I've been to Afghanistan eight times in the last 18 months. My apartment is slowly taking on the look of a caravanserai. I have more friends in Kabul than Manhattan. My mind is full of snippets of Dari, counterinsurgency strategy and half-remembered warlords, major and minor. My son – not yet quite born – will have a Pashto middle name. I make no claims to being an expert on the place but, God knows, I seem to love it.
Lucian Read, from Digital Journalist:
The battalion and company limped out of Fallujah heroes–a fistful of Bronze Stars, a Navy Cross. That Navy Cross was one of only eight since the war began. If the First Sergeant who earned it had died they probably would have given him The Medal. I took the photo that helped to bring him the recognition. In the image, two young Marines carry a grim older Marine from a house, his arms around their shoulders, lap and legs covered in blood, pistol still at the ready as he nearly bleeds to death. He saved Nicoll’s life when he took the blast from the grenade. Then he gave up his tourniquet as he bled from 50 places. Books have been, are being written about it. The picture is now on posters wherever two or three Marines gather together, an example for generations of Marines to come.
To the Marines, I am that guy who took that picture. A year and a half later, my pictures of these same Marines run under the words “shame, massacre, bloodbath.”