It's inevitable that the joy and national unity over the killing of that monster bin Laden would cool.Already we're debating the journalistic and political ramifications. On Wednesday, President Obama told CBS he wouldn't "spike the football" by releasing photos proving Osama is dead.
I agree with the president, as much as that pains my friend Sean Hannity and other conservatives (and non-conservatives like Juan Williams).
Some argue that it will put to rest any conspiracy theories that this is but a hoax. No, it won't. Let's go back to the American killing of Saddam Hussein's sons Uday and Qusay in 2003. To deal with the paranoia and disbelief of Iraqis, the military allowed access to the bodies ... after they did facial reconstructions to make the sons look more like they did before their faces were shot off.
Guess what? None of that helped with many Iraqis, who continued to express skepticism.
The failure of the Hussein sons (and now Osama) to reappear should be proof for the doubters, not so for fanatics. Before he had birthers; now we'll have deathers.
Is the inherent risk of greater violence by the release of the pictures worth it? Reuters gained access to some grisly pictures of dead men at Osama's compound. I look at them and see pictures of dead killers, murderers of innocent men, women and children -- and I'm glad they're dead. Many millions of Muslims will see pictures of what appear to be defenseless, innocent men -- and will be outraged.
Perception is everything. Why fuel it?
Why not just say -- proclaim -- Osama bin Laden's dead, and we're happy with the result? On the broader question, we can ask our media to please develop a consistent standard for these things. Why aren't they going nuclear against Obama's (correct) decision? Whatever happened to their "right to know"?
On Aug. 4, 2005, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press proclaimed a coalition of 14 media organizations and public interest groups they organized -- including CBS, NBC and The New York Times -- had filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the ACLU in U.S. District Court in New York urging the release of Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse photos. The RCFP also filed an amicus brief for the release of detainee-abuse photos in prisons other than Abu Ghraib, which the Obama administration agreed to release in April 2009.