On air: Do we need to see what war looks like?

On August 14th AP photographer Julie Jacobson took a photo of Lance-Corporal Joshua Bernard, 21. You can see the photo here. They were both in Afghanistan and he’d been hit by a grenade and his leg was very badly injured. Despite the efforts of those tending to him, he died hours later. His parents and the White House asked AP not to publish, but AP went ahead. Was it right to? This article covers the arguments from AP and from the US government.

127 Responses to “On air: Do we need to see what war looks like?”

  1. 1 anu_d
    September 7, 2009 at 14:05

    YES…we should get to see the pictures of war.

    that said there is nothing horrible or ghastly evident in the photo….and if the article hadn’t explained, we wouldn’t have figured that there was a blown leg or that the unfortunate young man died.

    However regardless….even if the images are ghastly I would still want to be able to see them should I choose to.

    • 2 glash
      September 7, 2009 at 18:18

      If we are able to show images of poor people dying – why are UK and US soldiers special?

    • 3 Bai conteh
      September 7, 2009 at 18:28

      Yes as this will re frame us from war ideology and start looking for peaceful way of solving problem.

    • 4 Andrei
      September 7, 2009 at 18:58

      People should see what happens in war. In reply to the father, I can not understand how can a man let his only 21 years old son (in his own words) to go to a war, half the world away, to “defend” a fantastic ideal. To fight “the agents of Satan”.
      People should see unsecured pictures of war and unsecured events of war to know what to avoid.
      History should have taught us to avoid war, but it has not.


  2. 5 anu_d
    September 7, 2009 at 14:07

    Although I would question Julie Jacobson for taking an amazing picture instead of joining those helping a dying man

  3. 6 Jennifer
    September 7, 2009 at 14:18

    Showcasing a photo of a dying soldier when family requested not doing so is wrong.

    • 7 James Ian
      September 8, 2009 at 06:05

      Yeah, I’m with you, if the family asked for it not to be published then it shouldn’t have been. Of course I’m the type of guy who thinks you should ask someone before even taking their picture.

  4. 8 Bob in Queensland
    September 7, 2009 at 14:20

    I firmly believe that anything that shows the harsh realities of war is a good thing. Far too often there is a tendency to glorify the concept of war and ignore the harsh realities. Perhaps if more photos like this were published, fewer people would advocate sending the troops in unless it’s absolutely necessary.

  5. 9 John Henry - Trinidad and Tobago
    September 7, 2009 at 14:24

    Extremism is the worst form of violence. Sometimes it takes an extreme portrayal to realistically and emotionally implant in the human psyche the concept of mans inhumanity to man. Visibility, in this regard, may help in combatting the harsh reality that is war.

  6. 10 Jo
    September 7, 2009 at 14:28

    I agree we should see what’s going on but I don’t think that gives us the right to violate the privacy of grieving families. If they didn’t want the pictures published their wishes should’ve been respected

  7. 11 patti in cape coral
    September 7, 2009 at 14:40

    I’m in two minds about this. A grieving family’s wishes should be respected, but I think that people should see war as it really is, not something they equate to a movie or videogames. If it were my son, I don’t know that I would want the world to be witness to his last moments.

  8. 12 Luz Ma from Mexico
    September 7, 2009 at 14:46

    War is horrible and cruel. There is nothing good about it. I think that showing what really happens in wars is a good way to stop the glorification of them.

  9. 13 Melchoir
    September 7, 2009 at 14:54

    Sadly, yes! We are not supposed to, but modern humans are losing many things that could enable them to sense or feel to anticipate bad things happening. I always agree that you don’t have to see everything to know it exists. From faith we could learn similar experience: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed”

  10. 14 Chintan in Houston
    September 7, 2009 at 14:55

    I don’t think anyone is under the illusion that war is pretty.
    Its ugly, grim and depressing. So showing the war for what it is that the people need to see. USA has said that it does not want to show pictures of fallen soldiers in the media, but when two of Sadaam Hussein’s sons were bombed in a house with their wives and childer their dead and etremely battered and bloody pictures were published in every leading newspapers in the country. Also don’t forget the video of execution of Sadaam Hussein himself.
    What baseless claims by the Pentagon!!

    Nevertheless, may Lance Cpl. Joshua Bernard soul rest in peace. Condolonces to the family.

    • 15 Nate
      September 8, 2009 at 02:46

      Let not forget that the family requested that the picture not be show. Lets also put ourselves in the same situation, if you child or loved one was laying the street bleeding to death world you want their picture shown? Some people on this discussion board used Sadaam Hussein’s and his sons as an example of the media depicting death. There is one fallacy with their logic. Sadaam lived in absolute luxury while the vast majority lived in squalor. Also, Sadaams sons were absolute devils. I would encourage anyone who thinks otherwise to talk to Iraq nationals and ask them what they thought of Sadaam and is son’s treatment of the people as a whole. Lance Cpl. Joshua Bernard was not a dictator like Sadaam nor was he a rapist like his sons. To compare the brutality that the Sadaam Hussein family perpetrated against his own people, and the depiction of there death to a hero who died not for his country, but because he was doing what he ordered to do is naive or irresponsible. We should show what the gruesome reality of war is, but not at the expense of family who is grieving the death of a son and reeling over the exploitation of his death.

      What selfishness on the part of the AP!!!!!!!

  11. 16 steve
    September 7, 2009 at 15:06

    The press has always done this though. One of the most famous photographs in history was of a Republican soldier during the spanish civil war be ing shot in the head, the picture was actually snapped while he was still falling down. I even have this collection of Life Magazine photos about WW2, and they even have pictures of the last US casualties in Europe, just minutes before the cease fire went into effect. The soldier was shot by a sniper just moments before the war ended.

  12. 17 steve
    September 7, 2009 at 15:08

    Oh, to clarify in my last comment, the image in life magazine, they edited out the face of the soldier who was killed right before the war ended.

  13. 18 Jennifer
    September 7, 2009 at 15:08

    I think this brings up a good issue; shock value. I think that’s what alot of the release of this photo is about. It seems to me that people already know what war is about; they don’t need to see it. Imagine how horrible it would be if it were your family member being used to “show what war is all about”. It’s not needed……

  14. September 7, 2009 at 15:12

    Actually wounded or killed soldiers shouldn’t be paraded before the cameras, out of respect for them and their families. In their griefs or graves they don’t need to attract public pity. people already know about the horrors of war through the previous wars archives like the WWII.

    The picture at hand can have the adverse effect as it will be celebrated by the Taliban as a further example of what they see as a heroic act. While the soldier’s family and comrades are lamenting his death, the Taliban will be dancing over the picture.

