Obama: No, we’re not going to release the Bin Laden death photos; Update: Reuters releases photos of dead OBL couriers

posted at 4:56 pm on May 4, 2011 by Allahpundit

I think this is the right call, actually, but not for the usual reasons.

Besides, O surely realizes that they’ll leak sooner rather than later.

In an interview with Steve Kroft for this Sunday’s “60 Minutes,” President Obama says he won’t release post-mortem images of Osama bin Laden taken to prove his death…

Republican House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers said Wednesday that the Obama administration should not release the gruesome post-mortem images, saying it could complicate the job for American troops overseas. Rogers told CBS News he has seen a post-mortem photo…

“Imagine how the American people would react if Al Qaeda killed one of our troops or military leaders, and put photos of the body on the internet,” Rogers continued. “Osama bin Laden is not a trophy – he is dead and let’s now focus on continuing the fight until Al Qaida has been eliminated.”

I can think of four arguments for releasing the photos. One: It’ll prove that he’s dead. Except, of course, that it won’t. Conspiracy cranks will screech about the pic being doctored or the victim being an impostor (“those aren’t his eyebrows!”) within five minutes of it being posted. There’s no such thing as “proof” anymore; the Internet age is proof-proof. If anything, the more evidence you provide, the more pretexts you create for kooks to pose moronic challenges to it. If the White House wants to reassure people that the photos exist, they can show them to Republican leaders, to members of the press, and maybe to 9/11 families for their satisfaction. (Scott Brown apparently has already seen them.)

Two: It’ll warn the jihadis of the world of what awaits if they mess with America. Didn’t the Zarqawi death photos already warn them of that, though? How about killing scores of Al Qaeda commanders with drone strikes in Pakistan and elsewhere? The fact that Bin Laden and Zawahiri were in hiding for 10 years is pretty solid evidence that they know what happens when you mess with Uncle Sam.

Three: Turnabout is fair play. If we had to endure photos of U.S. troops doing wrong at Abu Ghraib, let’s celebrate the photos of U.S. troops doing right by taking down a monster. I think that’s a better argument for why the Abu Ghraib photos shouldn’t have been released, though, than for why the Bin Laden photos should be. And in fact, Obama agrees: Remember when he broke his promise to the left to release photos of detainee abuse and filed suit to keep them suppressed in the name of national security? Also, Abu Ghraib was a case of exposing government malfeasance, which the public has a right to know about. They may not have a right to the photos, given the propaganda value of those photos to the enemy, but it’s not an apples and apples comparison with a national high-five like killing Bin Laden.

Four: It’s a trophy. People want to see dead Osama’s face because they want to revel in it. They’d put it on t-shirts and coffee mugs even though, according to one of CBS’s sources, it’s beyond gruesome (the “bullet opened his skull, exposing the brain, and it also blew out his eye”). After watching Americans forced to choose between burning alive or jumping to their deaths on 9/11, the thinking goes, we deserve to plaster images of Bin Laden’s cortex on billboards. Fair enough, but I have to say, just knowing how the raid went down and that his skull ended up being popped like a balloon is already … deeply satisfying. I keep thinking of him in his bedroom, listening to the SEALs banging around downstairs and hyperventilating at the thought of what would happen when they opened the door. I don’t need an extra scoop of sugar on that hot fudge sundae. It’s already tastier than I could have hoped for.

So those are the arguments in favor. The obvious argument against releasing the photo, per Bob Gates and Hillary, is that it’ll “inflame anti-American sentiment” and put troops in the field at greater risk. Didn’t we already cross that bridge, though, by … killing Osama Bin Laden? And haven’t we heard that same argument used before by our political leaders to pressure people like Terry Jones on free speech? The argument the administration could/should have made is that sometimes we have to accept a greater operational risk in the interest of protecting core values like the First Amendment — and that this isn’t one of those times, since there’s really no core value that would be served by releasing a “suck it, jihadis” Bin Laden death photo. It would feel great, but as I said above, it already feels great. And the “suck it” message has, I take it, already been received by all the important people via the fact that Osama now literally sleeps with the fishes.

