Glimpse at the Horrors of War

Lance Cpl. Joshua M. Bernard
This photo of Lance Cpl. Joshua M. Bernard, having just received the leg wounds that he would die from, has caused an intense debate on the publication of such images. The story is detailed by:Many news outlets have published the story, but without the photo above. The Washington Post omitted it in its original story, but added it - with a warning screen - to a slideshow of their follow-up story of the controversy.

I completely support the AP's decision to publish the photo. In my opinion, the right (and need) of the public to understand the costs of war supersedes the right of the family to prevent the publication of the photo. I am not advocating a blanket approval to publish all such photos. But I am generally in favor of publishing more of these photos. The New York Times had a story about the censorship of graphic war images in July of 2008, "4,000 U.S. Deaths, and a Handful of Images." The Public Editor discussed the decision to publish the photos soon afterward, "The Painful Images of War."

Also, it should be understood that it is a minor miracle that the photographer captured this image. Our media will not be drowned in gore if a more liberal publishing stance is taken.

LINKS: Greg Mitchell follows up and posts a comment from one of the few editors nationwide to have printed the photo in his newspaper, the Merced Sun-Star in California.

Explanation from the Dallas Morning News on why they ran the photo, a small black and white version, inside their paper.


Anonymous said...

The thought that publishing images such as this one helps people understand the realities of war shows the ignorance the majority of the world lives in! I have been in the US military for 25 years(currently MSOC) and this never fails to amaze me! The liberal one size fits all mentality does not reflect the reality on the ground in afganistan or for that matter the majority of the middle east. They dont care about free speech, the rights of women, your gay pride parade, or the Union you are a member of. The would shoot you in the head and then kick you in the face if you dare speek out against them. No one hates war more than the people who have to fight it!!!!! Remember that!!! I think we should send Nancy the crook Pelosi along with the Norwegian Idiots who gave Obama the Peace prize to some of the villages I have walked without security and let them see the reality of war!!!!!

Norwegian Shooter said...

I believe seeing images like this one helps people at home to understand about 1/100th of the realities of war. But that hundredth is the most that is possible through widely distributed print media, and I support spreading that small understanding around as much as possible. While I don't advocate forcing members of Congress to walk through Afghan villages with a platoon, it is important for elected officials and the public to understand as much as possible the realities of war. I recommend everyone to watch at least the first part of the recent Frontline show "Obama's War."

Two questions for anon:

Are you opposed to the publication of this kind of photo?

Do you disagree with the statement of the Foreign Service Officer who made public his resignation letter:

"I do not believe any military force has ever been tasked with such a complex, opaque and Sisyphean mission as the U.S. military has received in Afghanistan."

Anonymous said...

If you need a photo of a dying Marine to help you understand the cost of war, You will NEVER understand.

Norwegian Shooter said...

Thanks, Anon. I hope I will never understand the cost of war.