04 Sep 2009 @ 10:51 AM 

It Takes Two To Tango


The Associated Press did something absolutely heinous today, but before that a photographer did something absolutely heinous. Without either one of them, the fiasco of today would never have happened. Today the AP decided to publish a photograph showing a mortally wounded Marine struggling for his life on the battlefield.
they claim high-minded purpose.

NEW YORK — The Associated Press is distributing a photo of a Marine fatally wounded in battle, choosing after a period of reflection to make public an image that conveys the grimness of war and the sacrifice of young men and women fighting it.


It’s about money, folks. Pure and simple. The same thing for Julie Jacobson, the photographer who was embedded with the Marines the day that LCpl Bernard was mortally wounded. Let’s see how she justifies this:

Later, when she learned he had died, Jacobson thought about the pictures she had taken.

“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,” she said. “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?”


She thought of the pictures she had taken and “$” came to mind immediately. “Jackpot!” her mind screamed instantly. She got paid for that picture, and she will continue to get paid for it for some time, especially after the furor that erupts. What would have been wrong for her was to set aside her money and an imagined chance for a Pulitzer. Such selfishness and what a ridiculous attempt to couch it in ethical terms. Personally, she better hope that she never, ever runs into me or the most lightly she will come off from it will be ringing eardrums. Those poor Marines who saw her pictures later had no idea that she would be part of dishonoring LCpl Bernard’s father’s wishes, against DoD policy.

The young Marine’s father had asked not once, but twice, for the picture of his mortally wounded son not to be whored out for money. But his pleas fell on the deaf ears of whores who heard only the ringing of registers and saw the sparkle of money. In the information age the press is hurting for money, and this was a jackpot.

Bernard’s father after seeing the image of his mortally wounded son said he opposed its publication, saying it was disrespectful to his son’s memory. John Bernard reiterated his viewpoint in a telephone call to the AP on Wednesday.

“We understand Mr. Bernard’s anguish. We believe this image is part of the history of this war. The story and photos are in themselves a respectful treatment and recognition of sacrifice,” said AP senior managing editor John Daniszewski.

I’m going to state right now and unequivocally that I do not want for any pictures of me published that show me in any condition other than upright and breathing normally. All else is punishable by whatever violence I can visit upon you in whatever condition I am in. I want to write the most vile curses I can at this moment in my anger for a man who justifies going against the wishes of the family. I want that man fired, and I want for him to never work in his chosen field ever again. I want that photographer fired, and I want every individual who was in the chain all the way up to Daniszewski fired as well. There is one simple rule; your wishes mean nothing compared to the wishes of the family. Period. They make the sacrifices, not you. Their sacrifices and how they wish them to be dealt with are theirs, and not yours to make whatever statement (along with your money and a name for yourself) you care to claim to be making. I curse all you who were involved with this and I am your sworn enemy for life. I will never forget you and it will never be safe for any of you to be within range of me.

There is also complicit shame for the newspapers and other outlets that were the Johns in this case, paying a little to get the thrill of providing “news.” Bullshit, bullshit and triple bullshit. It’s really hard to convey how pissed off at journalists I am right now.

This week a journalist was overlooked in a briefing that contained some slides marked “secret.” Immediately following the briefing it was realized that not only had she been present, but had taken careful notes. She was asked not to publish any of the information… but that was worth money to her, so she fought tooth and nail over it. What she saw was not a revelation, but to her, it was a scoop. The red letters at the bottom of the slide meant not responsibility to her, but dollars and reputation. It didn’t matter one whit to her about the security of her country, Afghanistan or any other NATO or Coalition country. Not a bit. She wanted to make a name for herself and make some money. Had she been concerned for security, there would have been no question whatsoever… but that wasn’t her attitude. It was all about her, not about anyone else’s needs.

So it’s not just one lousy self-justifying photographer and one grubbing AP manager. No, this is bigger than them. If 95% of journalists in Afghanistan got their hands on the plans for a war-winning operation, it would be in the New York Times the very next morning.

You see, this war is all about them. It’s not about the truth. It’s not about considerations for decency or ethics or honest reporting. Most of them don’t even know what they’re looking at. Most of them don’t care. They look at it through their ignorant eyes and report as if they were children explaining a physics experiment. They don’t know what right looks like, and so everything’s a mess even if it isn’t.

God help your family if they get a shot of you in extremis. God help your father or mother, your wife, brother or sister if they want to protect your dignity and the privacy of your family, because the press itself is just that damned important, and so is their precious money. I don’t care who did it; every single journalist is now dogshit in my book. Every one. I wasn’t too fond of the media whores this morning when I got up, but now I hate every one of the bastards.

Keep the hell away from me. There are only two in this whole country that I want within a mile of me, and neither one of them would dare to take my picture if I was that messed up. They have respect and decency. Make that three. CJ Chivers would probably not do it. The two I know who would not are Scott Kesterson and Michael Yon. The rest, including and especially Julie Jacobson can go straight to Hell. If I was injured and that bitch tried to take my picture, if I had the strength I’d shoot her before I died. We could both explain our actions seconds later to the Almighty.

