by Lee Cary
President Obama, who aims to avoid offending the Arab Street by withholding the photo of a dead Osama bin Laden, seems to care little about offending the American Street.
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...We don't trot out this stuff as trophies...The fact of the matter is, this is somebody who was deserving of the justice that he received...We don't need to spike the football... given the graphic nature of these photos it would create a national security risk.
The meta-message here is that we who walk the American Street are children, to be lectured by our all-knowing parents, told that, "You kids don't need to see this. It's only for us adults. It's too gruesome, and it'll make the people who liked the dead man mad at us for what we've done to him." This is told to Americans who are deluged daily by Hollywood, TV News, and videogame images of graphic gruesomeness.
Follow that logic, and TV news outlets, at the insistence of the Bush administration, should have censored the photos and films of the Twin Towers falling down. Blackened out those small, horrific images of people jumping off the top of burning buildings. And secured a court injunction to prohibit the New York Times, always sensitive of the American Street, from distributing photos of mortally wounded US soldiers. No problems with those pictures -- no danger of offending the Arab Street there.
The president says it's a national security risk to release the photo. He's as dead wrong as bin Laden is dead. For the greater risk to national security is in not displaying, for all to see, the Look of Justice on the face of what was Osama bin Laden. Americans have earned the right to look at the Face of Justice.
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