    The point is it’s no use trying to shock the public about a war when they already know what it is about. At least the press should have pity on members of the public who get sensitive when they hear about the death of a soldier, let alone they are shown the circumstances in which s/he died.

  15. 20 Dante's bbq
    September 7, 2009 at 15:16

    Why do we not see pictures of the immediate aftermath of the fuel tanker bombings with pieces of charred bodies laying scattered around like the aftermath of some BBQ gone horribly wrong?

    Photographic evidence would have helped the arguement put forth by isaf/nato, implying that the area was cleaned of weapons, thus making the civilian death count innaccurate without corroborating evidence.

  16. 21 Gary Paudler
    September 7, 2009 at 15:36

    I’m of two minds: Yes and Hell yes! It is disrespectful of dead and injured soldiers and their loved-ones to hide their suffering from public view. That policy by the government was put in place to keep the American public ignorant of the gruesome realities of war to prevent a popular opposition from forming. “Life-or-death” is a far too simplistic concept. It is not the flipping of a switch. It is greater pain than we can imagine, huge holes in our flesh, shattered bones, all our blood draining into the dirt. In those moments the humanity of a soldier is the same as that of an “insurgent” or a collaterally-damaged civilian. Anything that brings the awareness of war closer to home is a good thing and in my view, that photo was not explicit enough and should have been only the latest of a thousand photos breaching the meticulously managed filter through which we perceive this and all wars.

  17. 22 Eileen in Virginia
    September 7, 2009 at 15:37

    Bob in Queensland puts it well.

    While every death is shocking and we feel for their families, so many people are gung ho about the casualties of war. They eat their tv suppers while watching the news. They need to appreciate the violence and suffering war causes on all sides.

    I am sad for the families who have lost their military kin, and understand the parents who did not wish this to be shown. But the world needs constantly reminding of the tragic and hideous aspects of war.

    Old men make wars but young men die in them. I hope for the day when all the world’s young will refuse to fight.

  18. 23 Steve in Boston
    September 7, 2009 at 15:38

    The anti-war journalists and executives of the liberal press apparently know no bounds in how low they will stoop. This is politics plain and simple. They have invaded the privacy of a dying man in his most intimate moment, and they have thrown his family under the bus in order to advance their own political agenda. They have no qualms and show no remorse for the grief they have caused because they in fact hate and loathe people who are willing to fight for their country. In their narcissistic fantasy world they believe that their cause is greater than the suffering and misery that they leave in their wake.

    Left-wing liberals are ruthless, heartless, and devoid of all human compassion, despite their boisterous attempts to convince the world otherwise.

      September 7, 2009 at 16:20

      @ Steve in Boston,

      I totally disagree that they are fighting for their country. There is no evidence of that. They are fighting for the politics of their country is the correct stand for me. America is well defended now; there is no threat like there was before Sept. 11. Steve think too about the agonies that face the bombed civilians and their relatives too.

      I feel the loss that his family has undergone but don’t forget that for far too long, the Pentagon has been releasing what in mathematics we call plain digits which may describe the facts which are not there. This one is not a digit but a full number.

      I do not feel good and yet I want to know. That is my dialect.

  19. September 7, 2009 at 15:42

    Salaam… Do we all need to see what war really looks like ?! YES, YES, and YES !!! And yet, this photo showed a dying soldier, soldiers, with all due respect, sign up for war, and so they do know what’s waiting for them out there, while innocent civilians on the other hand didn’t sign up for anything at all, and that’s why it’s really important that all of us should know about the atrocities and horrific things that have happened to them during war time… I come from Iraq, a country that has been torn apart by 3 successive wars, so it’d be really great if one can show via art the suffering of Iraqi innocent civilians both before and after the US occupation forces invaded my Iraq in 2003. With my love. Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad…

  20. 26 brinda,India
    September 7, 2009 at 15:49

    well,,there must be some way to awaken to ordinary man and bring them back to reality. war does not help anyone espl in this era. It is all for greed and power.

    So sooner people revolt against it the better. There is nothing sensitive about a death of a young man.Ask his family. Death is death.Its a loss of a young life.and for what ???

    The media may print it for different reasons but the outcome/impact on any decent human being (espl with kids) is going to be that of outrage.

    I think they should print more of these and open peoples mind.if not they will still be in denial.

    I am really sorry forthe parents loss but it will bring a lot of other parents to their senses.

    We will all realize the cost of freedom,security , greed and dirty politics.

  21. 28 haider meghjee
    September 7, 2009 at 15:54

    the world need to know the harsh realities of the war.
    the american public needs to know the same truth.
    the media should also show the pictures of civilians killed in this war as well as the iraq war.
    then maybe next time the leaders will think twice before sending their young men and women into a war.
    the media has to do its job and report the truth.
    if the media had done its job i.e. report the truth especialy in the U.S.A. then the iraq war would have been avoided because the public opinion would have been against war.close to a million iraqis would be alive and five thousand american soldiers would be alive as well.


    September 7, 2009 at 16:42

    I am shamelessly against this war and the politics behind it like the few bold people that work for this paper. Don’t forget that mankind sometimes has been saved from disgrace by such acts of courage. If it was meant to be a war of punishment it must have a definite condition which should have been known by now but not indefinite .

    Listen to the top brass for they have the right knowledge. Engage to tame and not alienate. Win your enemy to your side with a view to making war and suffering unnecessary. .

  23. 30 Ros Atkins
    September 7, 2009 at 16:43

    Have just received this…

    Hi Ros,

    Let us have it at the back of our minds that the information media is all about getting everyone informed of the happenings around the world.
    war or no war, we have to be informed.
    This raw fact notwithstanding, editors and publishers have to understand too that the information they give out be it as it may, might in one way or the other affect some people, and as such, prudence is required of them at all cost.
    I personally think it is wrong, it is very personal anyway, that such pictures should be published without putting into consideration the feelings and sufferings and emotional conditions of the relatives and family of the affected person(s).
    war is an act which has no friend and knows no one personally.
    For me, that was an imprudent publication. How can the sorrow go away from the relatives? it would have being better told them than giving them a sad lasting pictorial gift.

  24. 31 Dinka Aliap Chawul-Kampala,Uganda
    September 7, 2009 at 16:49

    Why not? As i know,there`s no good death or a bad death,all are of the same kind, but what is bad is showing them to a younger people.

