(Hat tip to Seamus)

Joe Puglia requests that I post his open letter to the AP journalists who published the photo of LCpl Joshua Bernard as he lay wounded in Afghanistan.  Lance Corporal Bernard died on an operating table soon after this photo was taken.
 
His father, Marine 1stSgt Bernard, requested that they do not publish this photo (I will not here at OMV).


I’ve starred much too long at this empty computer screen and I’m not sure I have the words to express what I’m felling regarding Julie Jacobson, of the Associated Press (AP) and her photograph of Lance Corporal Joshua Bernard as he lay dying in some thankless, nameless, stinking village in Afghanistan.  I also anguish over AP’s CEO Tom Curley, and staff members Kathleen Carroll, and John Daniszewski’s decision to distribute and publish the picture. 
 
     But you, Mr. Lyon, director of photography, don’t!  Don’t even try to tell me that it is your journalistic duty to show the reality of war however unpleasant and brutal that it sometimes is.  It’s the arrogance and pomposity of your profession that irks me.  You think you are above simple decency to capture the last moments of a Marine and irresponsibly distribute it for publication.  You rationalize the pain that you have caused the parents of Lance Corporal Bernard as your journalistic duty.  How can you do that?    
 
     I know better, Mr. Lyon; I’ve seen your predecessors in Vietnam.  I’ve watched journalists and listened to them on helicopters rides, in bars, at dinner, and in the field, and I have seen very little altruistic endeavor.  With you guys, it’s always the story, always the story, trying to capture that one picture reporting on the sensationalism of the moment caring little of the emotions, feelings, and privacy of the soldiers who fight and die in these goddamn wars.  I’ve seen them as they stick their cameras in the face of grieving soldiers asking them…”How do you feel?”  How do you feel about the loss of your buddies?  Many of your predecessors never gave a damn how we felt.
 
     In his book, “Good-bye Darkness,” renowned author, William Manchester recounts his life as a 17-year-old Marine fighting in the Pacific in World War ll.  He addresses the debilitating affects that irresponsible journalism had on the populace. 
 
     Let me tell you something!  What I remember is that the soldier did not want you out there with them.  You were a liability.  You got in the way.  You never had the respect of the grunts.  You were never trusted.  You were never for them.  Your presence often curtailed the aggressiveness of unit commanders, causing them to hesitate for fear of the editorials you might write as to the conduct of the war they prosecuted.  We lost men because of that.   
 
     Mr. Curley, Mr. Lyon, Mr. Daniszewski, Ms. Carroll, and Ms. Jacobson I do not know your heart.  Maybe your rationale as to why you published the picture is a sincere reflection of what we both hope for, peace.  I am wrong for pre-judging you and mixing your motives with those journalists who reported over forty years ago.  You deserve my apology; but what you did was wrong.  But I understand the fog of war and that keeps you from seeing reality.  If I have pre-judged your intentions in error, then you too are a victim of war, but unlike the soldiers, your wounds are minimal.
 
     Ms. Jacobson, I struggle with your decision when you mentioned that you initially thought of helping and aiding Lance Corporal Bernard but instead continued to take pictures.  I will give you the benefit of the doubt, because I wasn’t there.  I wish you resolve and peace regarding your decision not to help.  If it were me, I would never have any peace.
 
     Do I have an axe to grind?  You’re damn right I do!  But 40 years ago, you journalists had one too.
 
     Marines fight and die. That’s what they do.  And all we can give them as they pass to the next world is decency.  But you couldn’t even do that, could you?  
 

Comments

  1. Oh Lord, don’t get me started on this. It was a really tough one for me. I think it sucks ass. I was disappointed the story wasn’t covered more, but in retrospect the family didn’t need more media.
    One blog I read a Soldier’s mom comment, she wrote paraphrasing…
    What Jacobson did was to take away Bernards’ mother’s hope and prayer that her son died quickly and in no pain. That just really got to me. That is the bottom line.
    I resent like hell “journalists” if that is what you want to call them, have no loyalty to their own country and don’t give a damn about the damage they do to others in hope of getting that pulitzer. I truly try not to wish harm on anyone, but in this woman’s case I hope if she ever returns to the war zone she will get fragged. I have faith Karma will offer up sweet revenge to this POS.

  2. “Ms. Jacobson, I struggle with your decision when you mentioned that you initially thought of helping and aiding Lance Corporal Bernard but instead continued to take pictures”
    Unconscionable. She will know that one day. I hope for her sake it is before she stands before the Father. His scales are true and He alone holds the balance between Love and Justice.
    Thank you Lord for this brave Marine and his family including those with whom he served. Comfort them and please grant them peace Lord.
    Lance Corporal Bernard may you rest in peace.

  3. I can’t put into print what I really think of the ‘journalists’ but I can say ‘Shame on the lot of you!’ and Ms. Jacobson, ‘How do you sleep at night?’ Just remember what goes around comes around. Fate, Karma, or the Justice of the Lord, if not in this life, surely in the next.

  4. This “journalist” should be taken out of the AOR and sent home. She can take photographs of home fires and car wrecks and try to decide whether to help or not. Let her face a civil lawsuit that some attorney would be glad to file. A fair percentage of media people do not even think that they are sending home a final picture of someone’s loved one – one that can not be erased. Are there not enough other pictures to show the war in action? And to even question whether to help or not shows a HUGE decay in morals and ethics.
    My most sincere apologies to the family of this young Hero and other media “victims”.

  5. Outstanding letter. I had the privilige to lead Marines in combat as a Rifle Platoon Commander, XO, and CO of a Rifle Company in Nam. I also had the extreme good fortune to never have any maggot reporters in our way endangering our lives. This “embedded” sh_t is out of control. Any American who can decline to help a wounded, dying warrior so they can take pictures for a story isn’t worth a bucket of warm spit. They deserve some “bush” justice.

  6. I honestly cannot even put into words how pissed I am reading that article. She should be ashamed of herself. I can’t stand that anyone like her would be nominated for ANY award! She should be shot into the kind of hell our Marines are in; and when she is on her back, hell all around her, the cries of battle in her ears and fear in her heart; have someone (camera in hand, snapping away) ask her how she feels.
    She is pathetic.

  7. Ok, so now I’m getting about 7-15 followers on twitter everyday, (no idea from where. )… I’ve got a *http://www.fnlife.com – Problem* with almost ALL the people that follow me. They seem like freaking spammers! Yep. Whenever I see an email in my inbox saying “John Doe is now http://www.fnlife.com – following you”, I open it, click the name and follow them back. 5 minutes later, like I said, from almost ALL of them, I get a short “personal” message from That Person saying something along these lines: “thank you for following me, get a special offer on my ebook here……” Yeah huh?! Imagine getting 30 of them in your inbox every single day?!
    Now I know that you can probably just go to yourhttp://www.fnlife.com – twitter setting and choose not to receive notifications, but that’s not the point. The point is, a word of advice: Please don’t Spam the heck out of your followers with your little messages with all those links to your “http://www.fnlife.com – secret” offer page. whenever I see this, just pisses me off a little.

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