Earl Ofari Hutchinson

*President Obama made the right decision not to release the photos of the body of bin Laden. The reasons he gave initially were that releasing the photos would endanger US security, inflame Muslim hardliners, and turn the bin Laden killing into an exercise in prurient, gory, bloodlust voyeurism still stand. But that hasn’t satisfied a pack of GOP lawmakers.

They loudly demand that Obama parade the bloody photos before the nation. They say releasing the photos will protect our national interests, bring closure to the family victims of the 9/11 terror attacks, and provide concrete verification of his death. None of these reasons make sense.

His death has been convincingly verified by DNA and other evidence. And the Taliban leaders and Al Qaeda have issued statements that publicly declared that bin Laden is dead. A number of the family members of the 9/11 attacks have said that killing bin Laden did not ease their pain and trauma from the deaths of their relatives and loved ones.

But the GOP clamor for the release of the bin Laden death photos is not just frivolity taken to the extreme. There’s a method to the ploy. The bin Laden killing dealt two huge hammer blows to the GOP. It snatched from the GOP’s arsenal one of the major weapons it has used to blast Democrats — their alleged softness on the military and the war on terrorism.

Reagan, Bush Sr., and George W. Bush used this with devastating success to whipsaw Democratic presidential contenders. Bush especially masterfully exploited this falsehood to pound his Democratic presidential foe John Kerry during the 2004 presidential campaign. He practically declared that a Kerry win would be a major threat to national security and open the floodgate to further terror attacks.

The bin Laden killing decisively changed the public’s perception of Obama and the Democrats on the terrorism issue. To the GOP’s horror, Obama’s approval ratings, which had plummeted in the days before the bin Laden kill, have gotten a major boost. More Americans now say that Obama has done a better job in the war against terrorism than Bush. The high praise and new found respect Obama has received in the war against terror burnishes his credentials as a tough and decisive military commander and leader.

Read the rest of this article at Huffington Post.