President Barack Hussein Obama announced late Sunday night that U.S. Navy Seals (USNS) killed Osama bin Laden (ObL).
The White House (WH) announced that there was video and photos of ObL.
WH officials promised on Tuesday that they will release some of the pictures of a dead ObL shortly.
President Obama announced on Wednesday that he will prevent the release of any photos or videos.
There are reasons not to release the photos.
1. Barack said “We don’t need to spike the football. That’s not who we are. We don’t trot out this stuff as trophies.” 1
2. Releasing photos and videos might incite a national security risk. 1
There are reasons to release the photos.
1. If the USNSs killed ObL, and there’s no evidence, yet, that they didn’t, they acted as representatives of the entire U.S. population. All Americans should have the option of seeing or not seeing what their representatives did in their name.
2. The many attacks on U.S. weren’t just on people serving in Yemen or Kabul; living in New York or Pennsylvania or Washington, DC; or flying on airplanes. The many attacks were directed against each and every American, regardless of race, creed, or political affiliation. As such, each of us deserves to see our self-declared enemy in the least regal pose possible.
3. (A famous commentary, Rashi, explains in the book of Exodus (14:30) that “god” made the Reed Sea deposit the dead Egyptian pursuers onto the shore so surviving Jews could see that their tormentors were really dead and didn’t just escape to a different shore.) Regardless of whether the photos and videos can be faked, and I’m sure they can be, it’s important for us, the survivors of ObL’s attacks, to see that he is, in fact, dead.
4. Transparency. Senator Obama promised that, if elected, his administration would be transparent.
Senator Obama should have released his birth certificate as soon as Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton raised it as an issue in 2008. President Obama should have released his long form birth certificate when, after he won the election, people questioned the veracity of his certificate of live birth.
The President serves the people. He should be transparent.
I disagree that releasing the photo is only a trophy or a celebratory act. If releasing the photos will really incite violence, which I doubt*, than allow every adult American the option to view it in a secure location, but do not release it to the media or to non-Americans.
*Why would releasing a photo incite violence? Would it incite violence because it would “show” a bloody ObL or “prove” that ObL died? I imagine that most al-Queda members won’t believe the photo. They wouldn’t be incited by a fake photo. There is already a doctored photo of a bloodied and dead ObL on the internet, it hasn’t incited violence.
1 – Daily News, Thursday May 5, 2011, page 4
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