Images Of War


A soldier reader (and Friend of the Dish) emails to point out this staggering photo-essay from the Afghan war:

For the past seven years, David Guttenfelder has witnessed and documented the changing landscape of Afghanistan. Guttenfelder is the chief Asia photographer for The Associated Press and over the past seven years has offered the general public a close-up, intimate look at the lives of troops fighting in the mountains and remote regions of Afghanistan.

The Dish has tried to pay regular tribute to the amazing photographic work being done by working photo-journalists today (that's one reason we set up the Face of the Day series). But the work of war photographers is especially important. Our great failure has been to keep these soldiers constantly in our public eye, to connect their sacrifice with our security, to weigh decisions of war and peace with them in front of us - not as abstract principles but as flesh-and-blood human beings. Yep: they're soldiers. This is what they do. They don't complain and we shouldn't molly-coddle them.

But that doesn't mean we should be unaware of the sacrifice.

One thing one takes from these images is the constant press of heat exhaustion. These soldiers are not merely fighting an entrenched, vicious and ubiquitous enemy; they are doing so in an extraordinarily tough environment. The stress and the heat and the lack of sleep and the exposure in an almost lunar landscape at times: these photos bring that alive. I suspect that Obama has become more and more aware of this. I would take my time before deciding to throw more thousands of young Americans into this vortex as well.

After the jump: the toll of heat exhaustion on one soldier in the wilderness: