If we really saw war, what war does to young minds and bodies, it would be harder to embrace the myth of war.
In Peter van Agtmael’s “2nd Tour Hope I don’t Die” and Lori Grinker’s “Afterwar: Veterans From a World in Conflict,” two haunting books of war photographs, we see pictures of war which are almost always hidden from public view. These pictures are shadows, for only those who go to and suffer from war can fully confront the visceral horror of it, but they are at least an attempt to unmask war’s savagery.For those of us who have not been to war, who have not lived in a war zone, it is impossible to understand what it is like. We must take this into account when deciding whether our nation should go to war, and just as important, how to help those who are returning from war.
Another book I've just read and highly recommend to anyone who wants to have a better understanding of the experiences our soldiers face both in combat and when returning home is, "In Conflict: Iraq War Veterans Speak Out on Duty, Loss, and the Fight to Stay Alive"
Capturing the voice of men and women whose voices, surprisingly, are rarely heard in the din of discussion on this endlessly analyzed subject. They speak from veterans' hospitals, homes, army bases, and homeless shelters. While their viewpoints are as diverse as their backgrounds — some supportive, some opposing, some simply confused — "In Conflict" captures one thing these eloquent commentators share: all have been irrevocably changed by their experience.