GRIM REALITY

Dying Marine Photo Surfaces

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has branded the decision by the Associated Press to release a photograph of a 21-year-old Marine in the final moments of his life as “appalling” and in breach of “common decency.” The photo shows the last breaths of Lance Corporal Joshua Bernard of New Portland, Maine, who was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade in Helmand, Afghanistan. His family requested the picture not to be published, but AP chose to transmit the image anyway because, they said, it conveyed “the grimness of war and the sacrifice of young men and women fighting it.” Gates wrote to AP’s president, Thomas Curley, saying; “I cannot imagine the pain and suffering Lance Corporal Bernard’s death has caused his family. Why your organization would purposefully defy the family’s wishes knowing full well that it will lead to yet more anguish is beyond me. The issue here is not law, policy or constitutional right--but judgment and common decency.”