As if the war in Afghanistan isn’t difficult enough, our military and their families must deal with greedy, self important media who see their job as one which exploits the death of those on the battlefield as “news worthy” over the personal pleas of a grieving family’s wishes – that the moment of death for their loved one not be publicized. It is most certainly an age old battle. Read more below and see a video.

For A Free Afghanistan

For a Taliban-free Afghanistan

The photo in question, was taken by AP photographer Julie Jacobson. It shows Lance Corporal Joshua “Bernie” Bernard, who was 21 and from Maine, laying on the ground with catastrophic leg injuries from a rocket propelled grenade during a Taliban ambush on August 14th. The photo also shows his Marine buddies trying to take care of him. Bernie died of his wounds.

The photographer, Julie Jacobson and reporter Alfred de Montesquiou were both embedded with Joshua “Bernie” Bernard’s unit and were on patrol with them in Dahaneh, Afghanistan when the ambush occurred. Apparently, she took her pictures from a distance using a long lens. The AP has since ran the controversial piece which included photos from that day, Bernie’s life as a soldier, and even his memorial service. The AP also included in their article, a section specifically explaining why the photo was used.

It hardly matters though. They purposefully and willingly defied the family’s wishes.

After Lance Corporal Joshua “Bernie” Bernard died on August 14th, an AP reporter visited the home of John and Sharon Bernard, his grieving parents, to learn more about their son. Bernie’s parents were shown AP photographer Julie Jacobson’s pictures, and they requested that the photos not be used. Later, when the AP called the Bernard’s to check facts, John Bernard again, specifically said they did not want the photos of his dying son used.

However, the AP after “lengthy discussions” felt the controversial photo had news value and of course ran with it with John Daniszewski, AP senior managing editor saying, in part, this:

Although the family was shown the pictures ahead of time as a courtesy, “we did not ask permission” to use them.

“There was no question that the photo had news value,” he said. “But we also were very aware the family wished for the picture not to be seen. That created a difficult choice between our job to document the war and our respect for the suffering of the corporal’s family.”

During lengthy internal discussions, the family issue was the most difficult, he said. Ultimately, the AP concluded that “the photo itself is a part of the war we needed to cover and convey.”

Following AP’s decision to show the controversial photo, there was a lot of outcry as you can imagine. From Secretary Gates at DOD, the American Legion, and military families themselves. Citizens across the country have also been debating the issue on blogs and other sites who chose to exploit the AP photo of a dying Marine.

Some believe you must chronicle the horrors of war like this so that casualties never become just statistics. Some want to push asinine agendas for political gain. While others such as myself, believe that the need to document war should never supercede the clear and deeply personal wish made by Lance Corporal Bernard’s family. In my opinion, the AP’s choice to do this was, simply put, a disgustingly exploitive one. What’s your opinion?

Finally, there are any number of media outlet sources in which you can review the controversial AP photo of a dying Lance Corporal Joshua “Bernie” Bernard. We, at Right Pundits, are not one of those. We have a video below that is a memorial to Lance Corporal Bernard, who was a proud veteran of Iraq and died serving his country in Afghanistan. God Speed Bernie and our prayers are with his family.

Lance Corporal Joshua “Bernie” Bernard Dies in Afghanistan Video

Photo: US Marine Cpl. Aaron Rooks