Topsy Turvy: Right and Left Pundits on Obama’s Decision Not to Release Bin Laden Photos

In a world gone weird, it turns out that I mostly agree with left-wing pundit and the host of The Young Turks, Cenk Uygur, on his opinion that President Obama should have released the photos to show his government’s transparency.

In contrast, I completely disagree with right-wing pundit Bill O’Reilly. Like Obama, O’Reilly believes releasing the photos could harm American troops. I could not disagree more.

O’Reilly really missed the ball on this one and Cenk got it (mostly) right.

What is the world coming to?

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About Sean Patrick Hazlett

Conservative clean energy crusader, national security hawk, financial analyst, engineer, and former military officer.
This entry was posted in Central Asia, Energy Security, International Security, Middle East, Policy, Politics, Terrorism, War and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Topsy Turvy: Right and Left Pundits on Obama’s Decision Not to Release Bin Laden Photos

  1. Charles McCormack says:

    You’ve got to be kidding. Uygur’s argument makes no sense, but his blabbering is entertaining. Using “transparency” as a reason is b.s. The real “need” to see the pictures is pure spectatorship. We love to watch, whether it’s an explosion, a tornado, or a car accident. The public has an insatiable hunger for blood and guts, just as it has for sex and celebrity. Bring back Anna Nicole Smith!!!

    • Turn the argument around. What is there to hide?

      • nickgb says:

        Nothing. Absolutely nothing. You have no evidence that there’s a cover up except for the non-disclosure of the image.

        Were you this curious at the Bush administration’s refusal to turn over attendance lists at energy task force meetings? Or the deleted emails about the attorney general firings? The claims of executive privilege?

        This is not that different than the birther story. There’s not a controversy, but people whine about wanting documents. When the white house says no, immediately it’s “What are they hiding?” And as we all learned from the birther garbage, the answer is “nothing”.

        • “You have no evidence that there’s a cover up except for the non-disclosure of the image.”

          Then the White House should provide a decent argument for why it won’t disclose the photos. As far as it seems to me, it is simply, “Because we can.”

          Frankly I am pretty pissed at the paternalism of this White House. They are treating us like children.

          “Were you this curious at the Bush administration’s refusal to turn over attendance lists at energy task force meetings? Or the deleted emails about the attorney general firings? The claims of executive privilege?”

          No, I wasn’t curious about the attendance lists at eneryg task force meetings in the last White House, but it is suspicious that they didn’t release them. They should have released this information. That said, the death of bin Laden is the culmination of ten years of terror and the President owes it to the American people to release the photos or at least to provide a satisfying explanation about why he is not releasing them.

          Some of my friends died as a result of bin Laden and I would like to put the issue at rest by seeing a photo of that creature’s death.

          For this President to claim that he does not want to offend the American people’s sensibilities is an insult to my friends, some of whom have had to gather the body parts of their comrades for burial. One friend literally had to carry an officer’s head back to his post, so that it could be returned home to the United States for burial. But, seeing a photo of body of America’s most hated villian will be too much for him to bear? C’mon.

          Many Americans need a release from ten years of terror. This President clearly does not understand that and for that, he is rapidly losing the goodwill he gained from this successful operation.

          I don’t think he is hiding anything. I just think he is being paternalistic and it really pisses me off.

          This is not even remotely like the birther movement. People just want to see more transparency in government after the Bush administration. This President promised this to get elected and is failing miserably on this count.

        • nickgb says:

          Sean,

          He’s never said we couldn’t handle the images. The reasons that the White House gave since Wednesday’s decision were announced are:
          1) It could incite attacks on Americans (troops or civilians)
          2) It could be used as a propaganda tool

          I know you disagree with #1, and there seems to be a legitimate debate between people with more information than either you or I have. I suspect you disagree with #2 as well, though we haven’t talked about it. But he’s not saying we couldn’t handle the photo, and he’s not being paternalistic.

          • nickgb,

            You are right about my view on #2. In fact, I think we could use it as a propaganda tool.

            Someone in his administration said something to the effect that the photos were too gruesome (it could have been the President himself or someone else), which I think is a paternalistic argument. I also think arguments #1 and #2 are very weak. Al Qaeda will attack US troops no matter what.

  2. I’ve always kind of liked “the Young Turks”.

    On the Daily Dish it was suggested how about video (would the seals have had helmet cams??) of OBL just before the kill shot as evidence to back up what we did.

    It might be less gruesome than some one shot in the head.

    • Scott Erb says:

      I don’t know, I’m comfortable with not giving in to pressure to somehow prove what no reasonable person doubts. Any continuation of this “debate” is far less intense and lasting than the coverage of any photos would be, and I don’t think Bin Laden is worth all the spectacle.

    • Bruce,

      The problem with releasing this footage is that it may reveal classified U.S. military weapons and tactics that could be useful to our enemies. Simple things like how the SEALs entered the building could reveal a lot (i.e., did they fast-rope in, did they blow a hole throught the wall, did they use weapons that our enemies have never seen before, etc.).

      I’d be happy with just the photo.

  3. pino says:

    President Obama should have released the photos to show his government’s transparency.

    I don’t think him not showing the picture is less transparent. We know what happened and we know he’s dead. I really just think that he doesn’t wanna show it because it’ll incite the Islamic extremists.

    For the same reason we didn’t need to show the prison pictures; we don’t need to show these.

  4. Moe says:

    You ask “What is the world coming to?”

    Why, it’s just where it should be – honest (mostly) arguments on both sides! From both sides. I like that.

    • Seriously.

      The Obama photo issue is one where there is little empirical evidence to support either point, so it just comes down to one’s opinion.

      That’s why we are all arguing about it until we are blue in the face. 😉

      • Moe says:

        Just heard that our gov’t used an army of people and copied pretty much EVERYTHING and has distributed it to governments around the world. Imagine you’re King Abdullah and it says right there that there are Al Quaeda in your governemnt. And all the other governments know about it cuz they have copies too! You’d HAVE to do something!

        This is kinda cool – some intersting days ahead I would think.

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