Wednesday, May 4, 2011

JFK is A-OK, But Nix Osama's Pics?

So, let me get this straight, it’s okay to show the Zapruder film of the assassination of US President John F. Kennedy, but not to make public the still photos of dead dirt bag Osama bin Laden? The number of ways this is outrageously stupid approaches infinity. Whose feelings are we protecting? Certainly not the feelings of American citizens who have been exposed to violence in the media repeatedly in the past 20 years.

Americans have been subjected to videos of fellow citizens flinging themselves to certain death from the top floors of New York’s Twin Towers, videos of the gaping, deadly wound in the side of the USS Cole, the remains of bombed US embassies strewn with victims in Africa and the beheading video of US journalist Daniel Pearl. We have shown our resilience time and again and the sugar coating just gets in the way.

All of these events can be traced back to Osama bin Laden and his followers. Irony does not begin to cover this circumstance. The body of the creature who brought these vicious attacks to bear, often on unarmed civilians, was treated with respect and dignity after we killed him. So our enemies, stunned by our chivalrous actions will begin to understand the complex morality of the West and begin to see us as “people” and no longer wish to perpetrate unreasoned violence against us. And, in the Left’s fairy tale view of the world, that’s how it would be. Reality; however, is a harsh mistress with death in her eyes and a smile on her lips and cares not for fairy tales.

In case you’re keeping score, as the radical Islamists certainly are, the most important words in the previous paragraph are “we killed him”. That is all they really care about. They don’t care about linen shrouds, Islamic traditions, proper burial rites or a picture. If we had planted bin Laden in a vat of cow patties and released a photo of that, could the radical, murderous fanatics be even more radical, more murderous or more fanatical?

I'm not demanding that anyone release the still photos of a dead Osama bin Laden, but to not release the photos because some of bin Laden's followers might be offended is silly and naive. This homicidal band of thugs seeks the destruction of our civilization, the trampling of our love of our God-given rights and the surrender of our free will. If those who seek bloody injustice are offended by bloody justice, then so be it.

Give President Obama a thumbs-up for pulling the trigger on the operation, give Navy SEAL Team Six a big thumbs-up for pulling the actual triggers, and give President Bush credit for providing the trigger in the first place. Let us continue to honor our war dead and wounded and pray that we are worthy of their sacrifice.

We are a better planet for bin Laden’s absence, but work remains. Before that work is done, before we can  claim victory, the blood of more innocents will be shed; more brave American soldiers, sailors and marines will perish protecting our precious rights; and most importantly, we must realize we are in a war about everything we believe, and for everything we hold sacred.


  1. Sheik bin Laden died many years ago.

  2. Agreed - SOME photos are making the rounds of the 'Net, but without provenance - there was very little uproar I recall, when photos were circulated of Saddam Hussein's hanging.

    Also, as a former Marine, might I ask that, in future, you capitalize "Marines"? ;-)

    Semper Fi'

  3. Hi Ken,
    You and I do not understand this issue in the same way. I believe that it would be wrong to show pictures of Osama’s body or video footage of the killing. On this the President has chosen wisely. I stand with him.

    In response to the earlier response fro Mr. Mair, I would suggest that Saddam’s own people judged him and found him guilty. The punishment he endured was at the hands of his people and not from the Marine Corps or any US Navy Seal team. Isn’t it too bad that Bin Laden was able to remain in seclusion so long? Too bad someone in Pakistan did not rat him out.

    America has become far too violent. That violence extends beyond the bounds of the battlefield. The rhetoric I hear from both sides of the political fence makes me wonder at the intent that is in the heart of those who claim to be on America’s side or God’s side. Violence in any form is unable to create or sustain lasting relationships—at home or abroad. Strong words hurt more than they heal. At the end of the day, what kind of world are we trying to create?

    I would hope that the majority of Americans are able to place themselves beyond the thrill of gawking at cheap pictures. The America my mother and father raised me in is one where respect extends to all humanity. I learned respect for my neighbors who were like me, and my neighbors who were different; in Dodge County there were both.

    The faith my parents instilled in me caused me to respect others as well. Somewhere along the line I actually started believing what those old ladies in Sunday school taught. “Red and yellow they are precious in his sight.” There were also those radical statements from that New Testament itinerate preacher who said, “Love your enemies, do good to those who…” You probably can recite the rest.

    I guess my belief is that neither a Christian response nor a proper American response to the killing of Bin Laden would demand that pictures be released. Why do we need more fuel for the hatred, which already exists? Please reconsider your position. Think deeply about the consequences rather than doing or saying that which is politically expedient.

    Keith Vaughn

  4. The people we are at war with, if they had killed our leader, would have cut his head off and put it on a pole for all to see. Then they would have dragged his body through the streets in celebration.

    We're not like that. We are civilized human beings who honor even our enemy's dead. During the civil war, after a battle it was not unusual to have a cease fire so the soldiers from both sides could collect their dead and wounded.

    Add to this that the black helicopter conspiracy nut cases who believe OBL isn't dead wouldn't believe a photograph either. Maybe since Al-Qaeda has admitted that we killed him, the nut cases will believe them.

    That Weird Uncle (

  5. Hi Keith,

    Thank you for the thoughtful commentary. I agree with everything you said.

    I don't advocate releasing the pictures, but my concern is the rationale given. It appears we are yielding to the false hope that not releasing the pictures will somehow mollify our enemies. It won't.

    I would have been happy with the non-release if we had been honest and said, "We are not going to release the photographs of a deceased Osama bin Laden because we are Americans. We will not stoop to the level of those who oppose us and oppose all we believe in, including the dignity and importance of human life."

    Take care.

  6. Diamond Mair,

    Thank you for your commentary. No slight was intended toward the Marines, but in this instance I was right to not capitalize it.

    I used "marine" in the same way I used "soldier" and "sailor" as an occupation and not as a member of an organization. My father is still a Marine at 77 and I could not possibly have more respect for a group of people.

    I hope that helps explains my decision. Even if you disagree with my grammatical choices, please understand there was no malice intended.

    And thank you for serving our country.


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