  25. 32 Andrew in Australia
    September 7, 2009 at 16:49

    Of course we should, we must, it should be mandatory. Unless we see what is actually happening unless we know what war is then we cannot understand it, what it mean, what it does to people. How can anyone think that to send troops off easily to fight or to launch missiles from a command centre far away is a simple matter if they fully appreciate what happens, what actually occurs when armies fight. We see burnt out husks of buildings or vehicles but it means little. We see people wailing on the roadside but what is it to us really? When you have seen a body torn apart, a family burnt in a huddle under a building then will you see for yourself what war is, what war does. Just as with drugs, with domestic violence, animal cruelty on farms, reckless driving or any other problem you care to mention, until you see it and know what it is you will not appreciate what it means or bother to make an effort to stop it. To think we musn’t be shown such sites is simply to ignore the real world and coccoon ourselves in some sort of fantasy that the world cannot affect us and wrap ourselves up in cotton wool to our detriment. Life is not a game were you can tune out what you don’t like or hit a reset button. Life happens around us and to grow we must see it as it really is.

  26. 33 mel (UK)
    September 7, 2009 at 16:57

    It should be the function of the media to report facts and generally not mitigate or sanitise content. If there are any naive views of the horrors of modern warfare they should be dispelled. In all recent conflicts across the planet it has been the innocent civilian population who have suffered the most. The general public need to have a realistic understanding of modern warfare with all its graphic implications. The older generations who experienced WW2 fully understand.

    The present wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are labelled ‘asymmetric’ with a uniformed army on the NATO side and a collection of opposing fighters of various motivation. Both conflicts so far have resulted in the bulk of casualties being innocents killed or maimed as collateral damage.

  27. 34 Jonathan (dazzling San Francisco)
    September 7, 2009 at 16:57

    Sadly, most of the world knows all too well what war looks like. We Americans do not, and it’s high time we did. We should see American victims and Iraqi, Afghan, and Pakistani victims with missing limbs and heads, gushing blood, incinerated, and we should see it every day that we pursue the immoral wars that produce such tragedy.

    The Defense Department always wants to sanitize news coverage, and it should always be ignored. This exquisite sensitivity to the feelings of a soldier’s family is just a cynical ploy to serve a familiar end.

    If the Secretary of Defense now feels pangs of concern, he should arrange to equip soldiers with better body armor, properly armored vehicles, and housing that does not routinely electrocute its residents. It’s instructive that he wishes to haggle over photographs instead of actually preventing deaths.

  28. September 7, 2009 at 16:59

    I think that Robert Gates words were rather mild. I also think that for AP to publish shows a distinct lack of morals and ethics. The family of L/Cpl Bernard said no! They were then completely ignored. Much the same as the Scottish Secretary, who consulted with the families of Flight 103,and then completely ignored them too.
    I do not think we need to see graphic details of war. We all have a good idea what it is about. We know that our soldiers do not die John Wayne style! To show graphics could have a brutalising effect, and then what? And in any event there are huge volumes written about the horrors of war,just a case of going to the bookshelf. Or would you rather see pictures of body parts.

  29. 36 Brian Robinson
    September 7, 2009 at 17:14

    The press has been pilloried over the past few years for its timidity in not investigating the origins of the Iraq war, for not looking deeply into the shenanigans that led to the worldwide economic collapse, for backing away from penetrating the issues that matter to people and instead relying on fluff and celebrity etc, etc. In short, for not being the truth-seeking point of the spear that it’s always claimed is its reason for existence.

    The truth of war is that it’s brutal, shocking and savage. It rips apart families, it decimates whole societies, it reduces humans to savages. There is nothing noble or uplifting about it. If the press is ever to regain a measure of he respect it wants, it needs to reveal this truth.

    It’s interesting to me that when Hollywood touches on some of the realities of war — think of the opening sequence to Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan — it’s lauded. but then we can walk away from the cinema and re-enter our comfortable lives, can’t we? The reality never touches us, so we can queue the patriotic music and flag waving and feel good about the endings.

    When the REAL reality is out to us, we cringe and say no thanks.

  30. 37 steve
    September 7, 2009 at 17:20

    I wonder how many of these photographers would want their dying moments photographed?

  31. 38 David
    September 7, 2009 at 17:27

    War war war, why war? Is there no alternative to war? Mohamed Ali refused to participate in war. Was he stupid or a coward? Or was he a human face?

  32. 39 Steve in Boston
    September 7, 2009 at 17:29


    You not only disagree with me, but with President Obama, who understands that Afghanistan has become a breeding ground of Muslim extremism that threatens not only the United States, but the rest of the free world. Sorry, but the US military and all other participants are indeed fighting for their countries AND for yours. Individual civilian casualties are regrettable, but consider the alternative.

    We all need to look beyond our noses and see the big picture. The world can be a terrible place and force us to make difficult decisions. Being an adult means not only doing what you have to do for the greater good, but knowing exactly what that greater good is.

      September 7, 2009 at 20:13

      @ Steve in Boston
      Thanks bro. I appreciate taking your flack with humility. I understand your position correctly. However, where my case and yours differ is that most of the culprits of the 911 might have been eliminated. That is Afghan Mission one which might have ended. Some Afghan citizens are still languishing in detention camp without any charges. I am not totally against punishment but this too has to be clearly defined in terms of circumstances and hard evidence. They must be punished for that and the good ones rehabilitated. In addition, we might be in Afghan mission II, III or IV through political persuasion if you have to take into account the demolition of a country and the attendant democratization by alienating one of the warring parties. True, this is where I differ with your president who must be in a balancing act of defending his campaign pledges whose script must be reading different today through experience gained in office. Your country is in the midst of a civil war in another country.

      Nothing is beyond human optimism if you look at Vietnam and Cambodia today even though it is quite ugly.

  33. September 7, 2009 at 17:30

    We do need to see it. Germany is also involved. However in Germany we try not to think of it as war, but as a mission to assist the reconstruction of Afghanistan. However, it has developed into a war for us, too. But still having WWII branded in mind, we hesitate. The latest incident with the NATO airstrike, where Taliban, but worse, many civilian Afghans got killed, touched the German population sensibly. Now, slowly but surely, we’re realizing, that it’s a real war, and innocent blood is on our hands, too… even if some of our politicians don’t seem to see/admit it, despite obvious facts. Sad.

  34. 42 Will, British Columbia
    September 7, 2009 at 17:31

    There has always been some degree of censorship or attempt to control the images of war going back through our history. The news reels from the battle of the Somme, though heavily edited to cut down on the death of British soldiers brought home the stark reality that our boys were dying. The problem with modern warfare, specifically in the west, is we have seperated ourselves so much from the point of actual combat. War is played out on video screens, enemies are often blips on a radar or surveilance footage of a building or encampment being bombed. War is a terrible and ugly thing and we need to see it and take that into account before we make the decisions to put our troops in harms way.

  35. 43 Shaun in Halifax
    September 7, 2009 at 17:32

    There’s an old adage that runs, “Those who have never seen a war are the first to want to fight one.” To answer the question, yes, I do believe what the horror and reality of war looks like.

    This issue begs the more important question of why has the media not published images of this war like they did in Vietnam?

