I have stopped using WordPress.com to host my blog. Read more by me at Atomic Trevor.
The apparent reason behind not releasing the Osama Bin Laden death-photo is that if we do, we will inflame a certain population, and we don’t want that to happen.
However, we must consider what population we will be inflaming.
The way I see it, there are a few groups of people who have a vested interest in the release of the photo. There are Americans, Al-Qaeda, Taliban, the Bin Laden family and the Media.
First, Americans. As the public reaction has shown, we really, *really* want to see the photo. Whether it is because we are conspiracy theorists who don’t trust the government, or because we want complete closure after the events of 9/11. Either way, we want to see the photos. I think that this is a pretty universal opinion – not near the extent of universality of the opinion that him being dead is good – and that not too many people would object to it being released. On top of this, even though 100% of Americans aren’t actively pushing for it to be released, these people that aren’t pushing certainly aren’t objecting to the release.
Next group is Al-Qaeda. Clearly, they don’t want the picture released. Their ‘sensibilities’ will be inflamed. Mmhmm. Right. Let’s throw out a hypothetical really quick. Al-Qaeda, with the assistance and support of the Taliban, have a plan to blow up a couple of buildings in the United States. Everything is in place, and there is nothing that can stop them. There are a few options: A – Follow through; B – Don’t do it, because Americans will be offended; C – Ask politely. Which will they choose? None of the above. Because they wouldn’t even ask the question. So, why should we care about their sensibilities? We shouldn’t.
On top of this, the excuse that they will then plan to attack us if we release the photo is weak. What exactly are they doing right now? Oh, yes. Waging war against our society and way of life. Will the release (or non-release) of a photo change their opinion of us at all? No.
Next group is the Taliban. They have the weakest involvement. Bin Laden wasn’t their leader, he was their ally. So they might mourn his loss and get angry, but they will get over it. After all, they are working on fighting us in Afghanistan. In addition, see the above reasoning for Al-Qaeda. Most of it applies to the Taliban as well.
Now, the Bin Laden family. Here is a real argument. Most families have the right to object. Privacy concerns, preserving the memory, etc. However, the Bin Ladens aren’t ‘most’ families. They are the direct relations to Osama, and as a result, they pretty much lose their right to object. Sure, they didn’t have a choice, because in Osama’s lifestyle, the family couldn’t just leave. But I frankly don’t care. They don’t get an opinion. They don’t like it? Well, too bad. Simple as that.
Finally, the Media. Here is a group that has a big interest in the release. The photo will be the most viewed photo in history, according to Drudge. Media sites will eat it up, and despite their publicly stating that they will have to consider releasing it, they will release it. They would be stupid not to. This is especially true if they are re-releasing it, and they aren’t the first people releasing, then they have no risk.
To recap: Americans (most important people in the equation, and should be the most important people that Obama pays attention to) want it released, to provide closure. Al-Qaeda doesn’t (which is reason enough to release it). Ditto Taliban. Bin Laden family lost its vote, and I doubt they really care now that he is dead and they are in prison. The Media wants it released, because it is good for business.
On top of this, the release will make the good guys happy and the bad guys angry.
It won’t upset the status quo, and it won’t make anything worse.
Why not release it then?