Obama Administration Won’t Release Photos of Osama Bin Laden Dead UPDATE: Sarah Palin Urges Release of Photos ‘As a Warning to Others’
Posted on | May 4, 2011 | 34 Comments
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.
“The risks of release outweigh the benefits,” he said. “Conspiracy theorists around the world will just claim the photos are doctored anyway, and there is a real risk that releasing the photos will only serve to inflame public opinion in the Middle East.”
UPDATE: ABC has more from Mike Rogers:
“If you’re a sergeant in a town in Ghazni, Afghanistan and you’re trying to get some local elder to cooperate about what’s happening in your village, are you going to do it if this inflames into some kind of trophy — we have a trophy of Osama bin Laden? I worry about that,” Rogers told [George Stephanopoulos]. “And if we can’t answer for sure and for certain this doesn’t make the job of that soldier easier, if it makes it harder, I say it’s not worth it.”
Just saw Fox News interview John McCain, who said: “My initial opinion is that it’s not necessary to [release the photos].”
UPDATE II: Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown:
“If it’s just trying to sell newspapers, then I don’t think it’s appropriate,” says Brown, who is preparing to deploy to Afghanistan.
UPDATE III: Bryan Preston at Pajamas Media:
If he sticks to this, it’s a bad move in my opinion. If the photo is being withheld out of sensitivity to Muslims, we are once again baptizing Osama bin Laden into mainstream Islam, after years of telling the world that OBL wasn’t a good Muslim. Stupid. Obama has just created his own pet version of the Warren Commission Report. If Obama sticks to this decision, we’ll get a lifetime of bad Photoshops and conspiracy theories out of it. And the radicals who want to kill us will still want to kill us.
Now the top thread at Memeorandum.
UPDATE IV: In a White House briefing just now, spokesman Jay Carney said, “It’s not in our national security interests” to release the photos.
Right: But one way or another, the photos will be public within weeks — perhaps within days. The National Enquirer will pay somebody $50,000, the photos will be leaked, and then the White House will engage in public hand-wringing about how “irresponsible” it is for the Enquirer to publish the photos.
Does the phrase “plausible deniability” ring a bell?
UPDATE V: Drew M. at AOSHQ:
As for our betters who say don’t release the photos because it might inflame the Religion of Peace into a murderous rage (a state also known as “everyday”) …everyone of you bastards better be on record either urging the withholding of or condemning the release of photos from Abu Ghraib.
UPDATE VII: Sarah Palin is not afraid to disagree with Obama:
What percentage of Iowa GOP caucusgoers would agree with Palin? A lot of them, I bet.
UPDATE VIII: Here’s how the story was reported on MSNBC:
UPDATE IX: Linked by Josh Painter at Texas for Palin — thanks!
UPDATE X: Linked at Confessions of a Constitutional Crusader — thanks!
UPDATE XI: Professor Glenn Reynolds: “This seems like a mistake to me, and the double-shuffle of contradictory messages that has led up to this decision hasn’t looked ready for prime time.”
Rather than bomb the compound, Obama (after 16 hours of deliberation and a half-round of golf) made the “gutsy” call to send SEAL troops into harm’s way so that he could make sure the US had proof of death. This was a “Kill Only” mission, we’re told — and the SEAL “assaulters” dutifully shot the unarmed bin Laden and his young bride. Obama then ordered a 45-minute burial ceremony, performed Arabic, in which bin Laden’s “Kill Only” corpse was cleaned and dressed and placed in a burial shroud. Then dumped into the sea.
And now Obama is saying he won’t release the proof of death he claimed was so vital — and Andrea Mitchell, among others, is satisfied with this: the government has all the proof it needs, so why show anyone else? Per Mitchell, we’re inherently to trust the government. Because it isn’t a Republican in the White House. So it must be good and righteous.
And besides, we don’t want to offend Muslim sensibilities. After all, there’s no telling how these inherently peaceful people might react to photos of a dead bin Laden, who doesn’t represent Islam in any way.
Like I said: “Plausible deniability.” The photo will leak, and the official reaction from the White House will be to denounce the leak. But this is just about maintaining appearances.
UPDATE XIII: Dan Collins at Piece of Work in Progress:
Sadly, I suspect the possibility of permanently elevating ObL to a near mythical stature was disregaded in favor of a more self-serving domestic political calculus.
What’s the over/under on how long before the photos are leaked? I’m betting 72 hours.
UPDATE XV: Linked by The Lonely Conservative — thanks!
UPDATE XVI: Jimmie Bise Jr. has strong words for Mike Rogers. And not in a good way.
Really: Why is it that jihadis post online videos of the executions of innocent Americans (e.g., Daniel Pearl) and yet, when we finally get the world’s most bloodthirsty terrorist, we can’t publish the photo because we’re afraid of inflaming “the Arab street”? I don’t give a damn one way or another whether they publish the photos, but I very much give a damn about U.S. officials kowtowing to the sensitivities of such savages: “Oh, we don’t want to offend them.”
They need to be offended, and often, and by someone who knows how.
UPDATE XVII: Linked by Chris Wysocki — thanks!