The reason I think this is a good call is that I like the idea of Bin Laden being reduced to an afterthought, even in death. He had already reduced himself to that status after 10 years of hiding like a rat and churning out the occasional audio message that no one paid much attention to. Then, on Sunday, in the span of 12 hours, he went from quietly doing whatever he was still doing for Al Qaeda to quietly having a chunk of his head blown off to quietly being kicked off the deck of a U.S. carrier into the sea. Just like that, gone from the face of the Earth; I’ll bet the carrier crew didn’t even hear the splash. That’s a sweet ending for a messianic fanatic. Release the photo and you undo some of that, though, by treating him like a big enough deal that the world should gawk at his fate. Why give his followers that satisfaction? He wasn’t a big deal. He was to us because we had unfinished business with him, but nearly everyone else — possibly even Al Qaeda — had moved on. And now we get to move on too. Next.

Update: Ah, looks like Scott Brown only saw one of the fake photos circulating online. I’m sure the GOP leadership can view the real thing if it asks Obama to make them available. Although Boehner says he doesn’t need to:

“That’s a decision for the administration to make,” Boehner said when asked if it was necessary to release any of the bin Laden photos, which U.S. officials have described as carrying the gory imprint of a gunshot wound to the head. “They have to decide what to do. I’m convinced. I have no doubts.”

Update: A Pakistani security official showed up at the compound shortly after the raid ended and snapped a few pics, which he then sold to Reuters. If you want to see what happens to jihadis when they come face to face with SEALs, brace yourself and click here.


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SukieTawdry on May 4, 2011 at 8:04 PM

It’s especially hypocritical of him to say it’s “spiking the football” since he’s going to use this as a political football from now until Nov. 2012.

jawkneemusic on May 4, 2011 at 8:09 PM

jawkneemusic on May 4, 2011 at 8:09 PM

you got that right…

cmsinaz on May 4, 2011 at 8:11 PM

Anybody know what kind of helicopter that was in that Reuters pic..?

d1carter on May 4, 2011 at 7:31 PM

They are supposedly Black Hawks, UH-60s.

But judging by the shrouds on the tail rotor, I’d say they were highly modified for stealth. That’s definitely not a standard UH-60 tail rotor.

Probably the worst thing about this op is that the tail of that Blackhawk didn’t get burned up. Now everyone can see how we stealth out a helicopter.

ZenDraken on May 4, 2011 at 8:30 PM

Probably the worst thing about this op is that the tail of that Blackhawk didn’t get burned up. Now everyone can see how we stealth out a helicopter.

ZenDraken on May 4, 2011 at 8:30 PM

Yep. Right now the Chinese and Russians are on the phone with the Paks offering them whatever it takes to get that wreckage.

slickwillie2001 on May 4, 2011 at 8:33 PM

Anybody know what kind of helicopter that was in that Reuters pic..?

d1carter on May 4, 2011 at 7:31 PM

I believe they were CH-53s. That tail rotor looks too big for a Blackhawk.

BobMbx on May 4, 2011 at 8:37 PM

As soon as they are done interrogating him, Obama will be shot in the eye and before the body is destroyed pics will be taken and released thus proving all the conspiracy theorists wrong when this issue doesn’t go away.

Socmodfiscon on May 4, 2011 at 8:38 PM

I believe they were CH-53s. That tail rotor looks too big for a Blackhawk.

BobMbx on May 4, 2011 at 8:37 PM

CH-53s have the rotor on the other side of the tail, and only one horizontal stabilizer at the top of the tail fin. Blackhawks have two horizontal stabilizers down low. See Wikipedia pics for examples.

ZenDraken on May 4, 2011 at 8:51 PM

Socmodfiscon on May 4, 2011 at 8:38 PM

I really think you meant to type “Osama”. I hope that’s what you meant.

ZenDraken on May 4, 2011 at 8:53 PM

CH-53s have the rotor on the other side of the tail, and only one horizontal stabilizer at the top of the tail fin. Blackhawks have two horizontal stabilizers down low. See Wikipedia pics for examples.

ZenDraken on May 4, 2011 at 8:51 PM

I believe you’re correct. But, how do you fit 40 rockin’ and loaded SEALs and a stiff in one Blackhawk?

The story is 2 helos and ~40 guys. Unless, the one that still there was flying cover and/or the command aircraft, and the other was a transport (53 or 47).