    It seems to me (and it could be the coloring of history talking) that the general public had much more exposure to images during that war than images of the recent ones. It seems that somewhere along the line the war is being sanitized for the public consumption. Despite the Internet, I don’t think I can remember seeing any sort of graphic images on CNN/FOX/ABC/NBC from Afghanistan or Iraq that are comparable to some of the most memorable ones from Vietnam. Is this a result of the end of the draft? The more people who see the reality of war, the fewer volunteers there will be?

    • 44 Will, British Columbia
      September 7, 2009 at 17:54

      I completly agree with you, likewise I think this ties well to the point that was made earlier about the images of Saddam and his two sons Uday and Qusay that were triumphantly plastered across the western media after their deaths.

  36. 45 Bob in Queensland
    September 7, 2009 at 17:42

    Steve asks “I wonder how many of these photographers would want their dying moments photographed?”

    I have known and worked with a large number of war correspondents, cameramen and technicians and am quite sure the vast majority would say “Show it…please show it…if it helps stop one more person dying”.

  37. 46 Dennis Junior
    September 7, 2009 at 17:44

    I think that YES, is the correct answer to show the pictures of war and, its disturbing views of showing this type of pictures….

    Do, I agreed with the AP decision to allow the pictures to be published …NO…

    =Dennis Junior=

  38. 47 Tom D Ford
    September 7, 2009 at 17:45

    Yes, people need to see what they paid their taxes for, death, injuries and destruction.

    Then maybe they will choose to try something different.

  39. September 7, 2009 at 17:47

    It’s like signing a contract. You don’t sign without reading it, even if it is a ‘standard’ contract that you are familiar with. A photograph like this is the fine print to this war we’ve all signed off on (willingly or otherwise). It needs to be read/seen.

    Although I have sympathy for the family of the combatant, it’s a sad reality that the war is bigger than them. This war, for better or worse, is collectively ours (every citizen of every democratic nation that has troops participating). Their views must be considered, but ultimately they cannot have a veto on what we can and cannot see.

  40. 49 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    September 7, 2009 at 17:56

    My brother was hit by a grenade in Vietnam. He was left for dead. When they came back for the bodies, he was still alive. He lost a leg and various other small body parts that were less noticeable. He wouldn’t have minded if the incident had been shown live on YouTube. He wouldn’t have minded if a film crew had followed his progress through two amputations, multiple plastic surgeries, and re-entry into the world on the other side of war and mutilation.

    In fact, I think he would have welcomed the possibility that the world at large could see the horrors of war; He was a career soldier who went where he was ordered to go, and did was he was commanded to do. He had the backbone to do what a soldier must do; but he was always baffled that the folks back home, who were responsible for his service, were such whoosies when it came to understanding just what it was that they had sent him to do.

    Yes, we should see all the grotesque images of war. We should see images of people beheaded by the Taliban. We should see images of starving Tamil refugees. We should see flies on the corpses of Darfur villagers. We should see pictures of the sex-slaves in the Congo. We should reprise images of corpses floating down the rivers of Rwanda after the most recent (not the only–just the most recent!) genocide in that central African area.

    Bring it on. And then, knowing of the horrors, let us work together to stop them.

  41. 50 Ann
    September 7, 2009 at 17:57

    I have irreconcilable mixed feelings on this…

    On one level to show the dying moments of a human being against the wishes of the family seems inhuman, cruel, injustifable and sacrilegious.

    On another level to accurately portray the horror and reality of war is necessary to enlighten those who have a clinical, distanced, even glorifying attitude to war. I remember seeing those terrible pictures from the extermination camps during WW2. I think a part of my soul died upon seeing such images. Yet these same images engraved upon my heart the need to promote peace, love, good will and tolerance and the necessity of trying to avoid war.

    That being said my heart goes out to the young man’s family.

  42. September 7, 2009 at 17:58

    I now understand why there is press censorship in some countries. Provocative and stubborn media.
    All media organs should be banned from covering war!

    • 52 Dinka Aliap Chawul-Kampala,Uganda
      September 7, 2009 at 18:18

      Hi Ambe.The coverage of war is part of freedom of press & information, it include its bad and a good parts together there`s a truth found about somethhing.

  43. 53 Tom D Ford
    September 7, 2009 at 18:02

    Sometimes when people get what they prayed for, they don’t like it, they don’t want to see it, they feel disrespected when their prayers are answered, when their wishes are granted.

    Mark Twain wrote “The War Prayer” about this subject.

  44. 54 T
    September 7, 2009 at 18:07

    Too many people in the States want to have an out-of-sight-out-of-mind mentality. How many think about the costs of this endless war? The last time I checked the States are this close to being bankrupt. Also, there are still some Veterans Administration doctors that think PTSD isn’t real.

  45. 55 Andrew in Australia
    September 7, 2009 at 18:14

    I disagree with what the dying soldier’s father has just said. On photographing car crashes, having worked in traffic and been an advocate for road safety issues I too had a blase attitude to driving until I worked in that area and saw first hand such things. Yes they can be horrific and yes they can be traumatic, but if more people saw themselves what happened by their own stupidity and indifference then they would rive a heck of a lot more carefully, not drink, smoke, eat, text whilst theyd rive and have more respect for life. In my case I have driven so much more carefully in the past 20 years than I ever did why, because I know what happens I have seen it.

  46. 56 Keith from Massachusetts
    September 7, 2009 at 18:14

    War is glorified by movies. Kids grow up thinking war is cool because of those movies. People don’t understand the horror of war until they see it. Everyone knows people die in war but the significance of that death doesnt sink in until people see the reality of it in photos or videos or in real life.

  47. 57 M.
    September 7, 2009 at 18:14

    The problem is that the subject of the picture is an american / occidental person. No one cares about “the last moments” of the “enemy”. Please let be all honest…

  48. 58 steve
    September 7, 2009 at 18:15

    Unfortunately, even for car accidents, some people just out of malice release accident scene photos, not even from the press. There recently was the case of Nikki Catsouras who was killed in a horrible car accident, and the gruesome accident photos were released, and people have actually started up websites featuring the pictures of her mangled body. There is no shortage of conscienceless people out there. My sincere condolences to Joshua’s father and the rest of his family. Stories like this make me lose faith in humanity.

  49. September 7, 2009 at 18:17

    Can someone look at getting some mice that don’t have the clicky microswitches.

    The sound is very characteristic & marrs the otherwise carefully silent production quality.

    In this piece, it seems somewhat disrespectful to hear the presenter clicking thought the live responses while the grieving father talks.



  50. 60 Will, British Columbia
    September 7, 2009 at 18:18

    With respect to Mr Bernard,
    I live in a country where we have lost a great deal of troops in combat, I actually know a soldier who survived an ied attack in afganistan and posted the photos on facebook. Its simply a reality that exists. And as for car accidents, when I was going through highschool, we were shown images of the results of drink driving and highspeed crashes. I’m comfortable in accepting those realities and not having them whitewashed.

