Osama bin Laden’s death: In The Ring

Jarred Maddox and Hannah Jane DeCiutiis

     Throughout American history, the government has often neglected to reveal certain information to the public; the recent death of Osama bin Laden proves to be no different. In early May, it was reported to citizens that the al-Qaeda founder and American enemy number one had been killed in a firefight by a group of US Navy SEALS in Abbottabad, Pakistan during Operation Neptune Spear. Three sets of photographs of bin Laden’s deceased body are allegedly in existence, but President Barack Obama has publicly announced the decision to keep the photos from the public eye. 

     Between the secretive nature of the killing and a subsequent burial at sea, many people have doubts about bin Laden’s death. As with any significant event, conspiracy theorists have found ways to be skeptical of the government. However, the typical skeptics aren’t the only ones finding themselves doubting the government claims about the death of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

    Duncan Hunter, former Marine and current politician, shares the view of many members and former members of the U.S. Military, saying that, having done three tours because of the 9/11 terrorist attacks orchestrated by bin Laden, he “deserves to see them.” Hunter is not wrong or alone in his claims to entitlement. Bin Laden has not only impacted hundreds of thousands of soldiers, but also thousands of citizens whose family members died in the twin towers. Providing sufficient evidence of the mass murderer’s death would provide both these citizens and their families with the satisfaction that their suffering has not been in vain.

     Belief that bin Laden is truly dead is not any stronger overseas. The Taliban are claiming that there is “not any strong evidence” of his death. Some believe that release of the photos would provoke al-Qaeda to retaliate. However, releasing the photos of the body of the al-Qaeda founder himself has the potential to dispel any kind of uprising; with the absolute realization that their founder and leader is dead, whatever kind of morale that the Taliban is building has very little chance of surviving.

     The risky decision to launch an attack on a building in the middle of Pakistan without notifying the government has not helped American relations with the country. Presently, the only evidence the country has that U.S. force were actually after bin Laden are the claims of the American government. Providing solid proof that the raid was against bin Laden himself could go a long way in easing tensions.

     For this very reason, many politicians are speaking out against the President’s decision not to release the photos. Senator Lindsey Graham believes that “the best way to protect and defend our interests overseas is to prove that fact to the rest of the world.” American foreign relations are best served by choosing to be open and honest with its neighbors, leaving less room for distrust and skepticism of the American government. CIA director, Leon Panetta, agrees, hoping that some time in the near future the President will change his mind, for interests abroad and on American soil.

     Nobody has asked the President for consent to release the photos as a trophy or to mock the Taliban. Rather, it is out of interest of the general public and national security that the photos of the body be released. In 2006, when Iraqi al-Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed, photographic proof was immediately provided to the public as they have with numerous other leaders in the terrorist regime. It is unclear why the United States feels the need to change their position now, with the greatest of all terrorist leaders of the past decade. This change in policy further fuels skepticism and provides more reason for release of the photographs of bin Laden.

     Countless American lives have been lost and dedicated to the search for bin Laden as well as the war on terror itself. Additionally, those that live in constant fear of further terrorism will regain some amount of peace and confidence in the American government with evidence that the US military is doing its job in the protection of the American people.