The news, that US forces’ raid in Osama Bin Laden’s hideout in Pakistan succeeded to bring him down, was initially received with political euphoria, across the globe. The claim that Bin Laden is dead, and the accounts of how the long hunted Al-Qaeda was killed with some other people inside his camp were retold and verified by US Commander in Chief, Barak Obama.
Photos of the ‘grusome’ death of Osama would not be released for the public, because this may incite possible attacks from the remaining members of the extremist group and other jihad fundamentalists. Various individuals want to see proof that it was Bin Laden who have been killed and not someone else. It pays to be cynical, when in fact there had been previous reports that were disproved later on that Bin Laden died of an illness. But there is collateral damage to leaking highly classified information.
Operations such as this are highly classified, and everything else that goes with such kind of operation must remain confidential unless there is guarantee that leakages of those classified information would not have adverse implications to national security. The media’s interest for audience attention, readership or viewership from the public of photos, must be subdued for the sake of national security.
The issue of proving Bin Laden’s death comes clear as a question of how people come to know things and accept them as truth. We know things in various ways: traditionally, by oral transmission; through authorities; and through actual experience. Orally, it was a figure of authority that told the world of Bin Laden’s death. But, then critical thinking motivates the skeptic to prove that with valid documents such as photo. But documents can be fabricated.
No one among the US officials except those who directly infiltrated Bin Laden’s camp had experience the event. Consistency in the stories of those armed forces that gunned down Bin Laden is expected to come congruent with the grand narrative of the plan for the raid, the actual raid and the post raid events up to the burial that was given. There was also a claim that the rest of the Muslim world believe that it was Bin Laden that was killed, and they believe he was dead because of that successful raid.
Truth here comes like believing on something because it is generally agreed to be so. Now newsmakers are capitalizing on the beliefs of people around the area where Bin Laden was suppposed to had found refuge. Common to these people is the desire that a proof, particularly the photo of his dead body be shown to the public. Testimonies from those who have seen the video of the operation do not appear to satisfy some other people. The burden of proof is becoming heavily placed on Obama’s shoulders.
The narrative of the operation is logical. This is backed up by authorities who had access to the footage of the operation. The president of United States made the proclamation, and it would be the greatest mockery in political history, if he would have delivered an erratic claim. The US authorieties made such claim, and supported it with narratives that appear to be consistent and logical. The burden of proof then shifts to the Al-Qaeda to disprove that claim.
If Osama would have been alive, after the information of his death was publicized, his group would have made their pronouncement of disclaim. But there has been none. At the moment, the remnants of the group are probably in shock and shambles. This is a ripe opportunity to share a more positive message, and to plan strategically to get rid of the world’s terrorists.
Pictures, nowadays, are not that strong and substantial evidence to prove the truth of an experience. Technology can create any representation of an experience, real and surreal. Ex post facto, any image will have to be consistent with the previous. Add the reality of a possible conspiracy, the authenticity of an experience or a claim of an experience will have to be drawn somewhere through other means. How do you know then that Osama is still dead or alive through pictures?