  51. 61 Mike in Seattle
    September 7, 2009 at 18:20

    I’m sorry the pictures upset the family, but this sort of information is needed for a democracy to properly function. We must, as citizens, know exactly what is going on and what the consequences of our actions are.

  52. 62 Eric
    September 7, 2009 at 18:20

    I am a journalist in the United States and send my heartfelt sympathy to the family of the Marine photographed by the AP. However, it is critical that we be able to publish such photos. The question IS NOT whether or not we should be fighting the war, as his parents suggested. The question is whether a free press has the right to take the photos that chronicle the doings of government. The My Lai massacre in Vietnam is a great example of why war imagery is critical to the right of a free press.

  53. 63 Andrew in Australia
    September 7, 2009 at 18:22

    How does documenting someone’s death devalue it?

    For decades now certain groups have gotten much mileage from constantly showing photos of the dead and dying in liberated concentration camps, even governments. The Israelis post videos of suicide bombings on the defence websites to show what Palestinian bombers cause.

  54. 64 Andrew in Australia
    September 7, 2009 at 18:26

    Let’s sanitise war, let’s keep our heads in the sand that it is not violent, let’s pretend no one is hurt or dies. I can understand the US government not wanting such photos released, they don’t wish to show bodies returning in caskets. I am not being insensitive, I am not being voyueristic, but the truth needs to be shown it needs to be part of a full and frank understanding of the situation and something we must face.

  55. September 7, 2009 at 18:26

    The AP was right to publish the photo. This is a taxpayer-funded war, supported by the Congress, the president, and by default, the American people. The voters need to see what they are supporting, whether they like to see it or not. Unfortuately, the soldiers fighting the war unfortunately must give up some of their privacy. This is a “public” war. The public (we the voters) need to see the horror of it. We need to be reminded of the consequences of our votes.

  56. 66 Amy Reed
    September 7, 2009 at 18:29

    I support the AP’s decision to publish this photograph. Fighting in a war is a public and political decision that involves employing systematic violence as problem solving mechanism. For this reason, the problem with these photos being published is not one of journalistic integrity. Rather, it is symptomatic of the broader problem of destroying human lives as part of any state’s campaign to solve conflicts. War is horrid, and people need to see this.

  57. 67 Sara
    September 7, 2009 at 18:30

    In the US we all know we are at war – though very few of us feel the direct impact of the war. We all still have our creature comforts like our wifi internet and lattes. Therefore; pictures like this are essential for the world to see- they speak the truth of what war really is and reminds all of us its priceless cost. Without such reminders it is very easy for the average American to forget that war is happening and people are dying.

    Portland, Oregon USA

  58. 68 chuck smith
    September 7, 2009 at 18:32

    The American double standard and desensitized perspective on just what humanity is and means is all too evident in this poor victim’s father’s argument.

    His son was a victim of war just like the victims of 911 and all the innocents killed by the Americans in their two latest chosen wars.

    If we are not allowed to see the victims it is tantamount to giving the US goverment carte blanche to wage their wars at will as no one will be horrified enough to be against it.

    Images make the difference. Look at the power and influence of the images of the Vietnam war. It finally ended because of the pictures coming back.

  59. 69 rob w
    September 7, 2009 at 18:33

    I opened my Sunday newspaper yesterday and I was disgusted by this journalistic voyeurism. I have been working as a doctor for the past 5 years and have been involved in many emergency situations including multiple resuscitations. Some people can function under these conditions, some people don’t function as well as they would like, some people go to bits, and that is in a hospital not on a battlefield. I don’t think the photographer involved can be blamed for her role in the photographs, she was under extreme stress. However I think the AP, and indeed all other media formats since, who chose to publish this for a “greater understanding of war” are cynically abusing their power for money and not acting as responsible journalists. Similarly I was watching Sky news a few months ago at 8am before work and they showed footage of dying Taliban soldiers. I wrote a complaint about this at the time, because I considered this to be unnecessary and also inappropriate when kids are going to school. It was the same reply, that it was considered in the greater public good. I think it’s a sad reflection of the state of modern journalistic integrity.

  60. 70 Archibald
    September 7, 2009 at 18:34

    Anyone who is opposed to seeing the horrors of war is probably the same person who unthinkingly votes to engage in it. It is essential that everyone sees the stark face of war and its consequence, in an effort to stop its continuance. War is a shocking, horrific and barbaric form of conflict resolution.
    Many people have no choice, but, to witness war on a daily basis, because, it is happening right outside of their doors. All those who support war, yet, do not have to live with it and still cannot bring themselves to look at its horrible face, despite the suffering it brings, are the most ignorant and cowardly form of humanity. They should be sent to the front lines, rather than the brave souls that do their bidding. Wars would be shorter if those that vote for it, had to go.

  61. 71 Carol
    September 7, 2009 at 18:38

    As one who lost a brother to war, I am grateful to the photographers who documented what happend, because I know what happened instead of having my imagination make my pictures.

  62. 72 Elizabeth
    September 7, 2009 at 18:40

    Thank you for this segment, I am truly sorry for the Jacobson family.

    I’m a 55-year-old American female who saw live coverage of the Vietnam war and it’s horrors every night on TV. My world view as an “anti-war liberal” was deeply shaped by this tragic experience. My husband is a 41-year-old American from an entirely different generation, whose world views are quite different.

    Right or wrong, I can assure you showing reality in the media does have an impact on our values.

    Charlotte, North Carolina

    • 73 John LaGrua/New York
      September 7, 2009 at 21:12

      Steve , A dose of combat horror might dispel your blase attitude .I suggest that your bellicosity and callousness is due to the Isreal Lobby effort to keep the US fighting a futile war despite the terrible costs to young Americans.and to the nation.Such a strategy could bear bitter fruit for everyone.Fools walk where angels fear to tread.!

  63. September 7, 2009 at 18:40

    This is ridiculous – just because we can – doesn’t mean that we should.

    The ownership of the rights to this image should be that of the victim. Failing that it should fall to the family of the victim. So if they say – no – that should mean no.

    The press has lost their respect for the rights of the victim & their family. If the family had said yes – then the AP could have proceeded. To ignore their wishes is just plain wrong.

    We know what death is – we know what an explosion victim would look like. We don’t show pictures of the dying people from a hospital – be it from MRSA old age or organ failure. The only people who we ignore the rights of are those who’s rights we don’t care about – the starving in a foreign land etc. Which is still wrong – unless they have given their permission.

    This was done to attract publicity. They could have just informed – they went for the salacious image.

