War Is Personal.
Photographs by Eugene Richards.
University Of Texas Press, 2010. Cat# UT167 ISBN-13: 978-0292704411
It was 2006; the war in Iraq was in its fourth year. No weapons of mass destruction had been found. There were reports of tens of thousands of dead and injured Iraqis, of more than 2,000 dead American soldiers, of rising rates of depression and suicide among American military personnel. All the while Congress and the media debated what the conflict was costing America in image and treasure, the president in popularity. Troubled by the public’s growing indifference to the tragedy of Iraq and critical of my own inaction, I set out on what would be a years-long journey to document the lives of Americans who’d been profoundly affected by the war.
Carlos Arredondo is a broken man, a man who can’t help but blame himself for the death of his Marine son; Tomas Young, a paralyzed veteran full of rage; Kimberly Rivera, an aggrieved soldier who, instead of returning to Iraq, makes the fateful decision to defect to Canada; Michael Harmon, a combat veteran who has come home, but to a place he feels he no longer belongs; Nelida Bagley, a fiercely protective mother still clinging to the belief that her brain-injured son can be healed, isn’t gone from her forever.
War Is Personal is a study of lives in upheaval, a chronicle of greatly differing experiences and perceptions of what it means to go to war, to wait, to mourn, to remember, to live on when those that you love are gone.