God help the WH if they were foriegn helos.

BobMbx on May 4, 2011 at 8:59 PM

I’m simply saying that I think they’re better off not releasing it.

Allahpundit on May 4, 2011 at 5:47 PM

I think that this episode is just the latest example of political correctness run amok…to the point where it endangers national security.

Now the world gets to see our sniveling ‘leader’ hide the pictures of OBL…because he is afraid that someonesomewhere in the world…might be offended.

This sorry episode just shows the world that America is weak, and graphically demonstrates how our ‘leader’ can be ‘had.’ Our enemies know they can do anything they like…as long as they arrange a concurrent ‘political correctness’ dilemma to paralyze Obama.

landlines on May 4, 2011 at 9:03 PM

It’s prior restraint and I vehemently disagree. I will decide whether or not I want to look at them. He shouldn’t get to decide that for me.

JAM on May 4, 2011 at 9:03 PM

I don’t care about it myself, I believe OBL is dead. But on top of the paternalistic attitude toward us citizens seeing the picture, I think the attitude toward Muslims is racist.

It’s like the Pastor Jones/Koran burning thing: Muslims just don’t have the self-control to handle stuff other people do.

Just who is likely to get violently PO’ed who isn’t already?

jodetoad on May 4, 2011 at 9:08 PM

“Imagine how the American people would react if Al Qaeda killed one of our troops or military leaders, and put photos of the body on the internet,” Rogers continued. ”

Umm, they have done that. They’ve released public movies of them sawing the heads off of people.

We should show the picture and should have shown Osama wrapped in pig skin being dumped into the ocean along with the words of warning that in any terrorist attack or other attack by jihadis, we will sweep up whatever jihadi bits are left, wrap them in bacon, and bury them face down (where they will have gone anyway). Same for any KIA’s in retaliation for a terrorist attack.

Make the message perfectly clear, we don’t respect your death cult, but we understand it. We know you wish us dead regardless of whatever we do to appease you, short of converting to your death cult. We know that showing “respect” for your fallen or your religion is viewed only as the infidel doing his duty to your death cult, an act of cultural jizzya if you will. No more. You attack us, we treat you like and with swine. You might not like us, you might wish us dead — wish all you want; you step into the civilized world and do something uncivilized, you get a pigskin casket.

AZfederalist on May 4, 2011 at 9:14 PM

I believe you’re correct. But, how do you fit 40 rockin’ and loaded SEALs and a stiff in one Blackhawk?

BobMbx on May 4, 2011 at 8:59 PM

Perhaps the stealth Blackhawk just carried in the initial team, and they had 53s come in afterwards since the initial surprise was already achieved. Or they actually had four Blackhawks, plus a spare or two?

Just speculating. But it’s fun to speculate about military ops!

ZenDraken on May 4, 2011 at 9:17 PM

The real reason the pictures won’t be released is simple:

The Jihadi-in-Chief doesn’t want Islam to be embarrassed in front of the world as they “freak out” and do violent things, mostly to each other. See “Denmark, Allah Cartoons“.

So the solution is simple also. Make it a federal law that any publication of the dead Bin Laden photo must be accompanied by a like-sized photo of Daniel Pearl without his head.

That way, everyone can freak out equally. If they so choose.

Any bets on which religion of peace would get on TV first?

BobMbx on May 4, 2011 at 9:21 PM

Just speculating. But it’s fun to speculate about military ops!

ZenDraken on May 4, 2011 at 9:17 PM

The helos were a diversion. The real transportation system involved the words “41 to beam up”.

BobMbx on May 4, 2011 at 9:23 PM

Ann Coulter just made a great point on Hannity: the only thing jihadis really understand is power and strength. A close family member who did two tours in Iraq said the same thing: they expect you to kick them in the face, and if you don’t, they’ll kick you in yours. Showing the picture — Osama. Dead. — will send them a message they understand.

Rational Thought on May 4, 2011 at 9:24 PM

I want to see it because I want to see that SOB dead….