  64. 75 steve
    September 7, 2009 at 18:42

    Unless you live under a rock, you know what the realities of war are. I know of the realities of war from seeing pictures from prior wars, or movies about wars, which are very realistic. No american doesn’t realize this is going on. We all know that US soldiers get killed, Afghan civilians get killed, terrorirsts get killed, there are friendly fire incidents. Releasing pictures like this are just designed to whip up anti war sentiment.

  65. September 7, 2009 at 18:44

    These images are absolutely neccessary for society as a whole to expand it general conscious understanding of war and what war really is.

  66. 77 Jarrod
    September 7, 2009 at 18:46

    After Vietnam, one of the principle lessons the American military drew was that it had to control the imagery shown to the public. No more American soldiers in coffins, no more visions of the cost in terms of life and limb of military action. It was these images that turned U.S. public opinion against what was a futile military effort. The U.S. system of a volunteer military has divorced the general public from the realities of the use of force. I understand that the death of the soldier is painful for the family, but unfortunately we need to see pictures like this because for very many people in the U.S., the costs of war are never felt. War is hell, and in a world of romanticised violence, we need to be reminded of it. Moreover, by trying to insulate the public from the visions of death, the military tries to rob us of our democratic responsibility to make educated decisions.

  67. 78 Preston in the States
    September 7, 2009 at 18:50

    It bothers me some of the things the Mr. Bernard is saying. I must say that I completely sympathize for his grief, but he is saying some stuff that really bugs me. The photographer’s job was to take photographs, she did her job. Other soldiers we already helping him, there wasn’t much else she could do. Photographers are so often praised for taking photographs in war, or good times, of the glory sides of war, the raising of the flag on Iwo Jima for example, this photo is only different in that it shows the negative side.
    The truth is that many people here, thanks to the war movies, the violent video games, etc., many people are desensitized to the real horrors of war, though i am not sure that this image helps, just one single photo can’t easily bring that sensation back.
    I do think the AP went slightly out of line if the family requested the photo not be posted.
    The concept of reality is so skewed, for everyone, that nothing can really help much.

  68. 79 Tom D Ford
    September 7, 2009 at 18:50

    These military guys are pushing the pro-war propaganda really hard but US Marine Major General wrote the essay “War is a Racket” about what war is really about.

  69. 80 Lucie, Prague
    September 7, 2009 at 18:51

    I am sorry to the parents for loss of their child, however, I am very happy that AP published such a photo. That is reality, the war is like that. Photos like that are essential to help people to realize what is war like!!! As another example I recall reaction of mother of Neda Saltani killed during the uprising in Iran. She was very gratefull for Nedas shoot being published. I think she is very courageous!

    Maybe this is tough for Bernard father to being forced to realize how his son died, his family national hero….Yes, this is war and the “bravery” looks like this! I am sorry he knew is not sending him to Disneyland!

  70. 81 Will, British Columbia
    September 7, 2009 at 18:51

    I have a question for the panal, does this speak to the tension between the press and the army as to the type of message that leaves the battlefield?

  71. September 7, 2009 at 18:53

    I am nearly 60 years old and have been spared the horror of war. I do not know what it really looks like except through truthful, honest, and well considered journalism. Most Americans only know war by way of dramatic renderings in popular films. It is essential that everyone, Americans especially, understand what we are doing to enemies abroad and what the cost of that effort is, just as it is necessary that Americans understand how a war in Iraq or Afghanistan is protecting American freedoms.

  72. 83 Cody
    September 7, 2009 at 18:53

    As a former US Army Soldier who served in Iraq, I have seen friend die in horrible fashions. Within the military there is a code of conduct dealing with these situations, we carry the images of pain and suffering in our hearts forever, we do not, under any circumstances, inflict the pain we bear upon the family members of our fallen comrades. We volunteered for this, we knew what we were in for. The family of this soldier did not, he made the choice and died as a Soldier, its not glorious, its simply sad. His family does not deserve the pain that the press has inflicted on them by this, they can now never remember their loved one as the smiling brave man he was when he got on that plane, they will only remember his pain and fear.

    That being said, there are other ways to bring the reality of war home, all the AAP needed to do was to highlight this young mans accomplishments in life, his potential to do even more, and then simply state, that now we will never have the chance to see what great things this young man could have done. We have all missed out.

    Cody Former Specialist Third Infantry Division, Veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom III, now residing in PEI Canada

  73. 84 Archibald
    September 7, 2009 at 18:54

    What is wrong with Anti-war sentiments Steve?

  74. September 7, 2009 at 18:54

    yes we should see those pictures, only that way we the public will understand the effects of was, therefore known the intimidate danger to enroll yes or now. if a picture mean a thousand words then i need to see no more.


  75. September 7, 2009 at 18:54

    P.S. I am writing from Oregon in the Northwest of the U.S.A.
    Clive Peter Deane, Jr.

  76. 87 Dmiry
    September 7, 2009 at 18:55

    People always forget what war is all about war=death. We do not remember 2 World war , we do not remember killed people, millions of them. Photographs help us to respect solgers more.

  77. September 7, 2009 at 18:56

    Don’t have to see war to know it is hell

  78. 89 chuck smith American living in Spain
    September 7, 2009 at 18:56

    Pictures like this will ultimately cause the end of the War.

    Pictures like this will SAVE LIVES in the long run.

  79. 90 John in Washington State USA
    September 7, 2009 at 19:03

    These photos must be shown. There is a story that is always larger than the death of one soldier. This is a deeply controversial war, and it is easy for us at home to continue going to the mall, watching reality TV, etc without ever really understanding the horrors. Robert E. Lee said, “It is a good thing that war is a terrible thing lest we should begin to enjoy it.” This discussion is another example of how we take the principle of individualism too far. This soldiers death is a potent symbol of how the arrogance of ignorant politicians has devastating consequences for the best and brightest who lose their lives in their service.

  80. 91 Shannon in Ohio
    September 7, 2009 at 19:05

    I’ve had loved ones die in battle. I do not like seeing this young man dying, but everyone that I have talked to wants to know what happened to their loved one.
    It hurts, but it happened. Not printing the photo does not mean that it didn’t happen.
    How many families are out there wondering what really happened to their loved ones after the letter/visit.?

  81. 92 steve
    September 7, 2009 at 19:13


    That’s not a proper purpose for using such pictures. This is why there is a belief that the AP released the pictures either (1) to make money or (2) sway public opinion. Either possibility is reprehensible.

  82. 93 jesse
    September 7, 2009 at 19:15

    yes!except for the heartless i think it teaches a lot of life lessons,except that individual right should not be trample on.

