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Legion calls for release of bin Laden photo

Featured in General News
Legion calls for release of bin Laden photo
A Pakistan army soldier stands on top of the house where it is believed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden lived in Abbottabad, Pakistan on Monday, May 2, 2011. AP Photo/Anjum Naveed

Osama bin Laden is dead. Of that, I have no doubt. To question this statement one would have to question the skill and bravery of the Navy SEALS and believe that the master terrorist who occasionally appeared in propaganda videos and audio recordings was capable of perpetually eluding all human and technological intelligence.

The unparalleled success of Sunday’s mission makes President Obama’s decision to not release the bin Laden “death photographs” especially confounding. When an event organizer cut off the sound to candidate Ronald Reagan during a debate with George H.W. Bush, Reagan famously said, “I paid for this microphone!”

Well, Mr. President, the American people paid for those photographs. More than a trillion dollars, in fact, if you include the cost of the Department of Homeland Security, two wars, and the care for more than 40,000 veterans who have been wounded in Afghanistan and Iraq.

President Obama said that “given the graphic nature of these photos it would create a national security risk.” I respectfully disagree.

Radical Islam creates the national security risk. There were no photographs that prompted the attacks on 9/11, the missile strike on the USS Cole or the bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Lebanon. Does anyone seriously believe that the terrorists will hate us less than they already do if the photos are not released? Will the “death to America” chants that have existed since the Iranian hostage crisis suddenly morph into love sonnets?

The American people are tired of walking on eggshells to placate a violent ideology that respects neither innocent civilians nor the amazing humanitarian work performed by our soldiers every day. The problem is not blasphemous cartoons or even misguided pastors burning Korans. It’s the people who react with barbarous acts of violence usually inflicted on innocents who had nothing to do with the original “offense.” Where does the First Amendment include exception clauses for cases that might incite radical Islamists? Mr. President, they hate us anyway.

The American Legion does not rejoice at any death. But let us remember what bin Laden has wrought. He is the reason more than 6,000 U.S. military families have buried loved ones lost in combat since 9/11. He is the reason our children are now groped in airports by security officials. He is the reason for the high level of mistrust between the overwhelming majority of peaceful Muslims and those of other faiths.

It is not about gathering trophies or “spiking the football,” as the president mischaracterized it. It’s about showing a replay to season ticket holders who were barred from entering the stadium.

The photos are no doubt bloody and graphic. But do you know what else is painful to see? The burns on the faces of patients at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Or the eyes of Michael Nordmeyer, the father of 21-year-old Zach Nordmeyer, a soldier and member of The American Legion who was killed in Iraq two years ago. It still pains most of us to look at images of firefighters running into the World Trade Center for the very last time.

There will be some who doubt the official version of bin Laden’s death whether the photographs are released or not. But not releasing this evidence would surely be adding steroids to these nonsensical conspiracy theories.

Some say the photographs will bring closure. Others see it as a need to satisfy a thirst for vengeance. I prefer to think of them as symbols of justice.

The raid on bin Laden’s hide-out is a truly great moment in American history.

Mr. President, release the photographs. We paid an enormous price for them.

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DavidinBedford

May 13, 2011 - 1:35pm

Commander Foster, The President of the United States made a decision. As ex-military, as I hope you are, you know to follow orders. You can complain about them, but if you ever spread those complaints to the unit, well... God help ya.. Sir, I think it's time you step down. DavidinBedford

early robinson

May 11, 2011 - 12:40pm

With due respect. To show those photos would put the USA on the same level as the animals that show the executions of our servicemen. To NOT release those photos would show respect for OUR cause that OUR troops are now sacraficing for and in turn showing respect for our troops. Further, it would add to the enemy cause of propaganda thus in turn adding to their strengths to commit war against us. We must control the moral high-ground. That is what set's us apart from the animals that we are now engaging in war. I am very upset however, that our media and our Govt keeps mouthing about our tactical operations. They are Top Secret. Loose Lips sink ships. I am totally amazed but also proud that the operation didn't leak out to begin with. So this is no time to swing our gonads and beat our chest. It's time to be more stealth and more lethal and get the rest of the bastards. Don't give em time to regroup. And if Pakistan isn't going to cooperate, stop the $ and take the nukes away!

ret_marine

May 10, 2011 - 8:51am

I joined the Legion because of its' support of our military and veterans. It didn't matter if you were democrat, republican, left, right or center, if you cared about veterans the Legion had a place for you. I believe that under our current National Commander, that has changed. Over the last year, he has used his position in the Legion to comment on a number of political issues that were extremely partisan and had nothing to do with veterans issues. I can only assume that he has the tacit approval of the NEC and Legion staff. I have "voted with my feet" and returned my Legion membership card to National Headquarters.

VASONSCHIP

May 10, 2011 - 3:06am

Without getting into which "side" I am on about the release or non release of the photos I want to comment on the "This is just Commander Foster's opinion." I have spoken to a number of folks who were at the Spring National Executive Committee meetings. They told me that it was their understanding that the "Staff" at the HQ were well aware of the comments. Since they were sent out by the Public Relations department, I assume that the Legion stands behind them. Also, from what I have been told by folks who were there, the general feeling of the the people at the meeting was very supportive of the comments. They shared the new cocktail which has been invented, the Bin Laden-two shots and a splash of water. (Direct quote!!) So,it is important to understand that Commander Foster was NOT just expressing his own private opinions. Trust me, Legion (and Sons of the American Legion) Commanders (National, State) ARE NOT ALLOWED to express their private opinions without "approval"

mikeman46

May 9, 2011 - 12:51pm

There will always be a number of folks who will complain no matter what is done. I agree that the commander of the legion should not let his personal views on this subject be posted on the internet. But then that is my opinion.

Gary L. Winn

May 8, 2011 - 9:34pm

Why do I get the impression that Cmdr. Foster is voicing his own political agenda (Right-wing conservative) rather than what most Legion members would voice, about the release of the pictures showing bin Laden's blown-out head? Two things: 1, reading most of the opinions in this blog, and 2, listening to what other right-wing nuts are saying in general. In my opinion, it is totally inappropriate for the Commander of OUR organization to put his own politically motivated slant on this matter. Further, to state that his views are essentially the Legion's position, is a presumption that borders on fascism. I think the Commander would better serve OUR organization by keeping his personal ideologies and comments to himself. There IS a real possibility that pictures of bin Laden's mutilated body could provoke more fervor amongst his followers - resulting in more American soldier's deaths. And for what purpose? To satisfy the prurient curiosity of a few doubting knuckleheads? NO WAY!

John M Dowley

May 8, 2011 - 5:02pm

How does the release of these pictures do anything to placate a violent ideology? It would do nothing except lead to more violnce and hatred. The Legion is way off base with these comments and apparently blind to the terrible and totally unnecessary message the release would send. I am dissappointed in the National Commander.

RWRogers

May 8, 2011 - 6:17pm

Mr. Dowley, do you really think our purpose should be to "placate a violent ideology"? Sir, there is no placating a violent terrorist hell bent on killing you and your family. That's what they do! Whether or not the photos are released, those believers of your "violent ideology" will continue in their attacks. Destroying them first is the only prudent choice we have. I'm not dissapointed in Commander Foster, Mr. Dowley; but, I am very dissapointed in your misguided thinking.

John M Dowley

May 8, 2011 - 5:02pm

How does the release of these pictures do anything to placate a violent ideology? It would do nothing except lead to more violnce and hatred. The Legion is way off base with these comments and apparently blind to the terrible and totally unnecessary message the release would send. I am dissappointed in the National Commander.

Jack Walsh

May 8, 2011 - 12:29pm

How does anyone know who lied, and about what. In regards to Former President George W. Bush. Maybe he had incorrect Intel. Only God knows who is telling the truth. About releasing the pictures of Bin Laden I think it would be rubbing salt into a wound. The war on TERRORIST has been going on for neon's. That war will never be over. Our government is out of control yes. However, election time is drawing near and we need Godly people to turn America around asap. The American people voted these officials in and they apparently did not voice their opinion on how our country was being run years ago. Our leaders need to go back and figure out when America started doing the out sourcing our jobs to other country's, look at when the government started over spending. Our country is a mess. What happened to our values? Why did they think it was OK to take GOD out of the equation?

courage9

May 7, 2011 - 10:37pm

WHAT??? Release the bloody photo's?? Are you kidding me?? Are we that stupid?? Those photos will do absolutely nothing to protect my men and women. To the contrary, it will only insight fury. We, as Americans, are better than that!! To show the triumphs of a bloody battle is what our enemies do. NOT Americans!! Have we already forgot the unbridled hatred we ALL felt when we saw images of our dead being paraded on TV? We ALL called them barbaric!!! We need to shut the hell up, and allow it to slowly become a memory! I keep seeing people begging for the photo's! How sick are YOU?? You certainly are not risking YOUR life with your words, but you are risking the lives of my Marines who are currently deployed! Mr Commander RESIGN! Or don't! I really don't care. I have burnt my card and bid you fair winds after 38 years. You have brought this organization to it's lowest point in history, and if they keep you...they deserve it.

Dawg1

May 7, 2011 - 8:13pm

Commander Foster may opine as he chooses. However. release of the bin Laden photos would have been inappropriate and dangerous.

courage9

May 7, 2011 - 10:26pm

This Commander is a laughing joke!! He does not speak for me, nor the 1000's of others who once believed in this organization. I have burnt my card and wish you all well!! But to remain with a Organization that is endangering the lives of my Marines...I MUST say have a long life...:(

1110patrol

May 7, 2011 - 11:52am

I concur with comments previously made stating that our organization should not be used in a partisan manner... Policy, whether we like it or not, is the U.S. Commander and Chief's call... NOT OURS! We should not waste "hard earned" Legion political capital on such an obvious, no win, shoot from the hip, partisan stance. One less tyrant is on the earth and we should rally behind the Commander and Chief... PERIOD! Let's tread more carefully in the future. Our sacrifices, as well as those who went before us and currently serve, deserve our "seasoned judgement". I strongly encourage anyone else who felt offended by our Commanders momentary laspe in good judgement only think of a time when we did the same. The Legion will overcome this insult and we must all continue to stand by what is right and just. You cannot quit... Quiting is not an option of us. Commander...Please remember that we (The American Legion) take the high road. Remember, you represent us all.

