No Photos

According to CBS News, President Obama has decided not to release the photographs of Osama bin Laden’s dead body.

In comments taken from an interview to be broadcast on 60 Minutes this Sunday, Obama said, “It is important to make sure that very graphic photos of somebody who was shot in the head are not floating around as an incitement to additional violence or as a propaganda tool.”  He then issued an executive order to erase all photographs and films of the JFK assassination, and excused himself to make a quick call to Oliver Stone, leaving interviewer Steve Kroft to amuse himself by watching video of Saddam Hussein’s execution.

“We don’t trot out this stuff as trophies,” Obama continued.  “The fact of the matter is, this is somebody who was deserving of the justice that he received.”  Those two assertions cannot be logically connected.  If fed into a computer, they will cause it to explode, in much the way that computers tend to explode while arguing with Captain James T. Kirk.

Responding to Kroft’s suggestion that “there are people in Pakistan and elsewhere who believe bin Laden is still alive,” the President asserted, “There is no doubt that Osama bin Laden is dead.”  Well, yes there is.  Steve Kroft just said so.  Also, not all of those who doubt bin Laden’s death can be found in Pakistan.

The President doesn’t think “a photograph in and of itself is going to make any difference.”  Maybe not, but sitting on it certainly will.  I can hear conspiracy theorists laughing from here.  I really need to have a long talk with my neighbors.

President Obama wasn’t the only one to say some odd things about the decision to keep the photos under wraps.  Republican House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers said he thought “the risks of release outweigh the benefits.”  Fair enough, but then he added, “Imagine how the American people would react if al-Qaeda killed one of our troops or military leaders, and put photos of the body on the Internet.”

We don’t really have to imagine that, Rep. Rogers.  Terrorist snuff videos are commonplace, and they’re usually not “after-action” photos, if you know what I mean.  Was there a way you could have made this point without comparing the flea-bitten corpse of the wretched al-Qaeda mastermind with the remains of American troops?

These are undoubtedly some gruesome photos.  CBS national security correspondent David Martin said he was told they “won’t be for the squeamish,” and asks us to remember “bin Laden was shot twice at close range, once in the chest and once in the head, right above his left eye, and that bullet opened his skull, exposing the brain, and it also blew out his eye.” 

In other words, it sounds like a typical episode of The Walking Dead.  It nevertheless joins footage of people jumping from the World Trade center, Palestinians dancing in the streets to celebrate murder, and Barack Obama attending the 2003 farewell dinner of PLO spokesman Rashid Khalidi as images our political and media elites have decided we cannot handle.