are willing to accept the president's confirmation" of bin Laden's long-awaited death, says Mark Pasetsky at Forbes. But Obama should release the photo anyway, no matter how gruesome it is. "The most important thing is to ensure the nation moves forward and experiences closure on this horrific tragedy," and "a photo of bin Laden dead will do just that."
"Osama bin Laden death photo: Why it must be released!"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- If a nuclear bomb exploded in downtown Washington, what should you do?
- 31 TV shows to watch in 2014
- There's a number of reasons the grammar of this headline could infuriate you
- How to be more satisfied with your life, according to science
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- He said he was leaving. She ignored him.
- 7 ways to quickly become a master at anything
- The Warren Buffett formula: How you can get smarter
- The contentious policy at the heart of Cliven Bundy's armed standoff with the government
- How any actor (even a really nice one) can play a truly evil villain like King Joffrey
Subscribe to the Week