color: SOME SOLDIER'S MOM: Cruelty Without Excuse

Friday, September 04, 2009

Cruelty Without Excuse

You can start at Blackfive and The Mudville Gazette for a roundup and background info.

Every parent has the same nightmare. The specifics of the nightmare may vary, but the heart pounding message is the same: your child is somewhere and he (or she) is injured... they are in pain. They cry out for you. But you are not there. You cannot get there. You cannot help them. You cannot be there to hold them... help them... comfort them.'s.nightmare.

I have lived through a deployment... and I know that parents worry 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I don't care how old that child is. It matters not how many times they have deployed. It doesn't matter that they may have children themselves. You worry. You always worry.

I have said many times that it is hard to be a soldier's mom. Or a Marine's.

I have received that phone call telling me that my son had been wounded. I have lived through a night of waiting for headlights to appear in my driveway... to see two soldiers standing at my door. I have lived through a night of begging and bartering with God to please let my son live. We found some comfort that night by telling ourselves that our wounded son was not alone, but was with people who would be there with him and for him... who would ease his pain and comfort him. I comforted myself with images of my son being tended to and cared for by people who cared whether he lived or died. Not once did I try to picture what his wounds might look like.

I have also written about iconic images and how a journalist/photojournalist can select images to convey their own private opinion... and I offered alternate images to illustrate.

So now we see that some uninformed, disrespectful ________ who calls herself a journalist was taking pictures while embedded with a U.S. Marine unit in Afghanistan snapping away during an attack and who continued photographing while a young Marine died. That Marine was Lance Corporal Joshua M. Bernard. But the DISGRACE is that the AP opted to publish photos of LCpl Bernard as well as noting the gruesome details of his death that left no doubt in the minds of those who care that he was suffering and in pain as he died on a road far from his family. Far from the parents who not only dreamed the nightmare but who now, thanks to these photos, must live with the proof. There is no comforting them. There will be no telling his mother the lie that we mothers would so willingly accept as truth -- that he died instantly and felt no pain.

I know that no matter how hard we try, we all go to the "dark place" on occasion when our soldiers (Marines, Airmen, Sailors) are deployed. But I guarantee you that we never imagine our loved ones as that photo depicts.
Publishing the photo intensified the family's pain and grief. The death of a child weighs on parents heavily as being unnatural in the order of things and Mz Jacobson and the AP have made that weight heavier and even harder to bear.

Adding insult to this injury, Julie Jacobson justifies the taking (and I presume the publication) of the photos with the lame-ass, self-serving,
To ignore a moment like that simply ... would have been wrong. I was recording his impending death, just as I had recorded his life moments before walking the point in the bazaar. Death is a part of life and most certainly a part of war. Isn't that why we're here? To document for now and for history the events of this war?
to which I will repeat what I once blogged to the editor of the NYT,
I resent your thinking that we’re stupid enough to believe your little horseshit speeches about “I did it for you.”

To Mz Jacobson and to those at the AP I say: no parent should ever be subjected to the cruelty of that photo. That may not have been your intent, but that was the effect. Especially after the family specifically asked that you not publish the photo of their mortally wounded son. You have assured that the family of this honorable Marine will forever have the gruesome image you presented to them burned in their hearts and their minds.

Isn't it bad enough that this young man is dead? Wasn't it enough that those parents had to answer the door? And not only is LCpl Bernard subject to contempt and ridicule by some in the world (just one such incident would be more than he deserved), his death is being used by you to undermine the very thing for which he died... for something in which he believed!! Who the hell are you to decide that this one death -- the death of this mother's precious and beloved son -- should be the image you choose to promote your message... to represent what YOU believe represents the war?? Need I ask the last time you photographed and printed the photos of the women and children whom the Taliban have slain??

I wish I had not been so prescient back when the despicable excuse for a Secretary of Defense proposed lifting the ban on photographing the caskets of our war dead, when I said,
To those who say they wish these photos so that the "public" can show their respect for the dead, I say, if it takes photos of flag-draped caskets to inspire someone to mourn our war dead, “respecting” the dead is not their intention.
Is there some monetary or political profit to be made on the dead? Yes, I see.

To Mz Jacobson and the AP: your publication of these photos under these circumstances had absolutely nothing whatever to do with showing the world that death is a part of war; it was politically and financially motivated. And your thoughtless, insensitive actions intensified the grief of LCpl Bernard's family. You didn't submit the photo to honor him or to record his bravery for posterity. You didn't do it for him or his family. You did it for you.

And frankly, if Mz Jacobson really wanted to showcase the horror of war, perhaps she should volunteer to stand in front and die to make the point, and have HER death photo published for HER parents and family to pour over. I'm sure I can find a shitload of volunteers willing to help her in her endeavor. I'm sure the AP would oblige with the publication.



At 9/05/2009 6:30 AM , Blogger tom said...


American troops and thier families continue to fight our countries enemies foreign and domestic. They are lucky to have you as one of them. Great post as always.

At 9/05/2009 3:53 PM , Blogger Maggie45 said...

Thank God that you're here to be such a Big Voice for our families. God bless you.

Here's a partial interview with our Hero's father:

At 9/05/2009 4:16 PM , Blogger joyce said...

Thank you, Air Force and Army mom

At 9/05/2009 4:24 PM , Blogger Master Doh-San said...

There is absolutely no excuse for what AP and that "journalist" did. Absolutely none. It was a despicable, self-serving act. No wonder Americans despise the legacy media.

At 9/05/2009 8:40 PM , Blogger Guard Wife said...

As usual, you are laser focused & on point. I cannot even think about this without becoming angry. The idiotic premise of their arguments and weak justifications--sicken me.

At 9/08/2009 12:03 AM , Blogger ~Mary~ said...

I also heard about this and am glad you said something about it .. With my husband being on his 3rd deployment it comes in my mind everyday I leave my house if I am going to come home to someone waiting for me to tell me my soldier isnt coming home.. but to have to have such a photo of a hero in that time is not ok expecialy when the family asked it to not be made public. That is just wrong !! So thank you for talking about this !


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