Profiting from the death of another human being at the expense of that man’s dignity and against the wishes of his own family… hmmmm.

I think I’d soon be on my way to Fiddler’s Green, but she’d be on her way to Hell; and so I’ll end this post with a wish to her and her boss for Godspeed on their way there.

Tags Tags: , , ,
Categories: Afghanistan
Posted By: Old Blue
Last Edit: 04 Sep 2009 @ 10 51 AM


Responses to this post » (28 Total)

  1. John says:

    Brilliantly written. I feel like less of a man for not having served my country, and I worship those that have and do. I thought the rage I felt at this story was impossible to put down in words. This soldier proved me wrong with his awesome writing, which is SPOT ON and should be published on the front page of every English periodical on earth.

    Oh, but the publishers won’t allow that. Instead, they hire cowardly losers.

    The media are bastard whores and this story is yet another huge piece of evidence.

    LCpl Bernard and his family are my heroes.

  2. Rosemary says:

    As I was reading your post, I first wanted to start a petition to get the AP fired and out of country. But it is larger than that. Legislation needs quick approval, and I doubt if we could do anything with this administration. Not with their lovefest.

    I pray she never meets you or anyone who works under or above you. (That should cover just about everyone.) Not only her, but all of them except the 3 you named and Matt Sanchez.

    I don’t have the words (are there any?) to ease your righteous anger. All I can offer is God’s blessings and protection for you. Take care, Blue.

  3. Gabby says:

    Is there nothing sacred anymore?

  4. OldSoldier54 says:

    This is a load of crap. Hopefully the Marines will be allowed to boot her the heck out of country ASAP – never to be allowed in country again. Including that other clown, and who was responsible for overlooking her?

  5. Jean says:

    dear god, what monsters!
    Our list of enemies is longer than ever now.
    May all involved in this decision rot slowly and painfully in hell forever.

  6. Ky Woman says:

    Your thoughts regarding this particular AP writer/photographer and the entire AP/MSM are being echoed around the entire country, I’d say.

    There are some that have no idea as to the definition of the word integrity, or even have a basic understanding of ethics. But you know, she and others will have to answer for causing the Bernard family heartbreak and pain. As it should be…

    And I can’t even say “Lord, have mercy on them.” Not now.

  7. brat says:

    Right now, I am speechless as I am soooooooooo friggin’ angry – again!

    I am so sorry that this scum and her bosses did this. Yes, I’ll be writing about it when I can be half way as articulate as you have been here.

  8. membrain says:

    I’d like to say I’m surprised but I’m not. Applalled. Yes. Angy. Yes. And full of sorrow for the family of LCpl Bernard. And his fellow Marines. You can bet the unsuspecting Marines around her when she took that shot with a long lense were concerned only for her safety in a hostile situation.

    ““We understand Mr. Bernard’s anguish.” said AP senior managing editor John Daniszewski. No John you don’t. And whats’ more you couldn’t give shit. As long as it fits your agenda John then it’s just fine trash the memory of a fallen hero.

    At the very least Julie Jacobson has joined the ranks of the Nick Meo’s of this world. Cheap shot journalists who publish the lowest of the low at the expense of others. Thankfully she won’t be embedding with troops again.

    I was wondering when and who would cross this line of sanctity. Now I know. Damn you Julie Jacobson. Damn you to Hell.

  9. coffeypot says:

    SOD Gates said in a letter, “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.”

    And the print media is wondering why their subscriptions are falling off. There is no news in LCpl Benrard’s picture. Simply pure sensationalism and personal gain a head of what is decent. I prefer to get my new from guys like you and some of the other bloggrs I have met.

    Just stay upright and breathing.

  10. Hagenmary says:

    What is WRONG with the people in our country? Why are there no ethics or morals? What happened to simple human compassion? Every day we hear about some jerk who believes that what THEY want trumps all. The so-called leaders of companies who loot & cheat and get away with it. The “top 10%” who live like kings and treat the majority like serfs. It’s not just journalists, every profession is lousy with selfish, monsterous creatures, who rip & tear their way through life. I don’t have any answers as to why the power has tipped to the truly evil. I just wish there was some way to; A… take back the power and B…. punish them.
    Oh yeah, I want justice. I want revenge. I want them to suffer big time.
    I’m with you, Blue. I want blood.

  11. Sanmon says:

    Julie Jacobson and the photographer need their phone number and address published. Fair is Fair. It will not make up for how they have treated the family of LCpl Bernard. If you chose to invade ones privacy at a moment such as this, then expect others to invade your privacy.

  12. brat says:

    I have now renamed AP “Amoral Parasites” and written a *few* of my own thoughts….

    They will pay consequences for their lack.

