The photos

I can see the arguments on both sides in the debate about whether to release the photographs of Osama bin Laden’s body, though I suspect not releasing them is the wisest course.

Or, should I say, I understand most of the arguments on both sides. I was listening to Sean Hannity’s radio show this afternoon (because it feels so good when I stop). He was almost frantic in his desire to see the photos – which I really don’t get. But it just got silly when he said the decision not to release the photos negated the rationale for sending in the SEAL team instead of just dropping bombs on bin Laden’s suspected compound. The whole point of sending in the SEALs, after all, was to make sure that we could verify that bin Laden got killed. If Hannity can’t see the death photos, then, apparently, that proof doesn’t exist.

This is, frankly, dumb. We did verify bin Laden’s death. The United States has photographs and DNA samples that conclusively prove bin Laden was the person thrown off the deck of the USS Carl Vincennes. Had we gone with the alternative – dropping bombs from 30,000 feet, we wouldn’t know if bin Laden had even been in the compound before it was turned into a crater.

In addition to that point that apparently flew over Hannity’s head, it isn’t as if photographs would dispel any conspiracy theories (which, at this point, are as ridiculous as the birther conspiracies). Photoshop and Hollywood makeup artists could easily combine to stage a realistic photo.

I am dismayed, but not shocked, at how quickly the right has gone from giving Obama grudging credit for taking out bin Laden to going crazy to find any little thing to criticize him about.

The Washington Time, for instance, ran a ludicrous editorial criticizing Obama’s decision to mark the occasion of bin Laden’s death with a ceremony honoring his victims at Ground Zero. Even though The Times admitted, “Honoring those who fell on 9/11 days after Osama bin Laden’s demise is fitting,” the editorial criticized the action as hypocritical because Democrats in 2004 criticized George W. Bush for appropriating images of 9/11 for a campaign commercial.

Yes, because a solemn ceremony honoring the victims of 9/11 is exactly like using images of 9/11 in a campaign ad.

Too many of today’s conservatives are unable to celebrate a pure victory for America because of who was at the helm when it happened. That’s disturbing.

12 Responses to The photos

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  2. Linkmeister says:

    “Too many of today’s conservatives are unable to celebrate a pure victory for America because of who was at the helm when it happened. That’s disturbing.”

    Churlish, too.

    (Point of order: the carrier is the Carl Vinson. Vincennes is, among other things, the name of a chateau outside Paris.) 😉

  3. rusty says:

    Nitpicking, but: USS Carl Vinson, named after this guy:

  4. Danny says:

    Great post! I also wish people would remember that there were 20 people in the compound, most of them women and children.

    Had we gone with the bomb strike option, we could only say for sure that 20 men, women and children got killed and we hoped one of them was Bin Laden.

  5. JohnC says:

    No, Hannity, getting a picture of a dead bin Laden was not the only purpose of the raid. We also preferred to get our hands on bin Laden’s stash of documents rather than blowing them to smithereens in a hit-and-run bomb attack. You know, because we want the information that will help us dismantle al-Qaeda and prevent future terror attacks. Little stuff like that.

  6. Dan Radmacher says:


    You’re right, I got that wrong: The ship was the Carl Vinson. In my defense, though, there is a USS Carl Vincennes, as well, but it is not an aircraft carrier.

  7. Fred R. says:

    As JohnC says, there were hard drives and computers that should shed plenty of light on al Qaeda’s operations. They would have been little pools of molten plastic had we simply dropped a bomb,

  8. Varecia says:

    Glaring at human hamburger isn’t going to make us a stronger nation.

  9. Alex says:

    Conservatives are just not able to be rationalized with now-a-days.
    They rather plug their ears and shout generic complaints like “socialist, terrorist sympathizer” and (despite evidence to the contrary) “the worst president ever” whose “failing policies are ruining america.”

    It’s really sad and disheartening that this is the state of our nation.

  10. smartalek says:

    To paraphrase what Golda Meir once said about Palestinians, our country will not be fixed until Publicans / “conservatives” love America and Americans more than they hate Obama and Democrats.
    As for calling President Obama “the worst President ever,” they have no choice. Many Americans said those exact words about GWB, so they must say them about Obama.
    It’s like a political law-of-nature: Conservation of Contempt, or Parity of Failure must be maintained.
    What decisions are made, actions are actually taken, and the state of the nation as a result of those decisions and actions, doesn’t bear on the issue in the slightest.
    In fact it can’t, since (as we all know) “reality has a well-known liberal bias.”

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