On Wednesday The White House announced President Obama decision not to release any photos of Osama bin Laden’s body. Under the law The President has absolute and sole authority over the photos and whether or not to make them public.
Nobody has been more critical of President Obama than Liberty Works. We would aggressively argue against his decision if there were a compelling case in favor of release. But we don’t see such a case.
Some are demanding public release to confirm the fact that bin Laden is indeed dead. But the Administration and the Pentagon have described methods used to confirm his identity that were far superior to presenting a photo to the general public. There are two possibilities:
- Reality is as the administration has described it: Bin Laden was shot dead, the body was identified by witnesses in the compound, by DNA, and by facial recognition software and then buried at sea.
- It’s all a lie. This possibility is too implausible to take seriously given the hundreds of people, both military and civilian, who would have to be conscious, involuntary participants in the conspiracy.
Anyone who still doesn’t believe bin Laden is dead would likely not be convinced by a photo of a heavily bearded man whose head or face was disfigured by a bullet. The negative consequences of releasing photos would include:
- The photo(s) would appear on thousands of websites with all sorts of bizarre, pernicious “enhancements.”
- Scores of Internet conspiracy mills would contrive pixel by pixel analysis purporting to “prove” Photoshop mischief.
Obama’s professed concern for Muslim sensibilities seems a bit silly, coming after he ordered the assault on a compound in a Muslim nation, where bin Laden was deliberately killed.
But, there don’t appear to be any convincing arguments in favor of publishing a photo of the corpse.