Obama is not Releasing the Osama Death Photo and Scattered Idiocy on the Subject (Update: More From CBS Interview Released)
[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here. Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]
Update: Obama says more on the subject below the fold.
Update (II): Via Michelle Malkin, we are seeing photos from the compound including dead terrorists. But not bin Laden.
I mentioned it in an update to this post, but really it deserves its own stand alone post.
In some ways we have already talked this to death. When it was announced that bin Laden’s body had been disposed of, Patrick wrote:
Second, we have waited 10 years for this. People need to see the body. They need to see the evidence. Someone wrote Instapundit earlier in the evening to say: “When do we get to see the long form death certificate?” It’s a funny crack, but beneath the surface of the joke lies a hard reality: we live in a country where people ignored tons of evidence that Obama was born in Hawaii, and where others ignored tons of evidence that bin Laden and al Qaeda caused 9/11. And in a country apparently teeming with Birthers and Truthers, you’re telling me you’re gonna dump Osama bin Laden’s body in the sea in the middle of the night?
And my only quibble is he is focused on American opinion, and I focus on the opinion of the Muslim world. Now, there are crazy people over there who believe in Mossad-controlled sharks and the like. But there are also plenty of normal people over there who simply will not believe the word of the U.S. President. Perhaps they have been lied to by their own government so much that they don’t trust the word of any government official. Or perhaps they have a real, but not insurmountable anti-American bias. These people can be convinced, if we put a little more effort into it.
Later on I learned of and I posted evidence that the quick disposal itself was specifically commanded by Islamic tradition, but it turns out that burial at sea was against Islamic tradition. So if our goal in destroying evidence was to show the Muslim world how sensitive we were, then we failed. That is right, we destroyed evidence and didn’t even get the benefit out of it we hoped for.
So consider this for a minute. Imagine this was a trial. How would we prove he was the dead guy? The president’s statement is just hearsay. He’s never even seen the body. There is DNA analysis, of course, but in any trial the other side is allowed to run its own independent tests—something that has been prevented, here. And we have the testimony of one of his daughters, but part of her story about us dragging him out in front of his family is not credible. So we are going to tell the Muslim world to believe the word of a woman we officially claim is lying? I am personally satisfied, but only a fool thinks that is sufficient for someone more skeptical but still capable of being convinced. Disposing of the body was dumb. Not releasing the photos is even dumber.
We should frankly release everything we can. The photos, any footage from the raid, all we have. Blur out details we shouldn’t see—just as they did with that famous photo of the situation room as the raid occurred:
(Look at the photo in front of Hillary. It has clearly been blurred.) Blur and edit as you have to for national security purposes, but show us everything else. The most transparent White House ever should do no less.
But the White House is too clueless to get that. From a CBS report Patrick pointed me toward:
In an interview with Steve Kroft for this Sunday’s “60 Minutes,” President Obama says he won’t release post-mortem images of Osama bin Laden taken to prove his death.
“We don’t trot out this stuff as trophies,” Mr. Obama said.
So once again the President attributes base motives to his constituents, just as he did the “bitter clingers.” We don’t want it as a trophy, Mr. President. We want it to prove to the Muslim world that yes he is actually dead. And yes, I also suspect that for some Americans who lost loved ones in that attack, it won’t seem real until they see it. Don’t they deserve some closure?
But believe it or not, Obama didn’t say the dumbest thing on the subject. Republican House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers did. Oh boy he did.
Republican House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers said Wednesday that the Obama administration should not release the gruesome post-mortem images, saying it could complicate the job for American troops overseas. Rogers told CBS News he has seen a post-mortem photo.
“The risks of release outweigh the benefits,” Rogers said. “Conspiracy theorists around the world will just claim the photos are doctored anyway, and there is a real risk that releasing the photos will only serve to inflame public opinion in the Middle East.”
The flammable ones will get upset over a stick figure labeled “Mohammed.” They won’t need help.
But I haven’t gotten to the really dumb part:
“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,” Rogers continued. “Osama bin Laden is not a trophy – he is dead and let’s now focus on continuing the fight until Al Qaida has been eliminated.”
Um, Representative Rogers, they already have done exactly that. The terrorists put kill shots and videos of killing our troops on the internet all the time, you idiot. Frankly I am amazed that a guy chairing the House Intelligence Committee doesn’t know that.
And CBS gets this wrong, too:
Skeptics have called on the United States to release photos of bin Laden, who officials say was shot in the face during a raid on his compound, in order to prove that the al Qaeda leader is really dead.
No, it’s not just skeptics, but people who believe the president but are concerned that he is about to squander all value in the victory he attained. Why did we send our troops in there? I mean if we just wanted to kill him, we could have dropped a sufficiently large and deadly bomb on him and called it a day. It ain’t exactly a hardened bunker. So logically, sending in troops only makes sense if the purpose is to get the verified kill—to be sure we got him. But that verified kill, Mr. President, is useless unless we can convince people we actually got that kill.
But the President is in sanctimonious mode, now, and in my observation he is unlikely to change his mind once he gets there.
Update: This is from the very partial transcript on the subject:
KROFT: What was your reaction when you saw [the photos]?
OBAMA: It was him.
KROFT: Why haven’t you released them?
OBAMA: You know, we discussed this internally. Keep in mind that we are absolutely certain this was him. We’ve done DNA sampling and testing. And so there is no doubt that we killed Osama bin Laden.
Notice, he confuses the concept of proof to his satisfaction with proof to everyone else’s.
It is important for us 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.
Except that by showing that he was mortal and could be killed like anyone, it might incite them to less.
And then he pours on the insults:
As a propaganda tool. You know, that’s not who we are. You know, we don’t trot out this stuff as trophies. You know, the fact of the matter is this was somebody who was deserving of the justice that he received. And I think– Americans and people around the world are glad that he’s gone. But we don’t need to spike the football.
And I think that given the graphic nature of these photos, it would create some national security risk. And I’ve discussed this with Bob Gates and Hillary Clinton and my intelligence teams and they all agree.
KROFT: There are people in Pakistan, for example, who say, “Look, this is all a lie. Obama, this is another American trick. Osama’s not dead.”
OBAMA: You know, the truth is that and we — we’re monitoring worldwide reaction. There’s no doubt that Bin Laden is dead.
Um, Kroft just told you there was doubt.
Certainly there’s no doubt among al Qaeda members that he is dead.
Given you didn’t know what Kroft literally just told you, I will take that as seriously as it deserves to be.
And so we don’t think that a photograph in and of itself is going to make any difference.
Really? With none of them? Not even one? You know the Muslim world is not a monolith. They are not all the same.
There are going be some folks who deny it. The fact of the matter is, you will not see bin Laden walking on this Earth again.
And that is all CBS has released from the transcript.
Also, cribbing off Iowahawk, let’s remember how this works. Releasing pictures of the coffins of American soldiers is okay and won’t be useful as pro-al-Qaeda propoganda. Releasing pictures depicting prisoner abuse, won’t inflame the Muslim world. But releasing a picture of bin Laden shot in the eye and his brains blown out? No, no, we have to be more sensitive to them.
[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]