Photo of Osama Bin Laden Dead Won't Make Us Feel Any Better

osama bin ladenRumors of a reported photo of Osama Bin Laden dead are resurfacing today, and I'm not surprised. It makes sense that the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks would make us feel the need, again, for proof of the terrorist's destruction. But I don't think seeing the picture, if it does indeed exist, will actually make any of us feel better.

I guess it comes down to the reason why we want to see the grisly photographic evidence. Is it that we don't really believe he's dead? If I had lost a loved one on 9/11, I guess concrete evidence of Bin Laden's death might serve as some sort of closure. But as skeptical as I tend to be of anything and everything the government tells us, I don't think we're being lied to about this one -- I think Bin Laden is, in fact, dead.

So I think our desire to see the photo is about something else.


I think we want to see the stark brutality of Bin Laden's dead body with our own eyes because we crave the satisfaction of knowing he suffered for what he did to us. And you know, I don't generally condone violence but I'm gonna give us a a moral Get Out of Jail Free card on this one. It's a genuinely human, completely understandable urge.

The thing is, I don't think we'll actually get that satisfaction we're looking for from seeing the picture. A photo of Bin Laden's corpse won't tell us if he felt any remorse or regret at the moment of his death. It won't tell us if he ever experienced the slightest twinge of guilt, if he was afraid to die, if he was in as much physical pain at the end as his innocent victims were.

The horrible truth is that it's very possible Bin Laden's last moments were, in his mind, victorious. He no doubt thought of himself as a martyr, on his way to a glorious reward. In which case his death was just as infuriating and disgusting as his life.

Do you think seeing the photo of Osama Bin Laden dead would make you feel better?


Image via Seth Anderson/Flickr

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