And the excuses the AP gives for going against the wishes of the soldier’s father and Def. Sec. Gates don’t pass the smell test:
Defense Secretary Robert Gates is objecting “in the strongest terms” to an Associated Press decision to transmit a photograph showing a mortally wounded 21-year-old Marine in his final moments of life, calling the decision “appalling” and a breach of “common decency.”
The AP reported that the Marine’s father had asked – in an interview and in a follow-up phone call — that the image, taken by an embedded photographer, not be published.
The photo shows Lance Cpl. Joshua M. Bernard of New Portland, Maine, who was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade in a Taliban ambush Aug. 14 in Helmand province of southern Afghanistan, according to The AP.
Gates wrote to Thomas Curley, AP’s president and chief executive officer. “Out of respect for his family’s wishes, I ask you in the strongest of terms to reconsider your decision. I do not make this request lightly. In one of my first public statements as Secretary of Defense, I stated that the media should not be treated as the enemy, and made it a point to thank journalists for revealing problems that need to be fixed – as was the case with Walter Reed. …
“I cannot imagine the pain and suffering Lance Corporal Bernard’s death has caused his family. Why your organization would purposefully defy the family’s wishes knowing full well that it will lead to yet more anguish is beyond me. Your lack of compassion and common sense in choosing to put this image of their maimed and stricken child on the front page of multiple American newspapers is appalling. The issue here is not law, policy or constitutional right – but judgment and common decency.”
The four-paragraph letter concluded, “Sincerely,” then had Gates’ signature.
The Associated Press reported in a story about deliberations about that photo that “after a period of reflection,” the news service decided “to make public an image that conveys the grimness of war and the sacrifice of young men and women fighting it.
“The image shows fellow Marines helping Bernard after he suffered severe leg injuries. He was evacuated to a field hospital where he died on the operating table,” AP said. “The picture was taken by Associated Press photographer Julie Jacobson, who accompanied Marines on the patrol and was in the midst of the ambush during which Bernard was wounded. … ‘AP journalists document world events every day. Afghanistan is no exception. We feel it is our journalistic duty to show the reality of the war there, however unpleasant and brutal that sometimes is,’ said Santiago Lyon, the director of photography for AP.
What horsecrap. This is the same news organization that felt it was their “journalistic duty” to publish what eventually came to be Pulitzer Prize-winning photographs of terrorists murdering, among other innocents, election workers in Iraq. The AP admitted that for at least one photo, the photographer was “tipped off” by the terrorists as to what was going to take place (background info here). A member of the same AP Pulitzer-winning photography team was stringer Bilal Hussein, who was and is still suspected of having ties to AQ in Iraq. Charges against him in an Iraqi courtroom were dropped and he was eventually released from an Iraqi prison, but the questions and suspicions about his loyalties – and whether or not he aided the ‘insurgency’ in Iraq – still remain.
So, no, the AP can take their invocation of their so-called “journalistic duty” and shove it. We all know what their “journalistic duty” is all about, and it certainly isn’t to “show the reality of war” but instead to weaken the American public’s resolve to fight it. Just like they did with Iraq, and are now doing in Afghanistan. President Obama must resist this type of emotional reasoning when it comes to his decisions on what to do about the escalating violence in Afghanistan. Already some on the left, and a few on the right – like George Will – are calling for an Afghanistan pull out.
Most conservatives don’t support Obama’s domestic agenda because they know it expands the size, scope, and power of the US government over the lives of ordinary Americans in a way that is incompatible with the founding principles this country holds dear. But on the war front, I feel confident in saying that he will have wartime support from most of us on the issue of Afghanistan provided that he not wither and crumble in the face of the mounting criticism coming mostly from his side of the aisle that things in Afghanistan have supposedly deteriorated so badly to the point where we should we cut and run.
So far, the Commander in Chief is resisting the calls. I pray that, for the sake of our security and for the sake of the men and women who have already courageously given their lives in defense of our freedom, that he continues to do so.