RWRogers

May 7, 2011 - 6:20pm

1110patrol, The American Legion is not a U.S. armed services active duty branch or organization. Therefore, the President, no matter who he and/or she is, is not it's Commander In Chief. Every member of The American Legion has a right to question the President of the United States by virtue of "We The People" You say we should not waste "hard earned" Legion political capital"; but, on the other hand you state that "our organization should not be used in a partisan manner. Make up your mind, you can't have it both ways. And, 1110patrol, I was raised to understand the high road is the road to truth, even though the truth may not be politically correct, or not popular. The Commander did take the high road in this case. There is not one bit of untruth in the Commander's writing. Ya'll need to wake up and remember what your citizenship means. That's what I served to protect.

onedollar

May 7, 2011 - 10:01am

Commander Foster, waking up this morning and reading about Osama bin Laden photos, very disappointing to me. I agree with others, I didn't join The American Legion for a political stance, for me its about service. If my memory serves me correct, the Commander In Chief made a decision, HONOR that as a soldier and move on. I believe with the craziness of the budget The American Legion can focus on honoring past and present veterans by providing documentation of cuts Congress is pushing against Armed Services.

hamstroo

May 7, 2011 - 8:16am

And u and your kids see our troops every day they show the ones that are in some hospitals disfigured missing limbs etc. do you think them pics. and videos should be shown?

houckjam

May 7, 2011 - 8:15am

With all due respect, Commander, your time would be better spent in the service of veterans and active duty military personnel. I joined the American Legion, not the John Birch Society. I see no reason whatsoever why the Legion should take a position on this issue. I urge you to rescind this call. This is a political issue which you have no business engaging us in. I'm thoroughly disgusted !!!!

tamitch

May 7, 2011 - 4:40am

Just remember every other time W said we killed him he always showed up with a video with a newspaper with a date to prove he was still alive and well, so where's the video? My kids see enough death just from the regular news, they don't need to see any extra from the wars or from Bin Laden photos being published. The sad thing is good old "W" told us for years Bin Laden was in Pakistan, yet he did nothing about it I guess he didn't want to end his war too early. Instead of talking about some stupid photos why aren't we talking about the the safety of our troops, shouldn't the commander be wondering if our troops are going be safe and are going to come home to their families?

tamitch

May 7, 2011 - 4:13am

I am beginning to think I joined the wrong American Legion. We makes anyone think we have the right to view these photos much less demand that we must be shown them because we "paid for them", why not walk up and knock on the front door of the White House with your suit case in your hand and say "I'm moving in because I'm an American and I've paid for this house so I can." I sure hope the commander retracts his statement or sadly membership will decline all because he wants his opinion to the voice of the Legion, well it's not going to be mine where do I resign?

nahenry

May 6, 2011 - 11:42pm

I am totally against the release of his death photos. It only serves the followers of an outlaw. All self respecting Americans should realize this! In order to mourn him they must just go to the sea, there is no landmark!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

LTCErnest

May 6, 2011 - 8:59pm

I have a slighly differest take on why the Photos of bin Laden should not be released. I have seen enough blood and body parts littering a field to do me for 3 lifetimes. I have no wish to see gruesome pictures, not have them inflicted upon my family.

hamstroo

May 7, 2011 - 8:27am

You and everyone else see are troops that have been blown up shot disfigured missing limbs they show every day on news, do you think that is right, why not show the dead idiot that had a part in all that mutilation?

imdaemon

May 6, 2011 - 9:28pm

To LTCERnest, Yours had to have been the most thoughtful and most powerful voice of reason on this forum. Anyone can argue with THAT?

imdaemon

May 6, 2011 - 6:21pm

"The American Legion does not rejoice at any death". Your intent shows quite the contrary. You compare the showing of the photos to a SPORTING event. Rightly did the President use the same analogy. And please, such a right-wing to say: the American people (opinion follows). Yes, we all maybe tired of placating violent terrorists, but you know what else we are tired of? War on terror, and your constant defense of those who would want to keep the embers of Jihadist anger burning. Burning Koran not an issue? I do belive that it is a fact that THAT SINGLE IRRESPONSIBLE ACT inflamed the murderous crowd in Baghdad. One more thing: why didn't you ever call for the release of the security camera photos from the hit on Pentagon on 9/11? It would defuse the truther's bomb, no? I'm not saying it was an inside job, but those same people who paid for the Osama death pictures also dearly paid for the 9/11 security ones. Let's be consistent here lest we lose our credibility.

imdaemon

May 6, 2011 - 6:09pm

"But let us remember what bin Laden has wrought. He is the reason more than 6,000 U.S. military families have buried loved ones lost in combat since 9/11".- National Commander Jimmie L. Foster. With all due respect, sir, and Bin Laden's crimes notwithstanding, GEORGE WALKER BUSH is the reason behind the 6K+ soldiers lost in combat. He started an illegal war in Iraq, for which there have been no evidence, nor did ANYONE ever prove Saddam Hussein's involvement in 9/11. Please do not insult our intelligence by attempting to rewrite history. We all know that the American Legion is a conservative organization who tolerates liberal views because there are actually liberal veterans out there, but please don't make it so blatantly obvious. With that one false statement you are showing your right-wing bias. Next thing you know you will attempt to write an article about usefulness of torture, which I hope you won't. Someone here said it best: quit speaking on our behalf about a partisan issue

musictomyears_obldead

May 6, 2011 - 5:44pm

Why not release the photos? OBL sat there cheered and watched the WTC fall. People were dying in front of our eyes on Live TV. Radical Muslims are radical muslims and a photo (of a very dead OBL) isn't going to change that fact or their behavior.

vetcounselor

May 6, 2011 - 4:22pm

I am happy to see some sensible people comment on the forum who think we can salvage the perception of the American Legion as an 'old white guys drinking club'. Todays military is composed of men and women of all colors, ethnicities and backgrounds. A Veteran is a Veteran is a Veteran. I am proud of the WWI Vets that started this organization. Frank Buckles, our last WWI Vet died recently at 114 and the last French WWI Vet died the other day at 110. Not enough WWII vets and Korean Vets are reaching out enough to welcome women and minorities Vets of Iraq and Afghanistan. Many VN Vets have been struggling for decades with the pain of their return from war 40+ years ago. DON'T GET ME WRONG ... some Posts have adhered to the Preamble and did what they were supposed to ... I said NOT ENOUGH HAVE! If you want to have an 'old white guys drinking club'... FINE ...GO START ONE ... but don't hide behind the US FLAG and TAX-EXEMPT STATUS and call it the AMERICAN LEGION! BTW ... I'm an OWG!

Dwallin60

May 6, 2011 - 3:47pm

1. Wife said, “A soul sent to burn in eternity in hell with no possibility of repentance is no joy for me!” 2. He was buried too quickly(at sea) making it suspect whether the Navy Seals could DNA him so quickly. 3. I thought proper Muslim burial is with the body facing Mecca, not Neptune! 4. Bin Laden’s fate has been SEALED by the Seals, but is this a “political stunt” by POTUS to end the birther controversy? 5. Bin Laden was product of a religious ideology that did not die with his death. 6. Maybe it’s all about Hope, since we all have is hope Obama’s telling the truth; isn't the “proof” in the ocean. 7. Putting Islam and "loving" Christianity into some kind of snarky parity in at sea burial is laughable. 8. Torturing detainees at Guantanamo were CONTINUALLY AND VIGOROUSLY OPPOSED by Obama all his life, but now they "worked" to find bin Laden? What happened to America's soul? 9. 40M GIs wounded

imdaemon

May 6, 2011 - 9:24pm

8. Torturing detainees at Guantanamo were CONTINUALLY AND VIGOROUSLY OPPOSED by Obama all his life, but now they "worked" to find bin Laden? No sir, you need to stop listening to Tax Evading Amerikkkons and the Faux News and get some facts. You all need to get this straight: NO torture-induced testimony produced link to Osama's wherebouts. Countless of military INTERROGATORS have said that torture does not produce any useful intelligence and that SMART PSYCHOLOGICAL interrogation has and continues to produce such. But you just like parrots repeat whatever you heard without worrying about that little inconvenient minor obstruction called PROOF. Prove it. Clue: Con talk show hosts's word is NOT proof positive.

Roger.ramos

May 6, 2011 - 11:53am

This is not the same enemy that is of our past. This is a group of people who will use any photo or event etc… as a rally cry to create a new uprising and awake dormant terror cells located in the US and world. We release those photos and we will be playing right into the terrorists’ game plan. Is the Muslim world demanding to see these photos? So far they are being quiet and see this as a closing on the Bin Laden age, as so should we. Yes there will be small cells that think he is still alive, but this occurred with Hitler. If the Photos are released and a new chaos erupts amongst the terrorist cells, will the Commander write a retraction or write a letter on how Obama has killed more American Military members. I just have this feeling the National Commander has done no research on the tactics and thought process of current terrorists. If he did you would have never wrote such a letter and let this history be buried at sea.

Low-Light

May 6, 2011 - 11:50am

Easy with all the reverse-racsism, folks... I for one, did not vote for Clinton any more than I voted for B. Hussein Obama. The fact of the matter there is that Clinton allowed Osama bin Laden to live and thrive. Sure, George W. was fed semi-truths and false information from tricky "Dick", but he was a cowboy and that was what America needed at the time...a cowboy. Someone who does what he thinks is best and isn't afraid to stand up for others. This is not a race issue and people are not angered about B. Hussein Obama about being black. They're angered because he only promised "change", and without explaining what that "change" would be, you get what you have nowadays...2+ years' worth of more debt, broken programs, and a non-moral, non-ethical military. You got your change, and I hope your feet taste good in your mouth as America's children go hungry for food and employment! By the way, had the Republican party backed Colin Powell, I would have backed him in a heartbeat...

imdaemon

May 6, 2011 - 9:16pm

Your ENTIRE statement combined with your total luck of history as well as, if not MAINLY because you support the Republicon party, who has been killing my public schools, starving our children and feeding corporations and the rich with OUR money since Reagan while allowing unregulated, out-of-control Wall Street to rob us blind, the party who has no heart or morals and whose not a single member cares for anyone whose not rich, the party that has to resort to tyranny of overriding people's will (Snot Walker) and violence (Snot Walker) to remain in office, the party that keeps conservative middle class stupid blind and voting against their best interest, that fact, and the fact that you won't acknowledge any of it, is precisely the reason why I stand behind my every word about your ilk's racist attacks. Again, you would NOT do it to a white guy. And for the record: Obama DID plainly explain what he was about to do and what he meant by change. You either didn't listen or are in denial

colobull

May 6, 2011 - 11:49am

Photos of people killed would only cause more issues no matter how much you have cleaned them up. For those who have been in combat and have seen the photos from after the operations they understand that it would be a bad idea. The commander is out of touch with his members. I will have to truely think whether I will be renewing my membership when it comes due I might have to just stick with my VFW membership at this point.

stodolaj1

May 6, 2011 - 11:19am

It appears that the commander is out of touch with not only his enemies, but with his command as well. If he had a true understanding of his enemy, he would know that by showing the photos, it would without a doubt give tham even more of a reason to hate and attack us through an ever increasing frequency. These folks whom we call our enemy do not need any further incitement or reasons to continue their reign of terror against us. They already hate us for many reasons, mainly because the koran tells them to. Mr. Foster apprarently does not realize that by showing the photos, we are simply taunting them to "bring it on " as it were, not to mention the fact that it will further elevate OBL's status as a martyr, which will even further serve to inflame their hatred for us and their chosen cause. If you do not believe in the abilities of our special operations teams, then shame on you, they are the best in the world. He is dead, we do not need to see it.

imdaemon

May 6, 2011 - 9:04pm

They already hate us for many reasons, mainly because the koran tells them to. Sorry to bust your bubble but you can make the same argument with the old testament bible, which, by the way, they embrace as well. I won't quote any passages but pretty much the entire conquest of Canaan would entirely suffice, especially with the Jehovah's command to "kill them all, women, children and elders and leave none alive", excuse me, "leave women for SLAVES" (to be later raped as we find out from further reading). So you see two can play both games good and evil.

bob kovitz

May 6, 2011 - 11:05am

I am pleasantly surprised at the great number of AL members who take issue with the Commander's point of view. It is time for this generation to step forward, assume leadership, and move AL from its WWII mentality toward a more rational, thoughtful approach to public policy (if, in fact, that is the role of the AL--a subject that is open to debate).

Hunterdog54

May 6, 2011 - 10:12am

I agree. History proves that showing graphic pictures of dead people does not "prove" anything to anyone. It can serve no good, and most possibly be of harm. And, as others have mentioned, it is not proper for any ONE of us to use The American Legion organization to put forth private political views or feelings. Knowing how many previous vets do not like talking about their military battle experiences with "civilians", I do not believe this stance would be one taken by most members. Either way, it is not Legion business, and has in no way been voted on or endorsed. Please retract the statement.

