Monday, July 10, 2006

This Is Our War - A Soldiers' Portfolio





A very interesting new book has recently been published, photographically chronicling American Soldiers experiences in Iraq, a sort of Picture Album of what is being hailed as the First Digital War.

The name of the book is A Soldiers' Portfolio - This Is Our War: Servicemen's Photographs of Life in Iraq by David Friedman & the Editors of GQ, ISBN: 1-57965-309-X, and it provides a neat pictorial montage from the servicemens' perspectives of their duty, life, battles, emotions, camraderie, loss, and human niceties in Iraq.

Over 10,000 photos from soldiers in Iraq were examined by the author David Friedman and the Editors of GQ before being distilled down into the 256 thoughtful and interesting images that are found in the book.

The most poignant sections of which are Chapters: The Fallen, with its stark photos of Memorial services and mementos of the fallen, and Last Shots, which contains the last pictures of those who didn't make it back home from the Conflict.

My only complaint with the book is, I would have liked to have seen more images of Iraq and Iraqis themselves, as there was generally a sense of distance between the American soldiers and the Iraqis. Of course, that makes a great deal of sense. It's a War after all, and a wariness, a
sense of distance is often needed to survive such conflicts, along with the reality of American servicemen interacting with a people of a different culture.

Aside from this minor complaint, A Soldiers' Portfolio - This Is Our War, besides its pictorial splendidness, provides you with a jolt of soldiers' impressions on the Conflict and Iraq:


War Has Begun

It starts to hit you: Okay, this is for real now. I might actually need to start using that weapon.
Petty Officer First Class Aaron Ansarov, U.S. Navy

Band Of Brothers

We were from all different walks. We had a bunch of us corn-fed boys and a bunch of city guys. We had latinos and everything else. We just bonded and became a group.
Specialist Cole Augustine, U.S. Army


The Stench Of Death

If I sit down to think about it, the biggest thing is, I can still smell that day ~ the burning flesh, the burnt hair, the explosives in the air. It's nothing you really ever get used to.
Staff Sergeant Harry J. DeLauter, U.S. Army


The Infamous Iraqi Sand

The sand blows sideways in Iraq, from the bottom, from the top, from anywhere.
Petty Officer First Class Kevin H. Tierney, U. S. Navy


Luck

Everybody in our unit came home. One guy got shrapnel in his hand. One guy got shot in the pinkie, and one guy got clipped with an RPG in the foot. We were extraordinarily lucky.
Sergeant James Baumgardner, U. S. Army


Blood Money

It's hard for Americans to understand, but it is considered acceptable to pay money to compensate for the loss of life...It seems cynical, but there's an acceptable price if you lose a son versus if you lose a father. A father provides for the whole house, so that means more money. We were trying to give these people a new start.
First Lieutenant Seth Moulton, U.S. Marine Corps - An Najaf


On Encountering Iraqi Women And Girls While Out On Patrol

We didn't approach them, we didn't talk to them...We weren't supposed to look at them...We weren't supposed to take many photographs of them either.
Petty Officer First Class Bruen Ano, U.S. Navy - Iskandariyah


The Generosity Of The Iraqi People

There was so much generosity, even from the poorest people. You'd be walking down the street and they would offer you tea. And they have nothing. We would go on combat patrols and go to people's houses to check on things, and they would immediately send somebody for a goat to cook up right there in front of you. We didn't ask them to ~ they just did it.
Captain J. Philip Ludvigson, U.S. Army


A nice book indeed.




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