Saturday, September 5, 2009

US Defense Secretary Objects to News Photo of Dying Marine

This story from the US AFPS raises what I believe are important questions about how the public understands the reality and human cost of war. While the motives of Secretary Gates are commendable in that he wanted to shield the family of the dead Marine, I wonder if privacy concerns will be used to censor unpleasant images. Consider the images of bodies on the battlefield taken in the Civil War by Matthew Brady, or the images of dead Marines at Tarawa in World War Two which shocked the US public when the appeared in mainstream media, not to mention the stream of images from Vietnam. In the case of Vietnam, these images may well have turned public opinion against the war. In all cases, they forced a democracy to remember that the decisions of its representatives to make war have costs which must be weighed. MP+

Gates Objects to News Photo of Dying Marine
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 4, 2009 – Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates used the strongest terms in trying to persuade the Associated Press to refrain from running a graphic picture of a Marine taken shortly after the servicemember was wounded in southern Afghanistan, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said here today.

Lance Cpl. Joshua M. Bernard later died on the operating table Aug. 14.

The Marine’s family in New Portland, Maine, asked the Associated Press not to run the photo, which was taken by Julie Jacobson, who was embedded with the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines, in Afghanistan’s Helmand province.

The AP put out a series of photographs of the Marine patrol, and Gates objected to one showing Bernard clearly in anguish while being treated. He had just been hit in the legs by a rocket-propelled grenade.

Read the whole story here.

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Mad Padre

Mad Padre
Opinions expressed within are in no way the responsibility of anyone's employers or facilitating agencies and should by rights be taken as nothing more than one person's notional musings, attempted witticisms, and prayerful posturings.


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