Experts Weigh In On Pros & Cons Of Releasing Dead Osama Bin Laden Picture

By Jim Armstrong, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) — There is no doubting the appetite people have to see the photos and video from the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound, particularly the images of the man himself.

Problem is releasing the pictures might do more harm than good.

In a world where there is already significant concern about bin Laden’s followers putting together retaliatory attacks, the U.S. government has to wonder if it does, in fact, make sense to show the graphic, bloody results of the raid on his compound?

Imam Talal Eid of the Islamic Institute of Boston admits that he is curious to see the photos, but not at the risk of inciting violence.

“I just do not feel comfortable with having these images on TV,” said Eid. “What is important is that we see that the majority of people are relieved, are satisfied. This is very important. As far as the critics, they will remain critics.”

“Justice is done,” he said.

WBZ-TV’s Jim Armstrong reports.

While a certain segment of the population at home and abroad says they’ll be convinced bin Laden’s dead only after they see the proof, the fact remains that there are people who will never be convinced.

The director of Boston University’s Program on Islam and Society cautions against going out of our way to respond to the fringe.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kim Tunnicliffe reports.

“We have to remember we’re in a war with real enemies, terrorist enemies,” said Robert Hefner, who also heads up BU’s Institute on Culture, Religion, and World Affairs. “But we’re also in a war for hearts and minds. We have to balance our own interests here very carefully.”

It’s a delicate balance the White House is studying right now. At Tuesday afternoon’s press briefing, spokesman Jay Carney said the administration is reviewing the release of bin Laden photos.

“The amount of information we’ve tried to provide to [the media] in this short period of time is quite substantial. We will continue to review that and make decisions about the appropriateness of releasing more information as that review continues on,” Carney explained.

During the discussion with reporters, Carney acknowledged the images in question are “gruesome” and potentially “inflammatory,” and those considerations are weighing in to their release.


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