I don’t care if Muslims will want to kill me even worse because the photos are published. Once they kil me, they can’t kill me a second time. They already want everyone who is not the same type of Muslim as them dead, so there is no point in trying to make them happy.

jeffn21 on May 4, 2011 at 9:31 PM

They should have photographed Osama in a casket with an American flag draped over it, then Obama would be ok with its release. :(

There is NO valid excuse for not releasing this photo. None. Just another example of the muslim in chief having more concern for the feelings of the enemy than for Americans here at home who have been waiting for this moment for 10 years.

xblade on May 4, 2011 at 9:48 PM

Socmodfiscon on May 4, 2011 at 8:38 PM

I really think you meant to type “Osama”. I hope that’s what you meant.

ZenDraken on May 4, 2011 at 8:53 PM

LOL

Damn Obama/Osama ramalamadindong this is confusing and annoying.

I’ve had to correct myself before posting a few times, too.

Luckily I caught it, but it’s easy to slip.

profitsbeard on May 4, 2011 at 10:53 PM

I think this is the right call, actually, but not for the usual reasons.

Yep.

Then, on Sunday, in the span of 12 hours, he went from quietly doing whatever he was still doing for Al Qaeda to quietly having a chunk of his head blown off to quietly being kicked off the deck of a U.S. carrier into the sea. Just like that, gone from the face of the Earth; I’ll bet the carrier crew didn’t even hear the splash. That’s a sweet ending for a messianic fanatic.

One minute alive and kicking, the next taking the dirt sea nap.

The best part is he watched it live.

rukiddingme on May 4, 2011 at 11:31 PM

Here’s my rule: If you’ve been groped by the TSA you get to see the photos.

MikeknaJ on May 5, 2011 at 12:14 AM

ZOMIGOD, Carl Rove told Greta tonite that he AGREED with Sarah Palin in why we should release the bin laden death photos!!!!!!!!!!

First thing he has ever said about her that was positive.

karenhasfreedom on May 5, 2011 at 2:11 AM

Rational Thought on May 4, 2011 at 9:24 PM

Yep. But people who haven’t lived for years in that part of the world think they can lecture those of us who have about what it’s like over there and not get set straight.

Christien on May 5, 2011 at 3:05 AM

Allahpundit, all I want is the long form death certificate. If I have to hold my nose and poke at Trump to get it, I shall.

I want positive closure on this. As it is the Bumbler Of The US, the BOTUS, is working overtime to make it look like we did not really nab Osama. His office has made so many contradictory statements it would spin the head of even a Muslim, who is used to religious contradictions and inconsistencies.

{^_^}

herself on May 5, 2011 at 3:47 AM

No, if my way was to “forget,” I’d be asking why we tried to kill him in the first place. I’m not asking that. I think it’s a great bit of justice. But why restore him to some weird pride of place in the Middle East as America’s archenemy, even with a death photo, when he’d been slipping off the radar for 10 years? I don’t get that.

Allahpundit on May 4, 2011 at 5:26 PM

If you admire justice, then you must surely ‘also’ admire truth and facts and proof. That is the basis of our justice system.

OT: how and why did you choose your nic, AP? I refuse to even type it.

Now. To everyone else.

Consider this:

Zero is a shiite muslim. It explains all of his foreign policy moves/decisions. It explains why he didn’t want to go after OBL to begin with. It explains why he gave our number one enemy a hero’s welcome home, complete with islamic burial rites. It explains why he refuses to offer ANY proof of his death, from dna to photos. . .

He clearly had a tiff with Hilary/her husband, supported by the house of Saud/sunnis.

It all comes down to shiite vs. sunni supporters in this administration.

And if that doesn’t scare the shiite out of you, nothing will.

Remember, Zero supports the GZM. Remember, he’s already said that OBL was not a “leader of the muslim faith.”

Opinionator on May 5, 2011 at 4:25 AM

Taqiyya.

Opinionator on May 5, 2011 at 4:38 AM

I really think you meant to type “Osama”. I hope that’s what you meant.

ZenDraken on May 4, 2011 at 8:53 PM

Lol. Damn, I think I hear the black helicoptors now. But, but, but, Geraldo did it too!

Socmodfiscon on May 5, 2011 at 7:12 AM

I’m late to the party, anyone notice the headshots vs center body mass?

bloviator on May 5, 2011 at 8:22 AM

Opinionator on May 5, 2011 at 4:25 AM

Great stuff. Thanks.

rrpjr on May 5, 2011 at 12:04 PM

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