There was little to gain and a lot to lose had the Obama administration decided to release photographs of the bullet-scarred body of Osama bin Laden.
We think the president made the right call in withholding them.
In this age of the Internet and WikiLeaks, there are no assurances that the photos will stay under wraps forever. However, a public release of the photos would be out of step with the objective of the mission the U.S. carried out in hunting down the man so closely connected to the 9-11 terrorist attacks.
This was about justice, not revenge. It was about finishing the job, not raising the stakes.
As the president said, such action would be tantamount to an end-zone celebration — spiking the football, as he put it — and it would be untoward.
It’s not just the nature of the photos, which are said to be gruesome. Some have argued that release of the photos would quell conspiracy theorists who might otherwise believe bin Laden had been killed long ago, or remains alive.
Let’s face it, skeptics are never going to be satisfied, photos or not. They’d just claim the photos were doctored, as is all too easy to do in the digital age.
Just think of the Obama birth certificate hullabaloo. Though we believe the president was right to release the long-form document — and what was the harm? — it did little to appease the hard-core birthers.
Bin Laden’s elimination will make the world a safer place. And that is not something that has to be documented with photos.
The Denver Post (May 11)