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I am disgusted that The Associated Press released the picture of Lance Cpl. Joshua Bernard in his final days ("Death of a Marine," article, Sept. 4). That Marine gave his life for his brothers and his country and the press put it on display, despite the secretary of defense’s protest.

I have seen the picture and I truly feel sorry for Bernard’s family. There are some things parents shouldn’t see, and that is a perfect example of what you shouldn’t print.

There is the argument that the American public should see what is going on here. I disagree. I love my fellow Americans. I defend them to the best of my ability every day in Afghanistan, but I don’t think they should see some things that go on here. The public does not do what we do here and that makes them different. What myself and my fellow Marines do here makes us different. We are subject to different laws and standards that the public doesn’t have to deal with. I would like to keep it that way.

I joined the Corps to keep the bad guys away. I take great pride in what I do and the fact that I am a United States Marine. Afghanistan is a violent place that I don’t want the American public to have to deal with and that is why we are here. There are things people see and do here that shouldn’t be exposed to the people back home — especially against their wishes. I wish the media would respect that.

I am sure Bernard served his Corps and his country with honor and dignity. Now it’s time for his country to honor and respect him properly. Do what is right — take the picture out of print, respect his family’s wishes.

Cpl. John T. StakemanHelmand province, Afghanistan

EDITOR’S NOTE: Stars and Stripes chose not to publish the photo referred to in this letter. For a discussion of Stripes’ decision, see


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