Mr. President, where are the photos?

Eric Golub Contributor
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Bin Laden was shot in the eye and killed. He was given the Muslim equivalent of a Viking funeral and removed from the Earth forever.

Yet one question still remains: Where are the photos?

Do I believe that Barack Obama lied to the American people to distract us from domestic worries? Is this all one big conspiracy? Is Osama bin Laden alive and well hiding in an Amish community in Pennsylvania?

No, of course not.

But why are the photos not being released?

Some will argue that Mr. Obama has some very difficult decisions to make regarding these photos. Will releasing the photos make matters worse? Will it make America and the world less safe? Are they too gruesome for people to see? Is there a national security reason the photos must stay hidden?

The problem with using the “difficult decision” argument is that Mr. Obama and his team had months to think about this.

People pilloried George W. Bush for “winning the war but being unprepared to win the peace.” He was ridiculed when he said that being president was “hard work.”

Well, it is hard work. Yet Mr. Obama must have had this discussion with his advisers.

The “too gruesome” argument is very weak. Americans have seen photos of 9/11, JFK being shot, and Holocaust atrocities. We are adults. We can handle it. It is not the government’s job to decide what we can and cannot stomach. News reporters can warn parents to have their children leave the room. Then parents can decide what to do next.

National security is a valid consideration. Yet the problem is not that Mr. Obama is making an argument we may disagree with. The real problem is that he is not making an argument either way.

Forget the conspiracy nuts. Mr. Obama is never going to satisfy people who believe that his birth certificate would prove that Darth Vader was his father and Osama bin Laden his mother.

Most people know that President Obama did a good job getting bin Laden killed. Yet they want closure. We may not want to see the evidence, but many of us need to see it.

Jack Nicholson as Colonel Nathan R. Jessup bellowed, “You can’t handle the truth.”
To quote Barack Obama, on this issue, “Yes, we can.”

Mr. Obama does have a reputation for being paternalistic. He does believe in the nanny state where the government knows what is best for us. If that is at play here, then he needs to understand that this is another example where he does not get to decide.

This is admittedly speculation, but if President Obama will not talk to us, then speculation is all that exists.

I have always been a supporter of presidential secrecy when appropriate. Presidents should have wide latitude to conceal things if disclosure would put the nation at risk.

If the president is afraid of inflaming the Muslim world, he needs to say this. This argument would be a weak one, but it is impossible to even consider a counter-argument when the initial argument is unknown.

The explanation may be completely reasonable. There could be something in the photos that must stay hidden. President Obama would not need to state specific details, but a general explanation must be forthcoming.

This issue is not going away. No amount of reality television, royal weddings, or sporting events will end this conversation. This is about one of the most evil men the world has ever known. Unlike Japanese earthquakes or even Libyan kinetic conflicts, this is not just a story. It is “the” story.

Mr. Obama must level with America, and he must do so quickly.

We need to either see the photos or be given the mother of all explanations as to why this will not happen.

In a world of Facebook, Twitter, DNA, and WikiLeaks, nothing stays hidden forever. If the photos leak out instead of being released by the president, it will damage him and perhaps the country as well.

Mr. Obama, this cannot be delayed any longer. Release the photos and give Americans full closure.

At the very least, talk to us. Look us in the eye. You are known for talking. Sometimes your critics maintain you talk too much and do too little. This time you acted bravely and were rewarded for your boldness with a successful mission.

You did the hard part. Now do the easy part. Start talking. It is the right thing to do.

Eric Golub is a Brooklyn-born stockbrokerage and oil professional living in the People’s Republic of Los Angeles. His blog is the TYGRRRR EXPRESS and his three books are “Ideological Bigotry,” “Ideological Violence,” and “Ideological Idiocy.” His interests include politics, football, the stock market, and Republican Jewish brunettes.