Germ

May 6, 2011 - 9:52am

It's time to change the Legion leadership. Start locally. Nobody in the arab world of any credit is questioning he is dead. Even the Al Qeada folks that are left acknowledged he is dead. His Wife said he is dead. Why do we need the pictures?

brentrn

May 6, 2011 - 9:33am

My first reaction on May 1 was to want to see the photos. Why? Because I wanted the satisfaction of seeing the bastard dead. This is a genuine emotion for many of us, plus it sends a message not mess with us. But after that, what is gained? Our troops are in predominately Muslim countries all over the world. Displaying his corpse like a trophy will, at best, not help our relationship with Muslims, and more likely make it worse. As a veterans group that is concerned with the welfare of active duty troops how can any argument be made that release of the photos will make their lives safer?

Chantero

May 6, 2011 - 9:26am

Totally agree.

armorel

May 6, 2011 - 9:05am

Folks, one of the greatest things to come out of WW1 is the American Legion. Helping veterans was our first love and the entire membership was united behind that cause. We seem to have settled into a routine of griping and complaining about everything from what day we hold our meetings to who got elected to a post position, even to who looked at me wrong. United we stand and divided we shall surely fall. We need all hands on deck to save this great ship - white hands, black hands, yellow hands, foreign hands and native hands. But mostly we need work hands. The "Greatest Generation" is quickly dwindling in numbers. It is up to the "Now Generation" to step up and show everyone that we can put up or shut up. I say "Now Generation" because it is now our turn in line so we best move on up in line, go to the back of the line or get out of the line entirely. I am so proud of the men and women I served with in the Navy from 1969-1989. I will be just as proud of them as "Now Legionnaires"

RI.Vet

May 6, 2011 - 3:15pm

I am very disappointed with the Commander for writing this article. It should be renamed "Legion Commander calls for Release of Photos" since it is clear from the comments that this article does not speak for a large number of fellow Legion comrades. We can each have a personal opinion. As a public figure representing an entire organization, that opinion should remain silent. This is a major blunder for the American Legion. You can clearly see the controversy and other political issues it is dredging up...for ANYONE to see. If this were a private website, the article and blog comment might foster discussion. To place this on the public website which is our window to the world is embarrasing, unprofessional, and does nothing to promote goodwill towards our organization. It is quite damaging to our reputation and acts as a lightning rod for judging as to "What is the the American Legion about." A more appropriate topic would have been "Legion is Proud of Seal Team Victory."

vetcounselor

May 6, 2011 - 8:44am

... anyone who does not have the same attitude as YOU in Brainerd, MI should fear for his or her personal safety ... you're a moron and just the kind of person that is pulling this Legion down. I wonder what the breakdown of your Post is? Is it even ... or lopsided with 'old white guys'? Todays military is men and women of all colors and backgrounds. Maybe you're fortunate and more power to you Hercules but a lot of Legion Posts are 'old beer drinkin', tough talkin' white guys'. And if you want to have an 'old tough talkin' white guys beer drinkin' club then 'GO FOR IT ... just don't hide behind the Flag and tax-exempt status and call it the American Legion. Thats my story and I'm stickin' to it ... BTW I'm an 'old white guy'.

J N Esau

May 6, 2011 - 8:38am

The release of the death photo of bin Laden will do more harm than they will do good. Those who do not believe he is dead will not accept the photo. Those who know he is dead do not need the photo. Let us continue our fight against the terrorists until all people are free to make whatever choice they want.

Brian Hand

May 6, 2011 - 8:37am

I don't see how anyone wanting the photos of Bin Laden has anything to do with racism toward the CinC. To suggest that it does, shows a high level of prejudice on the part of those making that accusation. You may not believe it but most people don't care what color the President is, and it is just as racist to support someone based on race as it is to oppose them on that basis. As for the pictures, I think that the seeing the photos of hundreds of flag draped American coffins is more likely to embolden a terrorist than pictures of Bin Laden dead. Frankly, the later is more likely to demoralize them and send a strong message that we will track down and kill anyone who attacks us. If peaceful moderate Muslims did not follow Bin Laden, then they will not be inflamed by seeing his dead face, they should be satisfied to know he is gone. It stands to reason that those who lash out because of it, are supporters, let's just call that target aquisition!

oneohiolady

May 6, 2011 - 8:32am

Commander, your political support is showing...don't you think that in your role as the head of this valuable organization you should keep your opinions to yourself? At the very least, if you choose to give your opinion, make sure you say it is YOURS and not OURS!!!!

edmahar

May 6, 2011 - 8:29am

Commander Foster, butt out. If your concern is truly that the "People paid for these" then why not demand the release of every re-con photo ever taken, and while you're at it, insist that the Presidents daily security briefings be broadcast for all the people to see, complete with the latest top secret satellite photos after all WE paid for those too. Absurd, Stick too your business.

vetcounselor

May 6, 2011 - 8:18am

If you don't know who I am you will shortly. I am a twice past Commander and a former top Illinois Army National Guard recruiter in Chicago. My Post Commander is seeking to expel me because I brought charges against him for telling me no blacks or women were welcome for membership. It is exactly that 'old white guy' mentality that we have all over the American Legion that is killing us. I know you're all 'fired up' after the raid but you sure don't make it any easier for me to try to bust down that 'old white guy' impression some people have of the American Legion and rebuild the strongest Veterans Organization with ALL Veterans of ALL eras, especially we should reach out to embrace all the Iraq and Afghanistan Vets and everyone in between, men and women of ALL backgrounds. You know hard, old attitudes exist at many little, old Posts and what are we supposed to do ... let them die out, one by one or rebuild them, even stronger. Don't make it any harder.

imdaemon

May 6, 2011 - 8:12am

Isn’t that horrible? You have multinational corporations to fund a campaign against ONE black man and he kicks your butt and takes your names. Can you taste the defeat? Does it taste bitter on your tongue? Good. We will take back OUR country from you again, like we did so many times before. Our BLACK FDR appears to be waking up and run you scared and I couldn’t be any happier about that. I may have stepped on some toes here, but I offer no apology. The offense is much intended. Suck it up and drive on. Proud Veteran of the so called Operation Iraqi Freedom (if you disregard all the killing and nuking of innocent Iraqis, of course)

imdaemon

May 6, 2011 - 8:11am

If it were, and the overwhelming evidence is to the fact that it wasn’t, I don’t care what you hear on Corporate Fox News , if it were W who got Bin Laden you and the whole world would sing praises and worship at the former’s feet like you did for the past 8 years and many of you still do. You cannot absolutely stand the fact that YOUR president had at least THREE opportunities in 8 years to get Bin Laden and he REFUSED every time, but a BLACK, we the people chosen President got him just in his first term, merely 3 years after having been DEMOCRATICALLY (as opposed to corporatically as was the case with W) elected, with minimal resources and cost and maximum planning and effort.

imdaemon

May 6, 2011 - 8:09am

Oh, but Obama divided the nation. Nope, that would be W, who I can’t even call the worst president in the U.S. history who hated, absolutely HATED us, veterans (see the case of Agent Orange claims, and how he still got an American Hero award from American Legion, just like Hoover got one for slaughtering homeless veterans in the ‘30s), I can’t call him that because he was an illegitimate occupant of the white house. But if he were legal, I would, because the man had a TREMENDOUS opportunity to unite the country after 9/11. The world was at his feet. All he had to do is ask for help from other nations and ask for help from Americans. But like a dictator, excuse me, DECIDER, that he was he acted alone AND divided the country alienating us from the world in the process, creating MORE terrorism and giving our enemies more recruiting tools. Again, blame it all on the BLACK guy not the old homicidal, sociopath B-rate cowboy.

imdaemon

May 6, 2011 - 8:08am

Further, you have absolutely NO respect for any religion or spirituality other than YOUR OWN brand of Christianity. All Muslims, Jews, Agnostics and Atheists and “bad Christians” should just get out, right? This is one nation under god, no? Since 1956, anyway, when Congress made a law regarding the establishment of religion by putting the phrase in the already EXTRACONSTITUTIONAL pledge of allegiance. That is why you can’t respect any statesman who is not a Christian, even though Obama is. But, again, he is not YOUR brand of Christian so he must be an infidel.

imdaemon

May 6, 2011 - 8:04am

You Republicons are such hypocrites. When YOUR Republicon Supine Court elected over the will of the American people George W. Bush Jr. LIED to you and me about the Weapons of Mass Destruction THAT was okay. When he LIED about the torture THAT was okay. When he LIED about having any kind of plan for Iraq strategy THAT was okay. You didn’t need any proof, his word was enough and you and Rush Limbo were telling us to “leave the president alone”. When W ran the national deficit into the stratosphere benefiting mostly large multinational, and therefore Non-American, corporations, THAT was okay. You raised the debt ceiling FOUR times by yourself with TOTAL control of all three branches of government, and TWICE WITH the Democrats, but now, o gosh, we gotta fix the budget and we can’t raise the debt ceiling, blablabla blame everything on the BLACK guy again.

Hercules1944

May 6, 2011 - 7:20am

Hey, I don't know of one person that shed any tears when Saddam swung from the rope. Proof positive that Bin Laden is dead should be paramount for POTUS. PROVE it to the world POTUS. This is what you eventually get when you mess with the USA, period, end of discussion. We do not need endless discussion about whether the vermin is really dead or not like with the Hitler myth. He's dead, period, you Jihadist terrorist fruitcakes. Deal with it. Oh yeah, we taint going to quit hounding you down either.

jayblaze

May 6, 2011 - 2:18pm

In case you forgot, Saddam Hussien was tried, convicted and hung by the Iraqi people, not us.

Ken Irvine

May 6, 2011 - 7:09am

I write to join the other Legionnaires who have written in to disagree with the position taken by Commander Foster on this issue. I also have concerns about the National Headquarters or National Commander issuing statements about what the Legion believes on certain issues when there is certainly a variety of opinions within the membership. The American Legion needs to stay focused on its main mission. In this instance it is clear that Commander Foster had strong personal feelings on this issue. I support his right to express those opinions but disagree when it appears that this is a unanimous opinion of all members of the American Legion.

mtr351

May 6, 2011 - 6:39am

comrade commander you are wrong to bring politics into our legion .we donot dictate policy.that's not what we do.I have considered droping out of the legion because ofYOU bringing politics into your office and our organization.if you want to comment on this subject please do it somewhere else.I dropped out of the legion 20 yeas ago becase of politics don't make me do it again. michael richardson post#162 lemay,mo.

brl312

May 6, 2011 - 6:39am

Show the pics, but you morons will do and say anything to make Obama look good. Pres. Bush is the real hero. Obama is a glory grabber. Go Seals.

jayblaze

May 6, 2011 - 2:20pm

Bush was and is a big a doofus a you! He' he' he' Fool me once, ughhhhh, betcha can't do it again. lmao

jqmarcum

May 6, 2011 - 8:13am

Look, I support our President just like I supported President Bush when he was in office. People that do so are not morons. President Bush didn't get OBL, our current Commander in Chief issued the orders that did. President Obama deserves credit for that. It's tiring to hear the ignorant rants of either the right or the left spew their hatred and act as if any of our elected officials are the enemy and those who support their views are somehow less patriotic. And as for showing the photo as proof? The guy's dead thanks to effort and decisions made by our President. I trust his judgement that releasing the photos adds no value and even released, those who want to believe bin Laden is alive will still do so. We don't need additional proof. You and the Legion Commander need to grow up.

hjnicols

May 6, 2011 - 5:51am

ARE YOU NUTS! Do you remember the anger you felt when you saw the photos of Arabs celebrating the fall of the Twin Towers, the anger and rage at the videos of executions of Daniel Pearl and others? So, now you want the President to release photos of a dead enemy combatant? Plain and simple that is a bad idea. Obama is right and you sir are wrong. Dead wrong. You should be ashamed. I am disappointed and embarrassed! Releasing photos of dead people is not who I am and i am sorry that it may be who you are. Again, shame on you!

