It’s apostasy for someone in the news business not to advocate for the full release of information, but I have to confess to breathing a sigh of relief on hearing the White House’s decision not to release photos of Osama bin Laden’s bloodied corpse. Just as I found the dance-on-his-grave celebrations that followed Sunday’s announcement of his death a tad unseemly, the idea of America proudly displaying its kill was unsettling.
Don’t get me wrong. I understand perfectly the sentiments that caused thousands of people to take to the streets; this despicable and dangerous man deserved to die. I just don’t think it’s appropriate to mark his death with pep rallies, the only purpose being to play into the hands of those who would undermine our values. By the same token, what purpose would be served by releasing these photos, said to be profoundly gruesome? Those who say it would eliminate questions about whether bin Laden actually died are kidding themselves that the bin Laden doubters would accept photos released by the U.S. government as real proof.
So, it seems to me, the only purpose served by the photos’ release would have been to satisfy the morbid curiosity of a public that’s become accustomed to blood and violence as entertainment. The cost could well have been inflaming public opinion in places where American troops are serving and that’s simply -- as the administration wisely determined -- too high a price to pay.