The heartbreaking image of a dying U.S. marine that has reignited American divisions over the Afghan war...
It is a deeply disturbing image which depicts the grim reality of war - a fatally wounded U.S. soldier lies slumped in the mud as fellow marines desperately try to save him as his young life ebbs away.
But the release of the picture by a news agency in the U.S., which went against the wishes of the victim's family, has sparked a furious debate which has divided a nation.
The grim photograph shows Lance Corporal Joshua 'Bernie' Bernard, 21, shortly after he was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade during a Taliban ambush of his squad last month in Dahaneh, Afghanistan.
The U.S. defence secretary, Robert Gates, condemned the decision by the news agency Associated Press to publish the graphic photograph after Bernard was killed in Afghanistan.
In a scathing letter to Tom Curley, president and chief executive of the AP, Gates said the decision was 'appalling', saying it was a matter of 'judgment and common decency' not to publish the photo.
Gates wrote in the letter: 'I cannot imagine the pain and suffering Lance Corporal Bernard's death has caused his family.
'Why your organisation would purposely 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 newspapers is appalling.'
However, AP has defended the decision, which editors said they made only after careful review and sharing the pictures with the family.
The news agency said it decided 'to make public an image that conveys the grimness of war and the sacrifice of young men and women fighting it'.
Original AP Post: © www.washingtonpost.com
Read more here: © www.dailymail.co.uk
My sympathy and condolences to the Bernard family and friends on their tragic loss. Many years ago during the U.S. Civil War, Union General William Tecumseh Sherman said "War is Hell". Photos like this can help with the lesson of the words which the human race and America in particular need to reflect upon... At least let's be truthful about what is being done by us and done to us in our name.
Now...wouldn't peAce be a better choice?