Archives About Staff BagNews is dedicated to visual politics, media literacy and the analysis of news images.
December 25, 2008

Picks of the Year

Bee Afganistant Reuters TOP08.jpg

Although I’m up north with family and pursuing a minimalist strategy for a couple of days, I have done a little combing through the glut of “Best of ‘08″ photo lists.

I like this Reuters image as much for its prospective, as its retrospective value. To the extent the Afghan War draws heightened attention in the coming year (replacing Iraq as our “A” war), territorial stalemate and signification of futility will have much greater impact. This photo, taken in May, shows a U.S. Marine escaping a close call in a firefight with the Taliban in Helmland Province.   

(image: Goran Tomasevic. caption: Sgt. William Olas Bee, a U.S. Marine from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, has a close call after Taliban fighters opened fire near Garmser in Helmand Province of Afghanistan May 18, 2008. The Marine was not injured.)

  • merl

    where’s his body armor and helmet?

  • Chris

    I was going to say the same thing! Where is his helmet?!?!

  • barrisj

    Buddy-boy, you’re in the wrong war at the wrong time in the wrong spot…read your history and bugger off.

  • Observer

    Body armor? Helmet? Hell, he’s a US Marine! Up to that moment he probably believed he was invincible. Afterwards, perhaps, he realized that he never was, and that it might help to actually wear the PPE. Is there an interview with him anywhere? I would love to read about his thoughts before and after the picture was taken.

  • Been there Done that

    pathetic comments by liberal pantywaists.
    Couch potato’s like a Bill Kristol that make remarks about war and fighting as if they were at a theatre munching popcorn. “What an idiot, didn’t have his helmet on” – can you pass me the Raisinette’s please. “What a durn fool, almost got his head blown off, maybe next time he will smarten up and wear his body armour.”

  • Steve B.

    Helmet? Armor? Perhaps he was caught by surprise, perhaps the situation looked vastly different moments before. He could have been hot, dirty, tired, whatever. Have you been there? People get tired; they do things that they might regret later, given the advantage of hindsight.
    Better to ask why he was put there in the first place.

  • Chris

    @Been There Done That
    You don’t know the first thing about me or my politics. And if you think having done “that” is a mark of distinction…

  • jtfromBC

    back ground for those interested ~ an excerpt
    ‘Much was made of the photographs, which showed Sgt. Bee defending a mud wall without a helmet. Bobbie said her husband told her he was changing into fresh clothes when the company came under gunfire.’
    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,356924,00.html

  • http://profile.typekey.com/[email protected]/ DennisQ

    The Fox News story has the following quote:
    “He’s fighting to look out for the United States,” said his grandmother, Belva Bee, noting “it’s something that he wanted to do, and if something happens to him over there I’ll know he was doing something that he wanted to do.”
    I think we should stop glorifying what the Marines are doing in Afghanistan. They don’t belong there; the Afghan people don’t want them there; and let’s be candid here – they’re not looking out for the United States. Sergeant Bee could easily have been killed sticking his head up without a helmet during a firefight. Looking at the sequence of photographs, it’s clear that at least one other Marine had the sense to put his helmet on.
    I don’t support the troops anymore. This stuff has been going on for several years now, long enough for our voluntary military to recognize these silly wars for what they are – foolish violence.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/john_bannion/ harrier

    As a picture, it’s quite a photograph. Came closer than comfortable to Capa’s Spanish Civil War photo (and can we not go into whether that was staged or not?)
    A close call for sure; for the photographer, too.

  • http://www.bizimlesohbet.com sohbet

    who wouldn’t, won’t.

Refresh Archives

Random Notes