Saturday, September 5, 2009

Joshua M. "Bernie" Bernard Marine Victim of the AP, Afghanistan War

Joshua M. "Bernie" Bernard was a Marine who was wounded on the battlefield, and later died on an operating table in Afghanistan on August 14th. The AP published a photo taken within minutes Bernard being wounded.

Lance Cpl. Joshua M. "Bernie" Bernard
Lance Cpl. Joshua "Bernie" Bernard was from New Portland, Maine. Bernard's father, an ex-Marine, asked that the photo not be printed. According to this report, Defense Secretary Robert Gates called the CEO of "the news service," and asked him to pull the photo - this quote from Secretary Gates:
Why your organization would purposefully defy the family's wishes knowing full well that it will lead to 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 her is not law, policy or constitutional right - but judgment and common decency.
Thomas Curley, the above mentioned CEO said he would discuss the request with his staff. He reported back to Gates with this:
[his] crew had “seriously considered the secretary’s concerns and the families concerns … but ultimately decided that they wanted to proceed with pushing out this image to their clients,”...
Joshua was 21 years old. He was assigned to 2nd Batallion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, based out of Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, in May of 2007. He joined the Marines in November 2006. According to Freedom Remembered, Joshua:
...was home-schooled from kindergarten to 12th grade b his mother, receiving his high school diploma from North Atlantic Regional High School. He was an active member of the teen youth group at his church, Crossroads Bible Church in Madison, and enjoyed gaming, hiking, snowboarding, shooting, was an avid reader and a big movie buff. ...A deeply religious young man, who felt that it was his duty to not only serve God, but his country, he was focused on his goals in life.... Joshua lived his life as a great example for Christ, earning the nickname "Holy Man' from his fellow soldiers.
Patterico's Pontifications has more. The comments there are worth a read as well. Take a look at comment No. 11 at Patterico's. I would not quote it here, of course, because this commenter is not my reader, but about the point he/she made, I'll just say this: during WWII it took a very long time for photos to reach home. News was not instantaneous. The photo of Lance Cpl. Bernard was released just after his burial.

©2007-2012copyrightMaggie M. Thornton