  13. […] Old Blue, a Soldier in Afghanistan now: I’m going to state right now and unequivocally that I do not want for any pictures of me published that show me in any condition other than upright and breathing normally. All else is punishable by whatever violence I can visit upon you in whatever condition I am in. I want to write the most vile curses I can at this moment in my anger for a man who justifies going against the wishes of the family. I want that man fired, and I want for him to never work in his chosen field ever again. I want that photographer fired, and I want every individual who was in the chain all the way up to Daniszewski fired as well. […]

  14. OldSpook says:

    Just invite her for an embed and boot her ass out of the vehicle when you are at the far end of the op. Let the stinkin Talib mooks have her.

  15. Troy says:

    @Hagenmary: “What happened to simple human compassion?” Our public education school system is what happened- and our increasingly secular-humanist society. Whether you believe in God or not, removing morality from any decision means you end up with people who only seek to please self, and loathe those who seek higher, more altruistic reasons of conduct. Notice to AP: You are dead to me.

  16. OldSoldier54 says:

    What happened to my comment?

  17. Travis says:

    I probably would have been okay the AP publishing, but his family said no, and that’s really all that should matter.

  18. Desert_Donkey says:

    You said it a lot better than I could have, brother! The ASS-ociated Press crossed a big fucking line when they published these images against the wishes of Lance Cpl. Bernhard’s family, and I hope they go out of business for their roughshod treatment of other peoples’ pain.
    Fuck the AP.

  19. elf's recants says:

    As far as I’m concerned the Media’s right of free speech is revoked due to constant abuse. They have no respect for the rights of others, like any criminal they can have their’s restricted. From now on, it’s a privilege. We protect the rights, we can revoke them. It’s not as if most American’s will notice.

    Don’t anyone dare remind me what my oath is…

    They would ruin a beautiful weekend.

  20. Barbc says:

    The worst pain any parent can suffer is the death of their child. For this brazen whore to go against the families wishes is total selfishness.
    A parent has the right to remember their child in the best possible moment.

    It is hard enough to view their child in the casket but to see them at the point of death – – – –

    As a mother I would like to physically beat the stuffing out of this rude thoughtless spoiled brat. Then I would like to take several pictures of her and publish them for the world to see.

    Since these embedded gossip mongers are with military units would it not be legal for the military to say the pictures belong to the military and not carpet baggers. Especially since their safety is in the hands of the soldiers. Since when do our soldiers have to baby sit back stabbers?
    Is it possible some of our soldiers have died trying to protect these ingrates? If this is the case then the soldiers family should get every dime earned from the pictures. The embedded leach should never receive any monetary compensation from the pictures.

  21. Yani says:

    We should see more photos like this. In addition, I would like to see photos of the civilian and insurgent casualties. It’s important for the American people to see them to understand what war is. War is brutal and ugly. Not enough of us are aware of this.

    Like all of you, I mourn for the fallen Marine and his family. However, he is not a private citizen. He is a US Serviceman who was killed in a war that according to the most recent polls, the majority of Americans are against. We have the right and the duty to become as informed about this war.

  22. elf says:

    It’s time to reconsider making First Amendment Rights an absolute license. In the case of the media, perhaps it’s time to consider making it a privilege, in particular during wartime. A privilege across the board.

  23. RamblingRia says:

    “History” according to the AP – no wonder our society is in trouble. No wonder our children can’t get a clear and truthful picture of the world they live in. “Free” speech is no longer “free” if they are paid for it. And therefore should be held accountable for the resulting atrocities of their “scoops.” Mr. Bernard is the father of a son and a hero, not an “image of history.” My sincere hope that Mr. Bernard will be able to find justice and peace of heart. And with soldiers like Blue on his side, the AP may want to re-define what the hell they’re doing to “history.” Or… just plain run like hell.

  24. mrt721 says:

    I was pissed off when I read this yesterday, went to bed pissed off, woke up this morning pissed off. You’re right, Blue, it is all about the money, which was also one of my first thoughts, money-grubbing pricks.
    So imagine my frame of mind when I searched for the AP website,
    and see they have a .ORG web address.
    Non-profit my bleeding ass!
    No more AP embeds. Ever.
    And that .ORG, non-profit designation needs to be revoked, permanently.
    I swear, non-profit? THAT pisses me off every time I think about it.

  25. Maureen says:

    To the AP and the low life journalist taking the pictures and who ever else is involved in the slimy chain of money grubbing bottom feeders who released the picture of this Marine Hero…..how dare you even consider yourselves americans. My heart felt warm and loving wishes to the Bernard Family. From a mother of two servicemen.

  26. elf goes shyster says:

    Mr Bernard’s got a Hell of a Civil Suit, not just against the reporter but the AP. It’s not about the money. It’s about breaking these bastards who torture the families of the deployed and teaching them some decency.

    Get a fund going, and Wallah I’ll chip in. I’m sure quite a war chest could be raised and fast.

  27. David M says:

    The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 09/05/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

  28. jjf says:

    Where did you get the idea that Jacobson is going to make even one extra cent out of that pictures?

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