  83. 94 Tom D Ford
    September 7, 2009 at 19:23

    These military guests are so lost in the pro-war propaganda that I am reminded of an idea I had during the Vietnam War years. I think that a career military person should have to take a year off every once in a while to live among civilians, without any contact with the military, so that they can get some restoration of what it is like to be a peaceful person.

    Although some professional soldiers are necessary we ought to go back to the draft, to citizen soldiers, instead of our current mercenary professionals who depend on never ending series of wars for their careers.

    We should only use soldiers once in a while, for defense, not offense, and those soldiers should normally be civilians, like the National Guard.

  84. 95 Rich Sayre
    September 7, 2009 at 19:26

    Did anyone put down their latte while reading the story,viewing the images? My guess is no. Would using a less graphic photo made the story less impactful. We go through our daily lives forgeting that our soldiers are dying regarless of whether grahpic photos are shown or not. The family asked not to have that photo published. Enough said.

  85. September 7, 2009 at 19:45

    What we have here is a culture clash between those who support war as a method of achieving the goals of a nation as opposed to those who don’t.

    But one way to solve this photo problem is to get permission to show a similar photo from relatives of the deceased who don’t support war as a paradigm of culture.

    The reason there are so many restrictions on war photos by the U.S. government is because they were so effective in influencing the public about the Viet Nam war, when there were no restricitons.

    You can’t expect a military type parent to understand the underlying reasons for a plutocracy or oligarchy to use their children as instrument to further their goals.

  86. September 7, 2009 at 19:45

    It appears that the majority are in favour of reality photographs. Do they have no imagination at all? We could have plenty of reality photographs.

    How about; Child sex abuse; Beastiality; Wife beaters; Rape; and torture,then we would all know what is going on and perhaps be able to stop it; that is according to some of the posts.

  87. September 7, 2009 at 20:30

    Sorry I almost forgot. How about public executions.. considering that they are real and we need to see justice done;from what I have read there would be standing room only

  88. 99 John LaGrua/New York
    September 7, 2009 at 20:55

    Yes! Americans have too long lived in a sanitized world where the results of US policy has been hidden so that the public is not aroused against folly.Advocates of war seldom participate and often falsely present a distorted picture of what is a horrific reality.Only truth can illicit moral responsibility.and an informed public is essential for a democracy. We must recognize the consequences of our policies and accept responsibility ,rejecting efforts by government to treat the public as mindless adolescents incapable of mature thought.Presidential deceit has condemned thousands of young Americans to death or life long suffering (Vietnam ,Mid-East ,Korea ) as well as innocents abroad without acountability. There is no dignity in ignorance and vigilance is the price of freedom !

  89. 100 Dennis Junior
    September 7, 2009 at 21:10

    I think the world, needs to see what the real pictures of war and these are the pictures ARE a very important item…..

    =Dennis Junior=

  90. 101 barbj
    September 7, 2009 at 21:33

    yes we do! we do need to see what war looks like. what kind of a question is this? a better one perhaps would be… shall we keep looking away and continue living sedated and in denial? one picture of a dead american solider and we all get to ask this question, really? how many dead iraqis have you seen? and more importantly how much did you care they were dead, their families in mourning and living in perpetual fear?

  91. 102 Jim Newman
    September 7, 2009 at 21:56

    Hello again
    I think the voyeristic element in the horrors of war is predominant. One only needs to count the number of war films to be convinced of that. People can’t see enough of the suffering of others and every trip demands even more and better until they are totally anesthetised.
    To answer the question, in a fashion, we need to understand what war is about.

  92. 103 Kathryn
    September 7, 2009 at 22:22

    If Lance-Corporal Bernard family agreed absolutely. The brutality of the battle field needs to see the light of day, they are important images for the general public but only if they will not cause his family additional suffering.

  93. 104 Francine Last
    September 7, 2009 at 22:25

    I agree with most of the comments expressed here. Journalists and photographers have a duty to report the war as it is back to the people. Governments and politicians want to control the images of war for their own purpose. They don’t wish people to see the horrors because it is those pictures that often turn people against war (as was the case in Vietnam). Politicians and military leaders want to promote war as glorious and heroic, and always have done. This is how they get men to fight in the first place. If America is not careful, it will become like China and Russia, with a controlled press and only images the government wants to see released.

  94. 105 Jennifer
    September 7, 2009 at 22:39

    Steve in Boston is my hero. I agree with his statements about liberals truly being heartless.

    I wish WHYS would not have posted a link to the photo.:(

  95. 106 PY
    September 7, 2009 at 23:34

    Photos should be shown. If the family requests otherwise, that should be honored.
    Warfare seems to be our most engaging activity…and we should honor those taking part in it by showing the reality. Then, perhaps, people will be less complacent about it. And warfare might be reduced. There just have to be other ways to resolve conflicts for oil, land, religion, etc. aside from shooting each other to smithereens.

  96. 107 Narda
    September 8, 2009 at 00:07

    David Price said: “We could have plenty of reality photographs. How about; Child sex abuse; Beastiality; Wife beaters; Rape; and torture,then we would all know what is going on and perhaps be able to stop it; that is according to some of the posts.”

    David, I think you are missing a key point. Unlike rape, bestiality, wife beating, child abuse, the waging of war is a public, political, done on behalf of a state’s citizens. The US is a democracy. Uninformed consent is not true consent.

    • September 8, 2009 at 14:30

      @ Narda. Dear Narda,yes I am aware of your very good point. But people were talking about reality photographs,and I thought, what about etc.etc. They are still realities. I have another post if you would care to glance at it!

  97. 109 Gemma in Berlin
    September 8, 2009 at 01:09

    Images like these can play a roll in changing opinions and opening eyes and are important. But, that said, I think the families of those in the photo’s should choose whether they are published or not.
    I was 16 and my brother was 13 when our Dad died in a helicopter crash. We saw the piece of dirty tin foil that was once a helicopter on the news. That piece of foil was all I could think about for months. That image lives with me 11 years later and will forever haunt me. If I had seen a photo of him, injured or dieing I think I would struggle to imagine my fathers face happy and healthy ever again, I would see only his nightmare end.
    Everyone knows what war is like. No one should be forced to face the horrific last seconds of their loved one’s life in order to educate the rest of us. What if the solider had children? Would they still have gone ahead and published the photograph?

  98. 110 Tom D Ford
    September 8, 2009 at 01:47

    “Do we need to see what war looks like?”

    I suggest that the other part to that question is:

    Do military people need to see what non-war, what civilian life looks like.

    I grew up in a military family living on military bases and after my father retired and we moved to civilian towns and cities I realized how isolated military life is, how they all tend to think alike, that the only tool they know is to make war, to go kill someone to solve any problem that comes up, to destroy things and people. They think that normal life is the military, not like peace time civilian lives where people go about their business, shopping, playing, cooperating to get things built and accomplished, trying to build things and better their own and other peoples lives.

