On May 1, an elite group of highly-trained, highly-capable folks dropped in on Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan and allegedly put two in his head.
Bam. Bam. Just like that. 10 years of searching, and we drop bin Laden in just about 40 minutes.
But some people want “proof.” They want pictures. They’re mostly conservative pundits on the Twitter and talking heads on TV. And they’ve raised a whole stink about Obama’s refusal to release pictures of dead Osama bin Laden. I don’t necessarily care to see the pictures, and I don’t really think the American people (and the world) need to see them.
Does releasing the photos provide undeniable proof that we killed bin Laden? No. In an age of PhotoShop and graphic design tricks, anyone with a modicum of knowledge of the aforementioned program would be able to make up a fake picture of bin Laden.
What does showing the picture do? It satisfies barbarism. Sure, it exists even in an advanced society such as ours. The same desire young boys have to poke dead animals with sticks permeates adults who want to see a dead man with two holes in his head.
Anyway, Dave Weigel has some comments about “prooferism.” And I make an appearance in his post. Enjoy:
GREENVILLE, SC — Let us give full credit to Matthew Hurtt, who earlier today tweeted a perfect term for the people who want extra evidence that Osama bin Laden is dead: Proofers. He used the term after I mentioned that I was listening to a funny/tense episode of Neal Boortz’s libertarian radio show, in which Boortz complained about the callers who wanted a death photo of OBL to be released. He didn’t.
“How would that convince someone with inherent distrust of their government that Osama bin Laden is dead?” asked Boortz.
The Proofer discussion is a real signal of how much conspiracy thinking has permeated the culture. I’m not saying people who want to see the photo, or want to release the photo, are conspiracy theorists. Most of them want it out there in order to hush up conspiracy theorists. (Rudy Giuliani has said it would convince “rational” people.) And the people who don’t want it released argue that conspiracy theorists will just deny its reality anyway, so there’s no point.
“There are still people who think George W. Bush had something to do with 9/11,” groaned House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers on Fox News today.
The implication of what Rogers is saying is that it’s just a given that conspiracy theorists will doubt that OBL is dead. The conspiracy theorists are part of the equation. (Worth remembering, most 9/11 Truthers couch their arguments as part of a campaign for a new 9/11 investigation.)
Walking around Greenville this morning, I did not find anyone who wanted the photo released because they doubted OBL’s death.