March 19, 2013

Somodevilla’s Haunting Iraq War Anniversary Photo from Arlington


This is the most visceral photo I saw yesterday, taken on the tenth anniversary of the start of the Iraq War.  Here’s the caption:

Headstones are reflected in a photograph that is leaning against the headstone for Iraq war casualty U.S. Army Master Sgt. Tulsa Tulaga Tuliau on the 10th anniversary of the beginning of the war in Iraq at Arlington National Cemetery March 19, 2013 in Arlington, Virginia. Tuliau was killed when an improvised explosive device detonated near his Humvee during combat operations near Rustimayah, Iraq on September 26, 2005.

If atypical for a wire image, what’s completely fitting for this photo of a photo is that we have no idea who these guys are — or if Tuliau is even in the picture. What Getty’s Chip Somodevilla captures in the most liminal way (no retouching, no funny filters) is that Iraq was a ghost war … and now, ten years down the road, so many of its vets are too.

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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