1ascarter

May 6, 2011 - 2:35am

This is one time that you need to turn to the scriptures and find out what God's word says. Proverbs 15:1 says, "A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger." We've all heard that "a picture is worth a thousand words." How many more words do you need to incite additional hatred? You need to believe in something. Well, believe in the Word. Don't put a picture in their minds.

jimmoniz

May 6, 2011 - 1:36am

With all due respect, the Commander does not represent me in this matter. His argument is chock-full of emotion, patriotic imagery, etc. It also lacks a single tangible, practical reason for making the photos available. I'm disappointed.

Sclaus4

May 6, 2011 - 1:32am

I noticed that the related article on the American Legion website, "V-O Day" by Alan Dowd managed to celebrate the death of Osama bin Laden with no mention of the role played by President Obama, or the extensive criticism he would surely have received had the mission been unsuccessful. In you article, you mention the President only when voicing your disapproval of him. This tells me more than I want to know about your personal political leanings and absolutely nothing about the many possible reasons for not releasing the photos. Furthermore, your overly dramatic statement,"Mr. President, release the photographs. We paid for them.", trivializes the efforts and ongoing sacrifices of our entire military over the past ten years. I doubt that many veterans served in the military in hopes of seeing some photos. Please stop using veterans and your position with the American Legion to promote your personal political agenda. I mean this respectfully, of course.

dxtalkerdxtalker

May 6, 2011 - 1:32am

THE PRESIDENT IS ABSOLUTELY RIGHT 'THATS NOT WHO WE ARE' OUR GOAL WAS SET- OUR JOB IS DONE- ITS TIME TO MOVE ON TO MORE IMPORTANT THINGS NOW

DavidsTwist

May 6, 2011 - 1:37am

,

DavidsTwist

May 6, 2011 - 1:29am

The poll concerning the photo's is a farce. Polls are only worth while if they aren't skewed, which this one is. The photo's don't need to be released. What purpose would it serve? Perhaps the photo's would convince some conspirest but then again they will just say it was photo shopped. Worst case scenario is that it pisses some extremists off and ends up getting another of our brothers/sisters killed. Leave the photo's where they are at they would only do more harm than good. Additionally I don't really appreciate the voice the Commander had in regards to this subject he doesn't speak for this Vet.

DonGee1955

May 6, 2011 - 12:46am

I respectfully disagree . . Whereas I celebrate the execution of man's law being served & am very thankful this hatred-fueled monster cannot initiate any more violence against innocents . . my christian faith appears clear on NOT celebrating another human's death!! . Though . . honestly . . this is one of the hardest tests of that faith!! . When "Next of Kin" need to witness an execution to achieve closure . . I agree to it and hope it helps them to move on . . but . . I always worry we're just stoking a fire of rage that ONLY benefit's Satan and erodes the Holy Spirit in the Next-of-Kin!! . I know there's a tendency to believe we all have suffered from this monster & all need the closure of viewing his demise!! . but . . honestly this doesn't appear to rise above revenge & voyeurism!! . This tactical record should be kept for historical reference and only be released for that purpose!! . Thank You, Don G. Stivers

markalanwall

May 6, 2011 - 12:36am

YOU CLEARLY HAVE NOT REPRESENTED YOUR MEMBERS PLEASE RETRACT YOUR POSITION ON PUBLICATION OF OBL PHOTOS

One Choctaw Veteran

May 6, 2011 - 12:58am

Retract!

jayblaze

May 6, 2011 - 12:39am

Retract!!

jayblaze

May 6, 2011 - 12:34am

As my football coach used to say, "act like you've been there before and win with some class."

pvarland1

May 6, 2011 - 12:24am

i still believe the photos should be released. I believe that Bin Laden and his followers thought he would never be caught. No, they wouldn't be happy about a photo release, but I don't like the idea of walking on eggshells to respect their feelings. Whatever we do, the Islamic extremists will hate us anyway. Last time I checked we still have freedom of the press here. Also, I was disappointed that President Bush wasn't in New York with Obama to talk with the survivors of 911. This couldn't have happened without his faithful commitment to protecting us.

jayblaze

May 6, 2011 - 5:41am

Mr Foster, I don't know what your political views are, I can only speculate. That said, please don't use the bully pulpit of our organization to vent them in our name. I and many clear thinking vets, agree with and respect the President's decision not to incite terrorists by putting the photos on display. Did we vote on this? Was there a survey that I missed? No, this was your view and I feel you've exploited your position as commander. Who really wants to see photos of someone who's been shot in the forehead at point blank range with a military assault rifle? Gruesome/morbid is probably an understatemnt. This man has zealots who darn near worship him and have already killed for him many times over. His death has riled them up enough as it is. Those pics will only serve as propaganda and red meat for an already blood thirsty bunch of murdererous nut jobs. Our job of fighting them is hard enough. He's gone(good) and this fight against extremism is not over, let's be smart. JW

markalanwall

May 6, 2011 - 12:18am

Dear Commander, I think it's time you quit representing the Republican party and started representing your constituents. Your suggestion that you paid for the photos as justifying publication of them is the biggest syllogy I've head all week. Why don't you, and those of your slant, start letting this President do his job so our country can move forward. The GOP has held us back on developing an energy policy since the 70's, everytime we talk about more equity in taxation they expand the debate to revamp the tax system rather than fixing the most immediate problem (UNDER TAXATION of the overly wealthy who benefit from servicemen's service while never serving). . .when that same 2% steps up and takes over the war in Afghanistan, I'll give em a tax break. Til then, pay up. Start representing the people ...for the people, by the people.... and start doing what your type preached so fervently during that failed Presidency between 2000 and 2008. . .support your Commander in Chief

sheath

May 6, 2011 - 12:14am

Dear Commander Foster, Please take this opportunity to review the core principles, and responsibilities of the American Legion. Your personal stance on this matter does not positively reflect on an otherwise exceptional organization. Thank you, Scott Heath

One Choctaw Veteran

May 6, 2011 - 12:59am

Well Said Scott! Very well said!

pfmcdoc

May 6, 2011 - 12:08am

Commander Foster - Publishing photos makes no sense. This is not about "showing a replay to season ticket holders who were barred from entering the stadium" - that trivializes the issue. Are you suggesting that there is some obligation to satisfy onlookers? As the President stated, whether or not folks believe, Bin Laden will no longer be walking this earth. Furthermore, I take issue with your statement that "The raid on bin Laden’s hide-out is a truly great moment in American history." Great moments are positive events. This was a necessary operation, and is a relief to the world, but not a "great moment." Please do a bit more surveying of opinion before assuming that your individual opinion can be labeled as representing the American Legion.

turtlemax

May 5, 2011 - 11:48pm

As much as I would love to herald the fact that this guy has been dealt with; I agree that the public display of the pictures would be counter productive to American/Arab relations. Also by displaying the pictures it would run counter current of all that this country was built on that seemingly we are more and more are straying away from; Religion. I by no means am an extremely religious person; but the bible has some great insight and I can see why our forefathers embodied their beliefs and morals garnered from it as they inked our constitution. Below is just one of those insights from the King James Bible; "But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also." I think at this point of time in our history its better to just turn our cheek in regards to our nation's pride in order to regain some world respect..

James Lecomte

May 5, 2011 - 11:33pm

I have to agree with the National Commander that the U.S. people have paid for, and deserve to see, what happens when you plan and carry out a cowardly action that kills innocent Americans. Our enemies need to be reminded of this fact too. We will hunt you down, no matter how long it takes, we will find you, and you WILL be brought to justice. After 21 years of active service (which included 9/11) I feel I have paid the price and deserve to see the pictures. Although I personally do not have a great desire to see the pictures they should be released: partly for those of us, including the American people, who paid for them; and as an object lesson to those who seek our demise. As to the argument that the photos may become a rallying point for recruitment of terrorists, there is never a lack of items that can be used for their recruitment and propaganda. If we hide the pictures there will always be those who claim Bin Laden is still alive.

patriot44

May 5, 2011 - 11:33pm

At the top of each AL page there's a "Join the Legion" link. I'm wondering where to go in order to discontinue my membership. If anyone knows, please advise me. I'm not in support of this ordeal one bit & I can't sleep well at night knowing my name's remotely attached to it. Thanks.

Hercules1944

May 6, 2011 - 7:42am

You don't like the Legion, just don't pay your dues. Simple enough. Word of advice for you and the rest of the negative naysayers posting here though, DO NOT, repeat DO NOT, stop in Legion Post #255 in Brainerd, MN.I do not want to be responsible for your welfare when you have that kind of attitude. For all the naysayers, you are all full of chit. Every veteran, repeat every veteran, that I know from the Legion and VFW, whether they are combat vets or not, tells a different story than some of the tripe I am reading here.

blondie67n2

May 5, 2011 - 11:26pm

You should have entitled this piece, "Jimmie L Foster Calls For Release of bin Laden Photo." Judging from the majority of comments it seems that the commander does not speak for the Legion. I for one do not want to see pictures of a bloodied corpse with a hole through it's head. I believe those pictures would only serve to satisfy a morbid curiosity. A picture is not proof, so you either believe Osama has been killed or you don't. If you do, then there is no reason to see a picture. If you don't, a picture still won't convince you.

tomasd54

May 5, 2011 - 11:24pm

I am disappointed that the American Legion would be for the release of Bin Laden's photo. There would be no good to come of it. The proof that he is dead will bear out over time with the fight over his organization. Fantic Muslins who honored this terrorist would only have any icon to use. This could renew their effort to attract more people to their cause. In addition, there is ALWAYS those Muslin clerics that would point out the errors in NOT properly taken care of his body. Please Commander Foster, reconsider your position. Yes we the American people paid for the pictures, but as a nation we do not need any more proof than the word of our servicemen/women. Respectfully, T. D. Foster USN Retired.

warmanzulu

May 5, 2011 - 11:01pm

I would say that releasing the photo of the dead evil man is not what our brave troops or innocent civilians "paid an enormous price for"....this is something the terrorist would do and have done to show their disrespect for human life and hatred for Americans and others who fight for freedom and I do not want to be a part of this media frenzy...As a long time member of the American Legion and Vietnam Vet, I respectfully disagree with this course of action.

jm7700229

May 5, 2011 - 10:51pm

And

jm7700229

May 5, 2011 - 10:43pm

It is not fear but maturity that keeps me from wanting to gloat over this madman's death. I am relieved. The world is a better place. But I'm not going to dance in the street like a cheerleader after her team scores. The people who risked everything to remove this cancer from the earth deserve better. We live in a democracy: you don't need to agree with the President's decision, but it's his decision. If you don't like it you can vote against him next time. That's what separates us from the Bin Ladens of the world.

WhiteLake01

May 5, 2011 - 10:32pm

I support the American Legion. However it is abundantly clear there is a complete lack of understanding of the zealots we are fighting. These people are abnormal and they would simply enshrine the photo of Osama bin Laden. These people are going to hit us again just like the Somalia pirates killed the four Americans about a year after we shot three of them and imprisoned one of them. We do not need to provide them additional ammunition for their cause. Articles like this simply demonstrate the lack of understanding of our enemies and our naive outlook on what has befallen us. It is difficult to understand how someone who should know better is so hopelessly naive.

