Minden Press-Herald

Tuesday
Sep 30th

Why Do You Want to See the bin Laden Photos?

Call me crazy, but I'm not clamoring to see photos of a dead and rotting Osama bin Laden.

That's the latest controversy making headlines and talking points. There's always some kind of controversy, isn't there? Always something for people to bicker about.

It's not good enough that the madman behind the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 is dead. No, we have to argue with one another about photos of this deceased villain.

But I digress.

Here's the deal. What do we gain by seeing the photos?

President Obama toes the line that releasing the photos would only incite more anti-American sentiment among hard line Islamic extremists.

Talking heads like Neil Cavuto on Fox News counters by saying public opinion in the Middle East has been inflamed for a while.

"Tunisia. Egypt. Syria. Yemen. Libya...just me, but I think you can cancel that concern, Mister President," Cavuto quipped during his Wednesday afternoon program regarding the constant unrest in the Middle East.

It's true. America is hated. Keeping the bin Laden photos hidden will do nothing to change that truth.

Sarah Palin, another proponent of showing the photos, tweets, "Show photo as warning to others seeking America's destruction. No pussy-footing around, no politicking, no drama; it's part of the mission."

Following Mr. Cavuto's logic when applying it to Mrs. Palin's argument, I can only surmise that showing the photos will in no way deter violent offenders from endeavoring to strike fear and wreak havoc upon Americans.

The President says, "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."

Scoffingly, Mr. Cavuto responds, "Ummm...Mister President. They did. They have a lot. And the Americans needn't even be military. And by the way they needn't be dead. They can be seen graphically and ghoulishly being made dead. Talk to Daniel Pearl's widow. She'll tell you. The guys who killed him didn't much seem concerned about inflaming us."

Mr. Cavuto, you are correct. They did do those heinous acts. However, I must ask those hounding the White House for the photos a single question: aren't we supposed to be better than them?

This really has nothing to do with proving death. This has nothing to do issuing a warning to those who wish us harm. Those who wish to see a bullet-riddled corpse fit into a category I refer to as "lowest common denominator." Not to say they are low class, far from it.

You see, there's an old saying in the news business. "If it bleeds, it leads."

That means death, destruction, despair are the items that most interest our species. It's the reason our newspaper sales are exponentially higher when a crime is the lead story rather than the goings on of a local civic group.

You may not want to believe such a statement to be true. You may scoff; say that you at the very least are not that way. But I have to ask, when you pass a wreck on the interstate do you look away, or do you turn your eyes to the destruction?

Humans have a lot of faults. One of them is an obsession with the disturbing, even if it as at the most primal of levels.

So let's not feign an interest in national security. Desire to release the bin Laden photos comes from one of two places: partisanship or primitive human instinct. Some of us are more in touch with their primitive side than others, it seems.

I would look at the photos if given the chance. Only because I am human. And curious.

But to decry the president's decision to keep them secret based upon political reasoning is in poor form.

But then again, virtually everything about American politics is in poor form. I suppose, the death of Osama bin Laden shouldn't be an exception.

And for the tin-foil conspiracy theorists, a photo is going to do little to dispel the notion that the terrorist lives.

You ever hear of a little something called Photoshop?

Josh Beavers is the publisher of the Minden Press-Herald. His column runs on Friday. He may be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Last Updated ( May 06, 2011 )  

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