    I keep reminding myself that the US is not now a peacetime Nation, that we are a war-time Nation, and we live under the extraordinary War Powers granted the Executive by the Constitution and the Congress. I would like to return to our normal peace time state, and our normal citizen civilian part-time soldiers.

  99. 111 Joe Soap
    September 8, 2009 at 03:14

    I think most people know the horrors of war, if the family didn’t want the picture published their wishes should have been heeded. It had nothing to do with showing the horrors of war, that is the excuse the media used so they could make big bucks. Lets show some photos of gang violence as well, so we all learn about the terrible problems there. Oh but that would never do because most gang members are from minorties and it would be politically incorrect to show them in a bad light. The argument of showing the photo has nothing to do with protrayal of war and everything to do with making money out of someones misfortune.

  100. 112 Bob / Arizona
    September 8, 2009 at 04:52

    There are a number of decent things we all do all day. Sleep, eat, take showers,
    make love. One thing each of us will only do once is die. Why does anyone have any right to photograph any of these very private moments in my life without my permission. Because I am rich? Because I am poor? Because I am a soldier? I am a human with dignity. Do I give up my right to dignity because I am any one of these? Will you respect my dignity or does your estimation of what is best for the greater good trump that?

  101. 113 Matthew
    September 8, 2009 at 06:40

    I believe we should all be concerned when an individual chooses to get the shot over offering assistance. This whole incident is plagued with fundamental flaws. Beginning with a government that has chosen to occupy a nation over run with power crazed primitives with both parties forcing their idea of right on the innocent masses both soldier and civilian. Perhaps we should all focus on being human before we focus on being photographers, soldiers, freedom fighters, terrorists, Ilsalamists, Catholics, Governors or Governed

  102. September 8, 2009 at 07:09

    What’s wrong with the media today? Instead of printing pictures of busty scantily clad women they show ugly pictures of war.

  103. 115 Elina
    September 8, 2009 at 08:43

    Mixed feelings. On one hand, it’s interesting that we can tolerate almost any graphic images of war and death as long as they’re not “real” (e.g. in movies and video games), but a photograph depicting what actually happens in a war zone is considered too shocking. On the other hand, I don’t know if it was necessary to publish this specific photo – does it really add anything to our knowledge of wars? At least the soldier’s family didn’t want it to be published, and I think their wish should have been respected.

  104. 116 K.Anaga
    September 8, 2009 at 11:38

    It appears that you are portraying the death of a soldier to expose the horrors of war.This corporal was sent by the government to kill the Afghans and in that process he got killed. The government is responsible for his death.It is unfortunate that arrogance of the British and US government is causing death and destruction
    I am sure you are aware of the thousands of civilians death during the recent civil war.in Sri Lanka. Further more nearly 300,00o civilians are behind the barbed wire fence facing mental and physical agony with no end in sight,
    Recently channel 4 TV broadcast the pictures of Tamils being shot by the Srilankan army without a proper trial.Srilankan government,as usual has denied any such happenings. What has the world and the United nation done about it to verify the truth?, In fact this civil war was considered a WAR Without Witness and except for a few ‘SHOUTS” , from various organizations, no tangible steps have been taken to ascertain the actual facts of the number of civilians killed and houses destroyed,. War, no doubt Kills and it is useless showing only one Corporols death to bring home the point.

  105. 117 Dennis Junior
    September 8, 2009 at 13:43

    (I) think that this situation about publishing these pictures are that; Most people honestly don’t want to see, that glorifed side of war…They want to see, the people in liberation mode….

    =Dennis Junior-

  106. 118 Leo goki, NIGERIA
    September 8, 2009 at 13:59

    yes i belive that we should be able to see pictures of what war is really like so yhat we all have a long hard think before we decide to send our young men and women to a place of almost certain death we should consider is it worth it, war is not a computer game when people die there is no reset button there is no “save point” when people die in war they die forever.

  107. 119 Keith- Ohio
    September 8, 2009 at 15:57

    I agree with Jo, if the family consents (and there are some that would), then the pictures can be published. How would you feel if you were a mother/father, and the picture of your poor son, helpless, dying of a mortal wound, was circulated around the world without your consent? It’s so very sad that the media would do this for ratings (and don’t argue that it is for some higher ideal than that, at least not from the AP’s perspective).

  108. 120 Keith- Ohio
    September 8, 2009 at 16:01

    ”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 [common decency and our greed. Our lack of respect for a wounded family’s wishes won out in the end.]”

    Just paraphrasing, from my perspective.

  109. 121 Tom D Ford
    September 8, 2009 at 16:29

    @ Steve in Boston
    September 7, 2009 at 15:38

    “…Left-wing liberals are ruthless, heartless, and devoid of all human compassion, despite their boisterous attempts to convince the world otherwise.”

    Firstly, Liberals are Centrists, not leftists.

    Secondly, Liberals have always been accused by Conservatives of being “Bleeding Hearts”, of having “Empathy”, of caring too much about people, of being too “Compassionate”.

    So your argument does not make sense, even to Conservatives.

  110. 122 Jessica in NYC
    September 8, 2009 at 17:54

    The AP absolutely did the right thing. We can’t have it both ways, either the press has the right to free speech or they don’t. The press can’t be asked to expose one side of an issue, but then be required to hide the bad aspects of it.

    • 123 Keith- Ohio
      September 8, 2009 at 18:20

      We often get into an argument between freedom of press and right to privacy. How would you feel if someone photographed you in the nude without your consent and published the photos?

      I know it’s a drastic example, but I would argue that the photos of this soldier dying is even more drastic. Not publishing the photo wouldn’t have been hiding the bad aspects of the war, everyone knows that people are dying in Afghanistan. One shouldn’t need to see a ghastly photo to appreciate the value of a human life.

  111. 124 nora
    September 8, 2009 at 18:05

    Wars only end when civilians demand an end to them. The widows and orphans cannot be shielded from the certainty of death under fire, why should the rest of us? I cringe at photos that seem voyeuristic but I absolutely abhor tucking the violence, loss and grief behind a curtain. Some photojournalists can convey respect for the most horrendous subjects. Kudos to anyone willing to cover a war.

  112. September 9, 2009 at 08:44

    I’m late to the discussion sorry… I believe we need a draft to know what war looks like. Having a voluntary army, and expensive Blackwater fighters, makes us the fans in the stands. We bought our tickets, and we whoop up our boys… and girls in safety up in the stands. The bosses don’t want pictures of the gruesome reality. Why would they?

    However, if there was a lottery that EVERY 19 year old had to experience, and the generals and civilians had to fight wars with these inductees, there would be no war in Iraq. We would choose our battles with integrity, and there would be plenty of video, photos, and blogging.

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