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But without the picture, there will always be the perception that Mr. Obama was too concerned with “sensitivities,” even ordering a Muslim funeral at sea. Imagine the poor sap who got that order: “Son, you just killed bin Laden. Now go wash his body.”

There will always be this conclusion: Mr. Obama cared more about Muslim perception than closure for the families of the 3,000 Americans killed on Sept. 11. Most of them never saw the bodies of their loved ones: They disappeared in the rubble. Others have the images of their loves one seared in their brains. Why not replace that with a dead bin Laden? More, can a single picture really alter the hard facts? We killed an unarmed man in cold blood. He was a mass murderer, so no problem there, but it just doesn’t seem plausible that a photo would further inflame Muslim anger.

In the end, though, none of that matters. Odd that Americans have to turn to al Qaeda for confirmation of bin Laden’s death, but so be it. Bin Laden is dead, and one day, a long time from now, those pictures will emerge. But until then, the conspiracy theories will continue. And President Obama will have no one to blame but himself.

c Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times. He can be reached at jcurl@washingtontimes .com.