WhiteLake01

May 5, 2011 - 10:31pm

I support the American Legion. However it is abundantly clear there is a complete lack of understanding of the zealots we are fighting. These people are abnormal and they would simply enshrine the photo of Osama bin Laden. These people are going to hit us again just like the Somalia pirates killed the four Americans about a year after we shot three of them and imprisoned one of them. We do not need to provide them additional ammunition for their cause. Articles like this simply demonstrate the lack of understanding of our enemies and our naive outlook on what has befallen us. It is difficult to understand how someone who should know better is so hopelessly naive.

WhiteLake01

May 5, 2011 - 10:30pm

I support the American Legion. However it is abundantly clear there is a complete lack of understanding of the zealots we are fighting. These people are abnormal and they would simply enshrine the photo of Osama bin Laden. These people are going to hit us again just like the Somalia pirates killed the four Americans about a year after we shot three of them and imprisoned one of them. We do not need to provide them additional ammunition for their cause. Articles like this simply demonstrate the lack of understanding of our enemies and our naive outlook on what has befallen us. It is difficult to understand how someone who should know better is so hopelessly naive.

ke1bb

May 5, 2011 - 10:27pm

Mr. Foster, What possessed you to get involved with this foolish request on the memberships' behalf. I would think that the majority of the membership has no desire to release or see these photos. You sir, no longer represent me in the American Legion.

PDC-TN 1994-1995

May 5, 2011 - 9:58pm

I have agreed with very few things that President Obama has done, but I agree with his decision not to release thye photos. This would accomplish nothing good but it could cause incidents that would cost more deaths to our brave warriors and even more terrorist attacks on our soil. I respectfully disagree with Commander Foster.

okiejim

May 5, 2011 - 9:41pm

What good is a picture. Anyone with a good photoshop program can make a dead person look like Bin Laden, specially if half the face is destroyed. Do I trust the administration? Hell no, but there is not much they can produce to assure the world Usama is dead. In this case, we just have to accept that the Navy SEALS would not be complicit in a hoax of this magnitude.

FatherPawlak

May 5, 2011 - 9:29pm

Why on earth would we want to endanger the lives of more Americans by making OBL into a greater martyr by displaying his death photo? Putting that photo into the hands of evil will make a martyr out of OBL - even more than his death will. It will send evil into rage even more than they already are! Is it really worth more American lives to celebrate his death to that degree? I don't even understand why his death was even announced by our politicians! We should have just labeled this as yet another classified operation and let him disappear off of the face of the planet without so much as a whisper of what happened. Now our enemies have a martyr for their cause - and a photo of his gory remains would immeasurably intensify the impact of his death beyond martyrdom. The test that we should be applying to these disclosures should be whether or not these disclosures would further endanger American lives - for no American life should be endangered for the sake of morbid juvenile gloating.

loborun

May 5, 2011 - 9:25pm

As a Vietnam VET there are enough images of the dead burned into my memories, pictures are not required...

pmmarion

May 5, 2011 - 9:22pm

What a bunch of putz'

warmanzulu

May 5, 2011 - 10:38pm

You are the putz Sir...fight in a real battle than talk to me...in the mean time count your blessings!

murphy96

May 5, 2011 - 9:21pm

I am against the release and have appreciated and share many of the sentiments about not making stands that carry what appears to be the backing of the organization.

saltydog

May 5, 2011 - 9:12pm

mistake

saltydog

May 5, 2011 - 9:08pm

why have such pictures around? to brag about taking another person life? to gloat? to show your buddies? why then?

Joe Bagocki

May 5, 2011 - 9:06pm

Once again the leaders of the Legion are being political instead of practical. If a radical pastor burns a Koran and inturn our Brothers and Sisters in arms are threatned, what do think will happen if these gorey photos are displayed. I spent time in Nam and my Son(USMC) spent time in Iraq. It has been hard enough for the troops without giving extra incentive to the enemy. Please rethink the Legions position.

hamstroo

May 5, 2011 - 9:02pm

If they released the pics. they would be phony just like the birth record

saltydog

May 5, 2011 - 9:10pm

enough with the birth certificate crapola. find something else to complain about that is new and worthwhile.

PhantomScribe

May 5, 2011 - 8:52pm

Even if I agreed with you (and I don't), I'd take issue with these unprofessional have-you-stopped-beating-your-wife-yet style poll questions and the representation of your personal opinion as that of all American Legion members. My first impulse upon reading your editorial-disguised-as-policy-statement was to tear up my membership card, but all these thoughtful, intelligent responses from like-minded peers have convinced me to stay ... and VOTE. Shame on you, sir.

Jack Ryan

May 5, 2011 - 8:44pm

It is your right to agree or disagree with the Commander, most have earned it. Negative comments directed at the American Legion as a whole are difficult to swallow, understand or appreciate. If you find yourself embarrassed, ashamed or questioning why you are a member of the American Legion then you should move on and quit. To disparage an entire organization is just wrong and shows a lack of understanding of why you joined in the first place. I am not sure what the right answer is to release or not release the photos. It is well above my former pay grade and far too political in nature for a military operation.

markalanwall

May 6, 2011 - 12:28am

So you can take over? Welcome to America buddy. Or do you remember what you served for?

lem

May 5, 2011 - 10:21pm

While I agree that it is our right to disagree with the Commander and I also agree that the Commander has a right to his opinion. This is one of the freedoms we fought and are still fighting to protect. I do not agree with the headline "Legion calls for the release of bin Laden photo." This has the apearance of one persons opinion being put forth as that of the group. I think it impacts our credability when something like that is said and so many disagree. The Legion represents a large number of registered voters and in this lays our power to persuade on the hill. If something is represented as the will of the Legion and so many disagree it raises the question on important issues like Tri-Care and if what is said really represents the whole or even majority. If it's the commanders opinion fine. It needs to be stated that way without the use of his office or title. When office and title are used he is stating it as the opinion of the group (or at least that is how it is seen)

warmanzulu

May 5, 2011 - 10:42pm

Thank you Sir, I totally agree with you!

lem

May 5, 2011 - 10:21pm

While I agree that it is our right to disagree with the Commander and I also agree that the Commander has a right to his opinion. This is one of the freedoms we fought and are still fighting to protect. I do not agree with the headline "Legion calls for the release of bin Laden photo." This has the apearance of one persons opinion being put forth as that of the group. I think it impacts our credability when something like that is said and so many disagree. The Legion represents a large number of registered voters and in this lays our power to persuade on the hill. If something is represented as the will of the Legion and so many disagree it raises the question on important issues like Tri-Care and if what is said really represents the whole or even majority. If it's the commanders opinion fine. It needs to be stated that way without the use of his office or title. When office and title are used he is stating it as the opinion of the group (or at least that is how it is seen)

jdw1043

May 5, 2011 - 8:39pm

I think the president made the best decision. I don't think anyone needs to view a picture of war dead when it is certainly obvious that the kill was made. If you need to see the pictures of Osama Bin Laden to verify your own opinions, you may as well call the Navy Seals Team Six a bunch of liars. Personally, I know they are far more credible than to take blame for a kill they didn't make. Fox news already displayed the pictures of the other three dead men on their website, so, go grab yourself a sandwich and a drink and go view those pictures. If you've seen one dead man, you've seen them all. Give the Seals the credit they deserve, even if you feel like discrediting the president. Those pictures won't change your opinion of the president anyway. And if you have never done it, making a kill isn't all that.

oasisob1

May 5, 2011 - 8:33pm

1. If SEAL Team 6 says they killed a guy, you can bet they did (and everyone else in the room, too, I bet). So no, we don't need the photos for proof. 2. Pictures of death serve only morbid curiosity, which is disgusting. We don't need those photos. I don't want to see them. My family doesn't want to see them. There's just no GOOD reason.

wilsonbc

May 5, 2011 - 8:22pm

I am a veteran of Desert Storm and spent 3 years living in the Middle East, my son is in the special forces and has been in and out of both Iraq and Afghanistan on many ops. He and I both agree that IT IS DONE, LEAVE IT ALONE. The only thing that releasing these photos will do is to create a martyr out of bin Laden and pour fuel on a fire that is already too large. Are we as Americans better than this? Did we gloat at the end of WWII when Japan surrendered? NO we rebuilt their nation, because that is the way we are. I would expect and we have seen on more than one occasion the broken, burned or beheaded bodies of Americans paraded through the streets of nations in the Middle East and plastered on the various types of media until it makes us sick. BUT WE AS THE MOST POWERFUL NATION ON THIS EARTH ARE BETTER AND ABOVE THIS. Releasing these photos will do nothing but harm. My heart goes out to the families that have lost loved ones in this war on terror, but this will serve no good.

thorhammer85

May 5, 2011 - 8:17pm

The Legion is supposed to be Non-partisan. Obviously, the principle of being a non-partisan organization has gone down the crapper. In 2005, the Legion published the opposite position on publishing photographs of the enemy. here it is - American Legion Condemns Court Ruling on Abu Ghraib Photos, Pledges Fight September 30, 2005 "In a strongly worded letter, the leader of the nation's largest military veterans organization today urged the U.S. Attorney General to appeal a district court decision that would put the lives of Americans in jeopardy. The national commander of The American Legion, Thomas L. Bock, wrote Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales that he must lead the way in overturning the "extremely dangerous" decision of U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein yesterday to release 74 photos and three videotapes from the Abu Ghraib prison.

f.wooding1009

May 5, 2011 - 8:13pm

Mr. Obama is the commander and chief of our country. We may or may not agree what he wants, But we Must support him in whatever he desides. That is what makes us better than them. GOD BLESS AMERICA !!

rippervet

May 5, 2011 - 8:12pm

Bottom line is the Legion has no business getting into this debate. They are not representing this veteran/Legionnaire's beliefs and I don't appreciate having the association forced on me. Lets focus on serving veterans and our communities.

jbenton11

May 5, 2011 - 7:53pm

There's no comparison of photos published of the NAZI death camps and photos of a dead Bin Laden. Most Germans denied knowledge of, or actually did not know what was going on in the death camps during WWII. Most of the rest of the world did not know the full extent of the horrors of the death camps until they saw the reports and photographs published in printed media. Today we have the internet, which sucks in information from everywhere, truths, half-truths, speculation, rumors and lies alike. Bin Laden's photos would just be another gruesome reminder of how ugly and violent this world can be. Bin Laden deserved what he got. If his death photos were published, they would become the income and gossip producing fodder of media around the world, perhaps even financially benefiting Al Quaida. For me, it's enough that we live in a safer world today.

warmanzulu

May 5, 2011 - 10:44pm

A very wise and insightful comment...thank you Sir

TonyC51

May 5, 2011 - 7:46pm

President Obama is correct in this matter. I was outraged when the enemy released photos of our troops. It is a disgraceful act. Not worthy of a leader. Releasing gory photos of him would lower us to their level. We do not target the innocent, that makes us right, and them wrong. We do not follow in the enemy's footsteps. Commander Foster's opinion in this matter, is not the opinion of this veteran. There are more worthy challenges for the legion commander, than gory photographs. There are homeless veterans living under overpasses, sleeping on old mattresses, if they are lucky. Thank you for your service Commander Foster.

