To Release Photos or Not

May 08 2011

To Release Photos or Not

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President Obama has decided not to release any images of Osama Bin Laden with a gaping wound from a bullet to the head.  While many people have questioned this decision, it seems to have a lot of support.  Obama was quoted saying that, “It’s 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 or as a propaganda tool,” in an interview with 60 min.  Personally I agree with the President. These images could easily be spread around and turn bin Laden into a martyr.  They, like Obama said, could entice violence and revenge against the American people.  Plus, all of Al Qaeda knows that he is dead, and that is what is most important, because that will be where the biggest blow to morale is.  If any important leaders have questions about the authenticity of Osama’s death, I’m sure that Obama would be more than willing to show him the photo, but he just does not want it to be released to the general public.  Some people are saying that releasing photos will convince skeptics that Osama bin Laden is really dead, but, as Obama said, the pictures are not going to convince conspiracy theorists, it will just fuel their fire by saying that the pictures are photoshopped or something along those lines.

While there will not be any photos of Osama’s corpse released, President Obama has decided to release some of the home movies that have been recovered from the compound. These movies show Osama when he is at his most vulnerable. Osama bin Laden was extremely conscious of his media image.  One of the most interesting videos shows him wearing a wool cap with a blanket wrapped around him and rocking slightly back and forth, while watching various videos of himself.  Many people are interested in why a man who was so careful about his media image would have a video of himself in such a vulnerable state, his beard hadn’t even been dyed black, like it had in all of the other videos, it was very grey.  Some of the other videos released seem to be test shots for media broadcasts, and one that was to be addressed to the American people seems to be as recent as this fall.

The sound has been turned off in all of the videos, Obama does not want the propaganda messages of terrorists to be broadcast.  But we can still see the vulnerable side of the once terrorist leader, who now seems so much less of a threat when we see him rocking back in forth, old and frail, with a blanket wrapped around his shoulders.

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