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May 5th, 2011
11:15 AM ET

Opinion: Obama's no-win decision on bin Laden photos

Editor's note: Rick "Ozzie" Nelson is the director of the Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a research organization.

(CNN) - President Barack Obama faced a no-win decision over whether to release photographs of Osama bin Laden's corpse. In the short term, the president was right not to make public the graphic images, because doing so might inflame public opinion in Muslim-majority countries and actually feed support for al Qaeda's agenda.

In the longer term, however, Obama may be forced to release the photos - with time, conspiracy theories are likely to mount, and the photos may eventually be leaked anyway. And, of course, visual proof of bin Laden's death would serve as a powerful endpoint in this chapter of American history.

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  1. jack in cincy

    I want every American to remember how they feel every time that the Twin Tower disaster is shown, and you can see the people jumping to the death. I want every American to remember how the felt when the dead bodies of our soldiers were dragged through the streets of Somalia and shown on T.V. That is the exact fuel that would be given to the terrorists if the death photo's bin laden were to be televised. The Presidet made the right decision.

    May 5, 2011 at 11:01 pm |