Mark Russak

May 5, 2011 - 7:44pm

this group is more cocerned with VA benefits and politics than Victory

warmanzulu

May 5, 2011 - 7:49pm

What does that mean?

courage9

May 5, 2011 - 7:41pm

WHAT??? Release the bloody photo's?? Are you kidding me?? Are we that stupid?? Those photos will do absolutely nothing to protect my men and women. To the contrary, it will only insight fury. We, as Americans, are better than that!! To show the triumphs of a bloody battle is what our enemies do. NOT Americans!! Have we already forget the unbridled hatred we ALL felt when we saw images of our dead being paraded on TV!!! We ALL called them barbaric!!! We need to shut the hell up, and allow it to slowly become a memory! I keep seeing people begging for the photo's! How sick are YOU?? Because you certainly are not risking your life with your words, but you are risking the lives of my Marines who are currently deployed!

warmanzulu

May 5, 2011 - 7:46pm

Amen Brother!

jcroce1994

May 5, 2011 - 7:40pm

Target destroyed. Move on to the next mission.

jcroce1994

May 5, 2011 - 7:37pm

Bin Laden is dead. Pictures won't help convince anyone who doesn't already believe the news. If you give them pictures, they'll just say the pictures are faked. Some people will never believe he's dead. That's just the way it is. Some people still don't believe we've ever been to the Moon. You can't change their minds. So why waste time on it? True or not, Bin Laden's death doesn't change anything. Extremists will continue to cause problems. America will continue to be the World's police. And some people will never believe anything they don't want to believe, no matter how much evidence you give them. And the Earth still spins......

warmanzulu

May 5, 2011 - 7:43pm

I am a Vietnam Vet and an American Legion member for many years and I agree with those members who say don't release the photos...this is a time to honor and remember those Americans who lost their lives, the fire fighters who risked their lives and the American people who shared the tragedy...not to remember an evil man's death, which is little consolation and the pictures would well be used by the terrorists to get others to join their cause and facilitate more hatred for Americans. We are better than this! Look at all the pictures of the holocaust and still there are stupid people that don't believe it happened...I like one member's comment "Go ask the Navy Seals if they are lying...good luck with that one" I went through boot camp with the Navy Seals and they came on some missions as well...they are a special breed...nuff said. Ron

Hi Country

May 5, 2011 - 7:12pm

Public enemy #1 is dead. Let's rejoice that an enemy is dead. OBL was a clear enemy. As the leader of Al Qaeda, he was responsible for the death of over 3,000 men, women, and children on 9/11, as well as those who died on the USS Cole, the deaths of US servicemen shot down in Somalia in Operation Restore Hope, the 301 persons killed and 5,000 injured in bombings of U.S. Embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, the bombing of a synagogue in Tunisia, the deaths of 180 people in a nightcludb in Bali, and the list goes on. OSB has been the deadliest terrorist of this young century. The graphic nature of photos related to the above list created a national security risk. How many doubted Hitler's death? There were no photos. On the contrary, Musolini's pictures depicting his death translated into realism. These were used as symbols of justice for sure.

Gunny71

May 5, 2011 - 7:11pm

If pictures are released and cause a backlash. What do you think they did when they said he was unarmed?

TangoCharly

May 5, 2011 - 7:10pm

This proud nation should not gloat or pander to the conspiracy theorists. If you don't think he's dead go find a SEAL and tell him you think they are helping Obama lie to the American people. And good luck with that one!

1964gclass

May 5, 2011 - 7:12pm

Roger that!

1964gclass

May 5, 2011 - 7:12pm

Roger that!

sbbell

May 5, 2011 - 7:07pm

We are fighting a war of good against evil. We are the "good" and the radical Islamic terrorists are the "evil". Exactly what good would we be doing by publishing those photos? The only reason to do so would be to prove to the American taxpayer that his dollars have been well spent. I feel we can trust the reports of the covert actions of our brave warriors enough that further proof isn't necessary. I feel that that's having faith in the "Good", even though some may feel that's thinking naively. The "evil", on the other hand, could use those photo's as propaganda to spur more hate and discontent against us, our way of life, and our brave military people who have put themselves in harms way for our protection. This is a 3 way war.........open military, covert, and winning of hearts and minds. Publishing those photos won't help any of those efforts.

rednek

May 5, 2011 - 7:07pm

Having just read the first page of comments I am appalled. It was just like reading a page of comments from the Huffington Post. If you think this picture will be inflammatory what about the pictures from Abu Gahrib that our illustrious President was all in favor of releasing. He and the majority of the leadership party of the time were frothing at the mouth to get them out.We have to realize that they hate us no matter what we do. I want them to fear us not love us. Our Men in country are doing a fine job of making them fear us. As for whether he is dead or not, I don't know. And anyone honest on this board doesn't either. We have a dishonest government and an honest honorable Military. I would believe the word of any member of SEAL Team Six but I don't believe anything out of Washington until I have proof. Mr. Foster speaks for me too.

hardyp3

May 5, 2011 - 7:07pm

I was appalled by the news that the 'Legion calls for release of Bin Laden photo' but relieved to find upon reading the article that it was merely the personal opinion of the commander. It's an opinion that I do not share. I support the President's decision and was relieved last night to hear the news that he was NOT going to release the photo. Leave the sensationalism to Fox News and the National Enquirer where it belongs. Let's move on and start figuring out how we're going to pay back that 'trillion dollars' we borrowed to pay for those pictures (or something else equally as important). In any event, as a paid up for life member of the American Legion, I would appreciate it, Commander, if you would stick to writing about matters of Legion policy and keep your opinions about current events to yourself. At the very least, don't legitimize them by pretending they are the views of the Legion as a whole.

Dale Schunke

May 5, 2011 - 7:05pm

I would say Commander Foster's reason for wanting the photos released is the same reason another great man, Ike, ordered that pictures be taken of Hitler's death camps and ovens, so that some stupid person should not have the audacity to say that it never happened. There are several idiots who proclaim that Hitler didn't do anything but roast marshmallows at these sites. Just because the pictures are released doesn't mean that anyone has to look. Yes, Obama is wrong, like he has been for the past two years.

warmanzulu

May 5, 2011 - 10:48pm

I see that your comment is more an attack on President Obama then a informed opinion on the release of pictures of the evil dead Bin Laden....that's okay, you are entitled to your opinion Sir.

USAFVetJW

May 5, 2011 - 7:01pm

No the photos should not be released. That makes us no better than those in the Islamic world who paraded the mutilated bodies of US service members for all to see. You think those terrorist can't be any angrier at Americans than they already are? You are wrong! They are hopping mad and making plans for retaliation. Our Military are in greater danger than ever before and we all better be alert. Let's not add anymore fuel to the fire by releasing those photos, ever!

NavalAir67

May 5, 2011 - 6:57pm

I absolutely disagree with releasing the photos of bin laden. Serves no purpose at all to release these.

ahdvahk

May 5, 2011 - 6:55pm

As a 28 year veteran and a subsequent contractor doing the same work at a flying training unit, I have seen people dead and it is never an appealing sight. Further, I did not pay for the photos as you seem to think. I paid to have UBL taken care of. I usually do not believe everything my government tells me. But I have friends in "the sandbox" and they tell me UBL is history. They I believe. And that's good enough for me. So if you want the photos, use your name and leave this PUFL member out of it. You do not speak for me on this issue.

INDYMAC

May 5, 2011 - 6:46pm

I have to agree on the releasing "proof" that we in fact killed Osama Bin Laden. There is too much controversy about earlier reports of his death (especially Dec 2001) The quick "sea burial" and all seems too secretive. At least release to certain organizations who seek proof. In my opinion, I am sick and tired of the lies/deception of our present administration. I personally would want to see proof to make me a believer that it actually was him.

jayblaze

May 6, 2011 - 6:02am

Hell, the last administration lied us into a friggin war and a depression. You wanna complain about lies then start there. WMDs my a** Oh, and don't forget this little gem about OBL, "I don't know where he's at and to tell you the truth, I just don't spend a lot of time thinking about him" Wanna guess who said that?

Hi Country

May 5, 2011 - 6:46pm

Have you seen the Abu Ghrib photos? They were grusome. They were released. Transparency was the guide to that exposure. Now, we are told the Bin Laden images would be too horrifying. This is total BS and Obama needs to fess up.

jayblaze

May 6, 2011 - 2:28pm

Can you imagine a shot to the forehead at close range from a militaty assault rifle? You think piling some naked guys up together would equate to that? Those pics would recruit terrorist from here to eternity. Just don't need to release that. That's morbid.

USMCBoonieRat

May 5, 2011 - 6:43pm

It is the highest honor for a Jihadist to die for Allah, which, by Jihadist standards, Usama Bin Laden did. Releasing the photos just gives the jihadists "power in their own minds" to continue this war. BIG MISTAKE to release the photos. HUGE mistake. Commander Foster does not speak for me, and I doubt he speaks for many, that have the KNOWLEDGE of the enemy we are at war with. In fact Cmmndr Foster has pissed on his shoes a couple times in the past year.

1964gclass

May 5, 2011 - 6:36pm

WE do not need to endanger our active duty troops by some macho desire to see this psycho with his head blown off.

Texan

May 5, 2011 - 6:27pm

It is the public's business. This country already has too much political correctness in how it does the public's business. All the public's business ain't pretty, but we gotta face it anyway. Release the pictures. That is to say, release the truth, ugly though it is. And besides that, I like what the guy said about being tired of this country walking on egg shells. Get Colonel Roosevelt's big stick and break those damned eggs.

Paulp826

May 5, 2011 - 6:25pm

C'mon commander foster you can't speak for all your legion members. Did you bother to poll your legion members to see how they feel about this issue. How can you speak on behalf of the legion based on your own personal opinion. I agree with the presidents decision and I bet if you took the time to ask your members they may agree. Shame on you for stating the Legion calls for the release of the photos. I am part of the legion. Stop speaking for me. This is twice now you publicly state your personal views on behalf of all of us without asking us (your members) how we feel.. I agree with the gentleman that stated what this has anything to do with helping and assisting veterans. If this is where my donations are going to I don't feel I wish to remain a member of the legion.

piafredux

May 5, 2011 - 6:24pm

Be true to our Legion credo - do not call for the release of the Bin Laden corpse photos, because we pledge that we join together "to make right the master of might." Indulging in and celebrating gore is what the enemy does. Let us not stoop to his lower than whale you-know-what level.

piafredux

May 5, 2011 - 7:01pm

I'd like to add that releasing or not releasing photos will neither reduce, nor will it increase, enemy resolve or strength, or curb any of his rotten propaganda: there is no appeasing or placating this, or any other enemy of truth, liberty, and justice. Anyone who thinks that releasing, or not releasing the photos will reduce or increase enemy rage, spite, or bloodlust ought to put his next extracted tooth under his pillow & expect to find a coin under it in the morning. No matter what we do in this instance - or in every past and future instance - the enemy goes ballistic about it and throws spite and murder our way because it is in his "holy" book that it is his "sacred" duty to do so. The enemy doesn't act against us because of what we do or don't do, he does it because to him we're 'kuffar' whom he must convert, subjugate, or murder. We do what we do - in this case hold the photos secret - because it's the civilized thing to do, & our being civilized is apt rebuke to this enemy.

THOMAS SEATTLE

May 5, 2011 - 6:22pm

This is a war on terror...it goes both ways! Make the other guys mother, father, wife, children worry why the one they love hasn't called home. We don't need to prove anything other then what this dead man's belief's are wrong. Now that he is fish food, lets see another one of his video's come out. . Our National Commander actions are putting politic's into the Legions reputation. He should resign. And all future National Commanders, who were all post Commander's best realize...the Legion's base is hometown USA, the local post! I had a one minute conversation with our National Commander, he said "policical correctness (power) is more important then justice".

jcm63

May 5, 2011 - 6:21pm

Commander Foster, what motivated you to write this article? I do not see how this has anything to do with the American Legion as an organization dedicated to helping our military brothers and sisters. You are entitled to your opinion. However, I believe you overstepped your authority if you submitted this article representing all the American Legionnaires. I do not share your views. President Barrack Obama is the Commander in Chief. We the people have a political process for disagreeing with the Commander in Chief. You can vote him out in the next election. I do not see any value in this type of inflammatory writing. If you are using this article for future political gains then you need to submit them as a private citizen and not the Commander of the American Legion.

usstamps

May 5, 2011 - 6:19pm

Alive, he was worth all our efforts. Dead, he's not worth 2 minutes of our time.

