Obama announces he will not release bin Laden death photos

(Note: in a comment, I try to explain the twisted psychology behind the administration’s appalling conduct of this affair.)

CBS News reports:

In an interview with Steve Kroft for this Sunday’s “60 Minutes,” President Obama says he won’t release post-mortem images of Osama bin Laden taken to prove his death.

“We don’t trot out this stuff as trophies,” Mr. Obama said.

“We don’t need to spike the football … given the graphic nature of the photo it would create national security risk,” said the president.

Video of the comments will appear on the CBS “Evening News” on Wednesday.

The madness—or whatever we call it—keeps multiplying. Evidently the administration had no plan, prior to killing bin Laden, for how it was going to prove to the world that it had killed him. Instead, it got into a public debate after killing bin Laden on whether to release his death photos or not, as though this were an afterthought.

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Kathlene M. writes:

It seems that one point the “temporary coup” article reinforced was the fact that Obama vacillates endlessly over decisions. Today he states he won’t release the OBL death photos, whereas yesterday he said he might. Tomorrow one expects he shall change his mind again, and so on for weeks or months. Also recall that the reason Obama would not bomb the Osama hide-out months ago was that he wanted to be able to make a positive identification of Osama’s remains. So what was the point then of waiting, when he won’t now use that information as corroboration? He seems almost unable to make up his mind, except when he stubbornly refuses to do something (such as take three years to release his long form birth certificate).

James P. writes:

Let me get this straight. The world has seen very graphic photos of American soldiers abusing prisoners at Abu Ghraib, and has seen photos of Afghan children murdered by a US Army “kill team,” but somehow pictures of our dead Public Enemy Number One would be too graphic, too risky, and too offensive to the Arab world to release? This is not even remotely plausible!

An Indian living in the West writes:

I hate to say this but this Administration has really shown its incompetence during this episode. Unlike the public, I do not give Obama a great deal of credit for the assassination of Bin Laden. The entire machinery that eventually discovered him in that compound was set in motion right after 9-11. It is disingenuous of Obama’s supporters to make it sound as though Bin Laden was found only because of Obama.

Secondly, the Administration completely bungled the story after the event. They should have delayed releasing the story by a few hours and ensured that a coherent and accurate story was relayed to the media after the event. Instead, we have had all kinds of corrections issued since which have undermined the credibility of the Administration.

And thirdly, the Middle East and the Muslim world is especially susceptible to conspiracy theories. Charles Krauthammer rightly pointed this out yesterday on TV. He is right. In order to salvage the credibility of the Administration and the United States, the pictures must be released without delay. If they aren’t released, much of the Muslim world will regard the whole story as a lie fed to the public to show them falsely how powerful America really is. I have already had some Muslim acquaintances tell me that they do not believe the story. They say that if the story was true, they would release all the evidence—photos, videos, everything.

It seems ironic that a man who ran for office on the issue of restoring American credibility abroad is now doing a lot more to undermine it than even Bush ever did in his eight years.

LA replies:

“We have had all kinds of corrections issued since which have undermined the credibility of the Administration”

Remember, this administration is led and staffed by anti-American leftists. When circumstances and their jobs force them to take action in defense of the U.S., they are not comfortable with that. Defending America is the very thing they regard is “superpatriotism.” Asserting American power is the very thing they oppose, because their fundamental belief is that America has too much power and needs to be brought down relative to other countries. To them, using deadly force is “acting like John Wayne.” So it is entirely consistent with their leftist, resentful, divided mindset that when circumstances require them to take forceful military action in behalf of America, they immediately set about undermining that action, which includes undermining even their own credibility. Why not? After all, as the leaders and spokesmen of oppressive America, they too are suspect.

Furthermore, it doesn’t matter whether this undermining is conscious or not. Their staggering contradictions and incompetence following the raid could be due, not to a thought-out, intentional plan, but simply to not giving a damn, not caring whether America ends up being seen in a negative light. Let us remember that under American criminal law, negligent behavior can be seen as criminal behavior. For example, one of the classes of homicide is criminally negligent homicide. The defendant was not consciously intending to commit homicide, but he acted in such a careless way, a way that he should have known was likely to bring about a person’s death, that his carelessness is deemed as criminal. So one possible view of this affair is that the administration, in so badly undermining the mission after the mission was successfully completed, have been committing an act of “criminally negligent anti-Americanism.”

Indian living in the West writes:

Here is another good argument in favour of releasing the photos, a series of photos of the interior of bin Laden’s house after the raid, including dead bodies (see photos 7-9).

So we already have gory, bloody pictures of corpses left behind in the compound. What difference is one more photo going to make?

Obama’s justifications are starting to look completely hollow.

LA replies:

Agreed. The last two photos are particularly gory. Why doesn’t Obama fear that they will make Muslims angry at us (excuse me, angrier at us)?

Leonard D. writes:

I think that the Administration is playing another fake-out game with this one. What do they lose if they release the evidence in, say, a week? Very little. What can they gain?

The Obama administration can certainly get brownie points with the left for articulating the sentiment that killing is icky and hurts people, and therefore, pictures of it should not be shown. “Trophies”—oh my! Also, I think they may believe they will get sensitivity points from Muslims for much the same reason. (They are wrong about that.) But I do think that not trotting out the trophies immediately might well help to damp down the Muslim response. After all, if you think that the U.S. government is lying about it, you’re probably not going to riot about it. Whereas with hard proof, you might. Obama doesn’t want to see rioting, both because riots are actually bad things, and (more importantly from a progressive perspective) because they make Muslims look bad to unenlightened Americans. Wouldn’t want that!

They can also, if lucky, sucker the American right into punching air. Also I expect they can get the right to accept the responsibility for the ultimate release of the photographic proof. Those evil Republicans in Congress forced us to release the pix! [LA adds: just like they forced us to release the birth certificate!] Either that, or the pictures may leak, or “leak.” I expect they would eventually leak even if the Obama Administration really did try to keep them suppressed. So it may be very hard to determine who leaked them if they show up on Wikileaks. And certainly if that happens, Obama retains plausible deniability.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at May 04, 2011 02:51 PM | Send

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