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John Moore/Getty Images: Iconic Images from the Iraq WarPhotographs of an atrocity may give rise to opposing responses: a call for peace; a cry for revenge; or simply the bemused awareness, continually restocked by photographic information, that terrible things happen.
Susan Sontag, “Looking at War: Photography’s View of Devastation and Death,” New Yorker, December 9, 2002.
The toll of war continues long after the last battle is fought. Mary McHugh, visiting the grave of her slain fiancé, Sgt. James Regan, on the first Memorial Day weekend after his death in 2007, is directly involved in the harsh reality of combat. While the violence and physical danger of the battleground are far away from this frame, Mary is a casualty suffering the direct and utterly unexplainable trauma of losing a loved one. Though this image cannot communicate the reality of such a loss, it reframes the manner in which war is seen and consumed through a carnal yet depressingly familiar barrage of smoldering ruins, bloodied victims, and brave soldiers. There is neither condemnation of nor justification to combat; only an evocation of the incalculable sadness marked with every tombstone.
—Lisa Larson-Walker, Photo Editor, Newsweek & The Daily Beast
DUSTOFF73 medevac crew member, Chief Warrant Officer Two Erik Sabiston, at The Hero Summit.
This week’s cover, if you missed it on Monday before we got all election crazy, features three soldiers the helicopter crew of DUSTOFF 73—a medevac team that took on a wildly perilous mission to save troops under fire in Afghanistan’s Kunar province.
They are heroes.
But they’re not alone.
Next week your nwktumblrs ship off to Washington, D.C. to cover Newsweek & The Daily Beast’s “Hero Summit,” a two-day “theatrical-journalism event” (a cooler name for a string of on-stage panel discussions between journalists and subjects) where, ahem, “we’ll hear powerful theories about the essence of leadership, showcase veterans whose stories illuminate the connection between military service and success in the private sector, and examine what it means to speak truth to power.”
It’s all about stories that celebrate our nation’s heroes—from fighting in the poppy fields of Afghanistan to diffusing a bomb in the streets of Iraq.
Also: Bono & Aaron Sorkin will be there! We’re pretty psyched. So stay tuned, we’ll have more next week starting Wednesday, likely all found on a ‘Hero Summit’ tumblr tag.
[Major thanks to our sponsor, Jeep, which is helping us celebrate our nation’s heroes for their service. Visit their website to share your support.]
60 Years Ago, The Japanese Army Occupied The Western Aleutian Islands Of Alaska
Some powerful photo illustrations come with Foreign Policy’s stunning cover feature on the real war unfolding on women in the middle east, written by the awesome and oh-so-brave Egyptian revolutionary Mona Eltahawy. Read it.
Daily Pic: It’s that fire-orange light in the doorway at right, and the overcast blue glow outside, that make this photograph stand out. If André Liohn had taken it at any other moment, in any other light, it would be just another banal image of war. That it is not just another shot has now been confirmed, since it just helped Liohn win the Robert Capa Gold Medal of the Overseas Press Club of America. The photo ran in the May 9 issue of Newsweek’s international edition, and is from a portfolio titled “Almost Dawn in Libya,” made up of striking images shot by Liohn in the besieged city of Misrata before the fall of Muammar Gaddafi. For me, what matters in this particular image is the very special, very classical beauty of the light in the picture as a whole – and the fact that the fighters in it could never have acknowledged that there was anything but horror around them. The photo’s blues and oranges seem to echo some of the greatest Islamic ceramics. (Their famous blue glaze, at least, is right there in the tiling of the fountain in the shot.) And the siege of Misrata represents an attack on everything such cultural treasures stand for.
“Words are never enough … Words do not exist to make us see, or know, or feel what it is like, what actually happens,” is how editors of LIFE explained their controversial decision to run a photograph of three dead U.S. soldiers on a Papua New Guinea beach during World War II. This week, the Los Angeles Times had to offer a similar explanation for running a photograph of soldiers posing with the remains of an Afghanistan suicide bomber. In truth, these pictures are as old as the camera—and it wouldn’t hurt us to see more of them.
[Photo: George Strock / Getty Images]
Diane Von Furstenberg, Sheryl Sandberg and Tina Brown kick off The Daily Beast’s Women in the World summit @ Lincoln Center, with stories of girls around the world. #wiw12
First panel: forced marriage.
This was an amazing panel. We’ll have it up soon. But in the meantime you can watch on our Livestream, where Madeleine Albright and Charlie Rose will be talking about women and war.
Hint: It’s related to that persistently unidentified cluster munition used last year in the war in Libya. More soon on the NYT’s At War blog.
ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPH
Provided in recent days by John McFarlane, an EOD Technical Field Manager working in Libya for MAG, the mine-clearing NGO. More about John, and about his fresh set of field observations, will be on the blog, too.
It’s amazing how CJ is using the Web to identify curious munitions found on the ground in Libya. This is next level-type war reportage. FOLLOW HIM.
Slain reporter Marie Colvin’s last dispatch, posted to a Facebook group for conflict journalists and rights reporters. She was killed this morning in a mortar attack.