Mark Russak

May 5, 2011 - 6:15pm

Commander Foster has balls and from reading these comments its obvious that a lot of the Legion's memebership has lost theirs. No wonder returning Veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan aren't joining our ranks. Why don't you start asking them if they want the photos released? I can tell you personally that there is not one member of my Infantry unit who I've talked to today that is not outraged that the President and Americans like you all are afraid of this enemy. Thank you Commander Foster for being a man of courage and strength, And not political correctness

OIF Duece

May 5, 2011 - 10:15pm

As a combat veteran, as an American, as a human being I strongly support our President's choice in this matter. I do not fear the enemy but I did take an oath to defend this nation and its citizens against all enemies. It would seem that the president is acting in that interest as well. Ask yourself, what do we stand to gain from showing these images to the public? Fear is not the weapon of my country, it is that of my enemy.

cdrcos

May 5, 2011 - 6:13pm

You say you have no doubt that Osama Bin Laden is dead - then what is the point of flaunting gruesome photos in the media? You say "we" paid for them - well, we also paid for the deaths of 3000+ US soldiers - should we also demand those photos be shown? I never thought I would see the American Legion become the new "birther" or "truther" flag-bearer! Unbelievable!

liricalmis

May 5, 2011 - 6:12pm

I feel that only those who want to see the pictures of his death would look. When you drive by an accident its your choice to look. I strongly feel that if these pictures are not to be released then the pictures of our beloved ones coming home in a flag drapped coffin should not be realsed either. Nor should their funerals be lined with the idiots heckling the families.Talk about starting a riot, The laws are the laws if you seal the pictures of one, you seal the pictures of ALL. Seems like Obama says its ok to print the pictures of our dead coming home in flag drapped coffins and allow that church group to heckle the family, but god forbid we print pictures of the evil that started the whole thing. Its one or all make up your mind. looks like you shot your self in the foot on this one. (i didn't name that so called church group for a reason, they don't deserve to be named.)

robljf

May 5, 2011 - 6:02pm

He is nuts. NO way. That is a self serving attitude and I only wonder what is in it for Mr Foster. He should step down if he thinks he is talking for all of us.

cnewton46

May 5, 2011 - 6:01pm

Americans have obtained justice with this particular devil's death. Photo release will unleash more anti-American behavior around the world. Gloating is not what we need to do. Let's show some class and drop the request for photo evidence - that is really a sad commentary on this organization's thinking. We are not a million meatheads out here.

Drumsontour

May 5, 2011 - 6:00pm

We are the only country that seems to have to play by rules including in war. Why is this. War there are no rules. If it was a football game and one side had rules and the other did not who do you think would take the biggest hits. War sucks. People should see pictures of what it looks like including Bin Laden's head blown off. Nobody thinks twice of showing other graphic pictures of dead people. If we don't want to see these things then maybe we as a human race should consider not doing these things. I say bring all our boys home surround our country keep everyone out until we fix ourselves. If we need it we make it, if we want it we make it, become self sufficient, quit borrowing money from China and giving it to countries like Pakistan and show the pictures so we know why we should do these other things. And who are we gonna piss off that doesn't already hate us anyway. Sorry if this offends anyone, but we really need to take care of ourselves.

lmngrvr

May 5, 2011 - 5:55pm

Consider the previous comments. Our trust is in our brothers in arms. The Navy Seals outstanding execution for which they need to be kept anonymous must be the topic of discussion. I will stand by their word not the government bureaucrats. Photos are not necessary for patriots. Release would show the same lack of humanity as our enemies without any sense of honor. Commander retract your call to release the photos.

RWBesemer

May 5, 2011 - 5:53pm

The President is right, the Commander is wrong!!

RWBesemer

May 5, 2011 - 5:50pm

I'm sure these photos are much too graphic to be released to the public, and will only incite more killing. The Commander is wrong, the President is right.

kmshamrell

May 5, 2011 - 5:46pm

I have six nephews serving in the Army (both regular and National Guard), Navy, Air Force and Marines. Four of them have done 11 tours in the Middle East. It is not worth a hair's breadth more of danger to them and their fellow military personnel to "convince" those who refuse to be convinced. Bin Laden is dead. It doesn't matter that certain people don't believes it. Nor do we need to lower ourselves to humanity's lowest common denominator by making such a show. Thank God for Obama. Not only is he correct in not allowing the photos to be shown, he didn't request Bin Laden's head in a box like his predessesor.

Mark Russak

May 5, 2011 - 5:43pm

To all you panzies afraid to release bin laden's death photo I have only one thing to say to you, Thank God you weren't in Al Anbar, Iraq during the dark days in 2005. Stop trying to appease this enemy. It only strengthen their resolve and makes things harder for our Troops. In Islam, power is everything and every time we cave in to them it enpowers them. If you don't know this enemy maybe you should keep your mouth shut. Mark Russak Combat Veteran Iraq and Afghanistan

Nmcb62

May 5, 2011 - 5:38pm

Why is everyone so interested in seeing photos of a dead person.If you were in any of the Wars I am sure you saw your fair share,I know I did in Vietman,don't need to see any more,just my oppinion

One Choctaw Veteran

May 5, 2011 - 5:34pm

I support the right for you and my fellow legionaires to each have their opinions, but I must say that I believe to say the "Legion" wants the photos released is incorrect. I for one have seen plenty of "death" photographs and taken some as well, but I burned those photographs years ago in an attempt to find closure in my own life. I do not believe that we need to throw gasoline on an already raging fire, and those photos would do much more harm than good in my opinion. I am very proud of the men and women who are currently serving our country and who have served us in the past, but I for one do not agree with your demand to our President to release those photographs. Yes we have paid a great price in dollars for this war, but that doesn't mean we should be observing every detail of that war. Some things are better left in the mind, not in the media.

JRM

May 5, 2011 - 5:33pm

Viewing the pictures isn't as important as the message to the terrorists. When you F@#$ with us we will F@#$ with you. Taking a politically correct position with these slime dogs is how we got sucker punch in the first place. Has anyone seen them express any of their hatred on the Syrians ? No cause the Syrians are known to be politically incorrect and would totally crap in their piss cutters in a NY minute. Our leaders need to be more like our Legion Commander and get tougher.

allanmaclaren

May 5, 2011 - 5:29pm

The President go it right. No need to spike the ball. Release of the pictures won't satisfy the conspiracy nuts, birthers, and others of the lunatic fringe. No point in publishing pictures that do us no good but can be used by the terrorists and their sympathizers. Allan J. MacLaren Col USAF Ret

tjasz

May 5, 2011 - 5:46pm

I trust my armed forces. I don't need to see pictures to be convinced. Want pictures? How about publishing pictures of our veterans who came home disabled and the widows left with little more than a flag and a memory. Where's the incensed members when the VA cuts services and makes utilizing services difficult? The nuts that think Obama was not born in the USA still aren't convinced, what makes anyone think that publishing pictures of a dead corpse will stop the pundits. AL should be standing behind our Commander in Chief and our trustworthy Seal Team 6! This wasn't a high school football game. Please act like the honorable servicemen we are.

gmkskier

May 5, 2011 - 5:28pm

A good part of the President's Senior Staff saw the action live. A Navy Seal unit was on site. Do people actually think that this number of officials and military would be silent of a cover up or conspiracy? We got Bin Laden. His identity was confirmed. There are only two reasons, in my mind, to release the photos and those are sensationalism, and morbid curiosity. Neither of these justify releasing the photos. I disagree with much of what the President does, but this time I am with him.

Paul Jones

May 5, 2011 - 5:23pm

I am appalled that my national commander would have such short-sightedness! To release the photos would fuel the martydom that they seek! We are better than them in that we know he's dead...and so do they. We don't need to publish pictures of his death to make it "official". Try this on...hopefully the USG will "accidently" release them to Wikileaks and let those fanatics wage a fahtwa on Julian Assange. Another irritant removed. CDR you speak without my support on this issue. I have a son in Afghanistan right now on his third tour and he already has enough to worry about! Don't provide the bad guys with more fuel for the fire they intend to start!

jawl

May 5, 2011 - 5:18pm

I don't understand the phrase "we paid for the photos". My heat goes out to all the people presently serving in the military and their families for safeguarding our freedoms. We ask them to defend the constitution not become photo journalists. I was upset when i saw the celebrations of those in the middle east celebrating 9/11 attacks. i was shocked and ashamed to see the same type of celebrations here but without the rifles being fired in the air. Am i glad bin laden is dead? Yes. If i can trust the President to launch an attack and sen our young people in harms way then i should be able to trust him to tell the truth about this matter. Of course if they were lying and actually had him in prison and being waterboarded that would be all right with me too. Pictures won't provide any more closure. Until the price is paid by all instead of just a few we are not entitled as a whole to see the pictures.

Madmax

May 5, 2011 - 5:17pm

We often make mistakes during elections but electing Foster as Commander of the American Legion is one that our great organization may never recover from. Since assuming his position, Commander Foster has consistently voiced HIS personal views, not those of most Legionnaires. He has tried to be a one-man band in opposing the President at every opportunity. We should be supporting the President, and save our public disagreements for issues that most affect our Country. It doesn't matter which political party is in office, we owe the President our support. I enthusiastically say that Commander Foster does not speak for this Member, on the issue of the bin Laden photos or most of his other nonsensical diatribes. The Legion will be a better place when Foster's term is finished. Nobody can give me one good reason to publish OBL photos. There is no doubt he is dead. Publishing photos serves no useful purpose. Doubters and haters would claim they are photo-shopped anyway.

Pwcurley

May 5, 2011 - 5:33pm

I am a legionnaire, and definitely do not share this opinion. The commander has consistently voiced his extremist right wing conservative opinion, as the opinion of the legion. I actually went out and removed the legion decal from my car, as I do not want anyone to know that I am associated with the legion and it's biased opinions. Let's focus on veterans issues!

gblackard

May 5, 2011 - 6:43pm

I agree that veterans issues are more important but removing the Legion sticker from your car was a little short sighted don't you think comrade? If you disagree with the President of the United States are you going to take down your flag?

Randall630

May 5, 2011 - 5:13pm

I personally have no doubts Bin Laden is dead, so why release the pictures? To help skeptical individuals be more assured he's dead. Now some people will claim that the image(s) are photo-shopped and will fuel terrorists to commit more unspeakable acts. But do you think the terrorists will give us any slack for not releasing the pictures? Of course not. And it would give Al Jazeera something to put on their web-site, and something for the Islamic world to see, besides the Daniel Pearl beheading, or contractors strung up and butchered. There is a measure of justice in releasing the Bin Laden death photos. No, we don't want to 'revel' in the death of another human being, but we (US citizens) have paid for the pictures, not just with money but with the blood of our sons and daughters and fellow citizens. Americans deserve and have the right to see the pictures.

patriot44

May 5, 2011 - 5:09pm

I didn't vote for the man, but he was elected to make such HARD decisions... He made it & the people can rest assured that it wasn't a bad decision... at ALL!!! (& I was honestly "on the fence" regarding the release of the photo since before I even knew the photo existed)... He made the decision - live with it. If the Legion continues to get caught up in unprofessional fascinations such as this, I'll pull my membership in a heartbeat... "this is NOT what I signed up for."

