By Gel Santos Relos
President Obama has decided NOT to release the gruesome photos of Osama bin Laden after he was killed, despite pressure for him to do so to prove the Al Qaeda leader is dead--in spite of positive DNA and facial recognition test results, despite bin Laden's wife confirming his identity and his daughter saying she witnessed her father being killed by US troops. Do you agree with President Obama's decision?
"It is important to make sure that very graphic photos of somebody who was shot in the head are not floating around as an incitement to additional violence or as a propaganda tool. This is not who we are. We don't trot out this stuff as trophies." President Obama said, defending his decision not to make public the post-mortem images of Osama bin Laden.
The President warned, "Given the graphic nature of these photos it would create a national security risk." Those who support this position point out the danger of inflaming the supporters of bin Laden and all other radical members of Islam to more rage and vindictiveness when they see the bloodied face of their leader who they now call a “martyr”.
They say these pictures may move these extremist group to retaliate against America and the rest of the free world, putting in danger the life and safety of Americans still deployed in war, those holding diplomatic positions, and even innocent American and other western civilians living and working in countries sympathetic to Al Qaida.
Since the announcement of the killing of the world’s most wanted terrorist leader Osama bin Laden by the US Navy SEALs last May 1 and having his body buried in Arabian sea, many people in this age of 24/7 cable news and instant picture and video sharing ask: What proof can you show? Where are the pictures?
To date, the proof rests on four major evidences that the body the US Navy SEALS shot and took from the mansion in Pakistan was indeed that of Osama bin Laden: 1. Results of DNA test that showed a 100% match; 2. Results of facial recognition computer imaging test that likewise confirms it was bin Laden, in addition to other physical attribute characteristic of bin Laden; and 3. Positive identification by his wife who called bin Laden by name at the time of the encounter; and 4. Confirmation by no less than bin Laden's young daughter who said she witnessed her father got killed by US troops.
But these are deemed to be not enough for the skeptics and unbelievers. They say they need to see pictures--otherwise all of these stories coming from the White House would just be part of a well orchestrated drama crafted to boost President Obama’s bid for reelection in 2012.
There are those who argue on the philosophical implication of the decision. They stress that it is important for the world to see how Al Qaida’s transgressions against America have been vindicated. They point out how the world has seen the pathetic and desperate images of Americans in pain, anguish and despair brought about by bin Laden and his people’s attack on 9/11--- the members of Al Qaida and their supporters deserve to to feel the same torment they inflicted upon others through the terror that they mercilessly sow.
Many agree that in the interest of transparency, maybe the government should release the photos, but not yet---not now. They believe the Obama administration should not cave in to pressure. What is there more to prove when scientific studies already substantiate their statement that bin Laden is dead?
"There is no doubt that Osama bin Laden is dead. Certainly there is no doubt among al Qaeda members that he is dead. So we don't think that a photograph in and of itself is going to make any difference,"President Obama said.
Those who agree with President Obama believe that even if these pictures are released, the skeptics and doubters will just say they are fake and fabricated. They find the conspiracy theorists' assertion that the Obama government just created this elaborate stagecraft ridiculous, because if in fact bin Laden is still alive, won't he come forward to debunk and shoot down Obama’s headline, thereby destroying the credibility of the Obama presidency and dishonoring the United States of America?
"There are going to be some folks who deny it," President Obama said. "The fact of the matter is, you will not see bin Laden walking on this earth again."