One Choctaw Veteran

May 5, 2011 - 5:38pm

I am proud to be a member of AL, but I signed up to help promote veteran's issues to help all those who serve and have served. I didn't sign up to become part of a right wing bully pulpit to attach our President. Get back to helping veterans, not lighting fires, I too am ashamed of the Commander's reaction.

CWO3 USN Retired

May 5, 2011 - 5:00pm

No.

370jenny

May 5, 2011 - 4:55pm

We have all seen the pictures of his son shot in the head during the same raid. Releasing the pictures of at the "at sea burial" would give closure. Thru a Presidential proclamation we allow reporters to take picture at Dover AFB of our service members w/ flags draped over their coffins. I remember seeing a picture front page of my local paper with a line of coffins coming out of military air transporter. Is having a "celebration" on 5 May at Ground Zero not spiking the foot ball?

jgkneuer

May 5, 2011 - 4:54pm

As the commander notes, there is no doubt that the person killed in the raid was Osama bin Laden. Release of the photos for all the world can only blaze up the flame of hatred that bin Laden fueled among his deluded followers, further excusing in their minds a zeal for future atrocities. By contrast the release would provide no benefit of added information to persons of rational interest in the historical fact. However, for historical reasons the photos should be preserved and protected until a future generation can securely say that the conflict of cultures has truly ended. We must avoid the kind of triumphalism that devalues the courage and accomplishment of the raid team.

Shelbye305

May 5, 2011 - 4:49pm

At what point did the American Legion fall into the "I have to know everything and see everything" crowd? This organization, more than any other except maybe the VFW, should understand the realities of war and the fact that it is ugly at most times, necessary but ugly.

cmat001

May 5, 2011 - 4:48pm

I was employed as a Security Officer at a nuclear power plant at the time of the events of 9/11.My world was turned upside down by these events(added weight of extra equipment to carry,more overtime,etc.)This is probably the main event that prevented me from working until age 65.Show me the photo!!!!!!!!

lem

May 5, 2011 - 4:47pm

as a legion member this does not represent me. The very terrorist we fight are known to drag bodies through the street. Why should we lower ourselves to their level. We are better than that. While the commander has a right to his opinion, it should not be presented as the Legion's. The President made the right call. Those that doubt always will. We have film footage of the moon landing and some still doubt that. Releasing the pictures would only degrade our nation.

tonymazeika

May 5, 2011 - 4:46pm

I believe that the President was carried screaming & yelling into the situation room May 1. I believe that he reluctantly authorized the mission to eliminate Usama Bin Laden. Not to do so would eventually lead to leaks that he refused, creating the ultimate political crisis for Obama. To that point it is easy to understand the reluctance of the President to release photos providing positive i.d. Unfortunately, there will be a credibility gap created domestically and internationally that Bin Laden was executed, carried off,and buried at sea. The President owes this disclosure to all the people of the United States, especially the families of the 9/11 attack and active military who lost their live since the New York attack. Our enemies will mount an ever growing campaign claiming that there is no proof of the death of UBL.This issue will grow and undermine any chances that Obama will be elected in 2012.

Lotchik

May 5, 2011 - 4:40pm

If you want to get the American people angry, show pictures of dead American soldiers being laughed at and abused. Why would we want to stoop to this level. Let the conspiracy theorists be ignorant. We as Americans should be above the gloating and I am terribly disappointed in this organization's commander for such an ignorant demand. For the first time since he was elected I have to say that I am proud of the President for this decision. Unbelievable!

conradswims

May 5, 2011 - 4:36pm

There are very good reasons to release all the photos and information that is not classified for national security reasons. Life magazine had photos far more bloody. Monks on fire. People being shot in the back of the head. Dead bodies in combat. The color film of live action on Tarawa with flame throwers and dead bodies everywhere. This is about Good and Evil and needs to be shown to the entire world. Americans paid the price. They are the peoples photos not the Governments.

HooverRMK

May 5, 2011 - 4:35pm

Commander, I respect that this is your point of view. As such, put your name on it, not ours. Do the right thing.

conradswims

May 5, 2011 - 4:34pm

There are very good reasons to release all the photos and information that is not classified for national security reasons. Life magazine had photos far more bloody. Monks on fire. People being shot in the back of the head. Dead bodies in combat. The color film of live action on Tarawa with flame throwers and dead bodies everywhere. This is about Good and Evil and needs to be shown to the entire world. Americans paid the price. They are the peoples photos not the Governments.

whaggard1

May 5, 2011 - 4:34pm

concur!!

McGovern

May 5, 2011 - 4:34pm

If releasing the picture(s) is the cause of one or many more lives of US soldiers, is it worth it? Are willing to assume the responsibility in knowing that releasing these pictures you will have provided the enemy cause for the death(s) of another soldier? Based on a survey I just participated in, an extremely high percentage of New Yorkers voted ‘NO’ to releasing pictures of Osama.

whaggard1

May 5, 2011 - 4:33pm

In general,I am against the release of the photos of a dead Bin Laden. I'm not worried about an increase in terrorist violence, although its possible. I don't really care what the terrorists do or don't do. We will take care of that when,and if it happens. I'm not even concerned that the photos are "too gruesome" for the general public. Bin Laden is now a non-player. He's dead and buried at sea and I don't need proof that it has happened. I know that politician's can bend the truth until you don't know what the original question was, but eventually when we never hear from him again, it be obvious. I think that this is one of those times when you just have to believe that the President is not lying to you.

bobweng

May 5, 2011 - 4:31pm

I agree with the many here who believe this is not an appropriate issue on which the Legion should take a stand. We don't need more gruesome pictures.

Jim.Acklin

May 5, 2011 - 4:23pm

Who cares. Justice has prevailed. He is gone, others will take his place. Why would we want to see the gory photos? I do not!!!

displaced texan

May 5, 2011 - 4:22pm

I could not disagree more with Commander Foster's views on this subject -- AND, once again, the Legion is sticking its nose into political business that has nothing to do with advocating for veterans. Publishing those photos would put our active duty troops at higher risk for harm, and it would be morally repugnant. Just because Muslim extremists publish gruesome photos of executions doesn't mean we should follow suit. OBL is dead, and our Commander in Chief has made his decision. Foster has made it clear repeatedly that he does not respect our President, but Foster does not represent me or many other Legionnaires on this issue.

Infantry Dude

May 5, 2011 - 4:22pm

I'd like to say that I do not agree with posting the pics, because it will serve no tactical purpose. Nor, do I wish for kids on the internet to see this. We are already "dumbed down" as a society due to being desensitized to horrific happenings. I further agree with several posters that the American Legion, as a professional organization, doesn't need to get involved with this type of "office politics", shop talk. We are here to support military personnel, veterans, and advocate for veterans benefits. Let's please focus on our mission and not get distracted with items, nor spend energy on things that don't further our organization's cause. Respectfully CPT, INF, RETIRED

boxout

May 5, 2011 - 4:21pm

I don't really have an opinion about whether these pictures should be published, but I strongly disagree with the notion that the taxpayers have paid for them, and therefore they should be published. Whether or not they are published should be determined based on evaluation of the tactical and/or strategic advantages or disadvantages of doing so. I do not see this as a freedom of speech issue. The US government is in posession of the photos (presumably). They (we) are free to decide whether or not to publish. This is unlike (for example) whether a newspaper is allowed to publish photos it has taken or obtained. I am sure that there are many who will hate us regardless of what happens with these pictures. There may be some however, who do not hate us but might be shocked by our choosing to display these pictures. I am not making a case for not publishing but for basing the decision on the effect we reasonably might expect publication to have.

deboehne

May 5, 2011 - 4:18pm

Release of photos would only serve to incite more violence. Those who don't believe he was eliminated would still think the photos were doctored. We should be better than dragging a dead body through the streets. I finally agree with the president on something. I also do not believe it serves any purpose for the Legion to be involved in the decision one way or another.

Retired Military

May 5, 2011 - 4:18pm

This is NOT a matter for a Veteran Service Organization. My membership is based on the Charter which advocates for veterans, not intended to enter into a debate with the Commander in Chief. This does NOT represent this American Legion member. I respectfully request you rescind this demand. Thank you.

weldred

May 5, 2011 - 4:15pm

Wow. I feared I would be the only voice in the negative on the "Commander" of the American Legion's thrusting us into the wrong side of a political argument and saying that he speaks for us. EVERYONE has the same basic opinion. Retract the letter, "COMMANDER."

VeteranScott

May 5, 2011 - 4:13pm

I respectfully disagree with the Legion position. It is clear that he is dead and we do not have to prove anything. Releasing the photos serves no useful purpose. In fact withholding them reduces the martyrdom factor and avoids providing a more tangible focus for enemies to seize upon. In this instance, I absolutely agree with the President.

weldred

May 5, 2011 - 4:11pm

I couldn't agree more with Hoover's comments. Politics is not the reason we pay to support this organization. Knock it off now. You speak for way too many patriots to allow this to pass for "our" positions. It's getting totally out of hand. What do we have to do to get some adult leadership for this group?

I served

May 5, 2011 - 4:10pm

The problem will be simply solved if and when Donald Trump asks that the photos be released. He seems to have the "magic" touch when it comes to the release of documents and such. Tongue firmly in cheek.......

bob kovitz

May 5, 2011 - 4:09pm

The Legion does not speak for me when it asks for the release of the photo of Bin Laden in death. No possible good can come from the release and, in fact, it has the potential to place American soldiers in harm's way if it instigates even one jihadist to take action. The Legion should consider this issue carefully before putting out comments that are contrary to good sense and our position as world leaders.

HooverRMK

May 5, 2011 - 4:10pm

Legion, you're way off the mark here. I am a dues-paying member of this organization because it is meant to support Veterans and Active Duty personnel, and advocates for their benefits. Not to get involved in making ridiculous political statements like this, nor to call for things that will serve no purpose other than inevitably increase the danger our troops already face. Get back to what the Legion is supposed to be doing, get away from this sort of thing. I don't pay my dues to be embarrassed by effluvium like this.

JCStorbeck

May 5, 2011 - 3:49pm

Agreed, we don't need to release the photos. We are better than that.

DJB

May 5, 2011 - 3:48pm

This kind of reactionary response is just what makes me question my membership in the Legion. I strongly object to any effort to publish photos of OBL after his death just to satisfy the purient interests of a few ghouls. I have several young grandchildren and do not want them subjected to these kinds of images. I applaud President Obama for his restraint and his sensible response to these requests. The USA has too many important problems to deal with to spend time on this drivel. I am ashamed to be a member of the American Legion at this time!

jbenton11

May 5, 2011 - 3:48pm

Frankly, it would not pain me to see all Islamic Radicals wiped out. If they want to kill innocent people, let's nail them first. But showing photos of the dead like we won some kind of prize for killing a high value target, serves no purpose. I don't need to see them, and I dont want my children to see them. We can celebrate the victory without having an internet scrapbook filled with photos of corpses.

Gunfighter

May 5, 2011 - 3:48pm

Well written, Commander. Yes, these photos will be gruesome and COULD incite those pre-disposed to act - but, as noted, not releasing will not assuage their hatred. I would hope the President would release them with a firm statement accompanying their release: "This is what will happen to those that attack our nation. Neither time nor the tyranny of distance will save you. This proves our cause is just and our intent pure - you cannot and will not win, nor will you survive to see your next generation." Ought to get their attention! Gunfighter

Bill Clancy

May 5, 2011 - 3:43pm

Sorry, Commander you are so wrong on this one.

irahobbs

May 5, 2011 - 3:39pm

Yes, we paid a price in terms of the wars and other activities mention, but we are a Nation that prides itself on yielding to a higher calling....Now is the time to demonstrate that calling..again.

sebersole

May 5, 2011 - 12:57pm

Well said Commander.

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