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Outlook: An Iraq War Instant Saved, a Soldier Lost

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Warren Zinn
Former Photojournalist, Army Times
Monday, July 14, 2008; 12:00 PM

"The e-mail was a punch in the gut: 'the soldier you made famous -- killed himself last Saturday -- thought you should know.' ... Dwyer was dead of a substance overdose at 31. I'd read news reports that he was struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder. He thought he was being hunted by Iraqi killers. He'd been in and out of treatment. He couldn't, his mother told the media, 'get over the war.' But as I stared at his image on my wall, I couldn't dodge the question: Did this photo have anything to do with his death? News reports said that he hated the celebrity that came with the picture. How much, I wondered, did that moment -- just 1/250th of a second when three lives intersected on a river bank in Iraq -- contribute to the burdens he'd brought home with him?"

This Story

Warren Zinn, who covered Afghanistan and Iraq as a photojournalist for the Army Times from January 2002 to December 2003, was online Monday, July 14 at noon ET to discuss his Outlook article on the story behind his famous photo from Iraq, and the way its subject's death transformed it for him.

The transcript follows.

Archive: Transcripts of discussions with Outlook article authors

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Warren Zinn: Thank you for everyone who showed up for this chat. Please feel free to ask anything you would like, I will be more than happy to address any issues you might have. Also I apologize in advance for my spelling! I am not that great a speller, and this program doesn't have spell check.

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Miami: Why didn't U.S. military doctors take care of this child?

Warren Zinn: This question has been asked a few times on the comments about the article. The military was rendering aid to the child and then a Red Crescent ambulance showed up and took the family away. In fact, in one of the e-mails I exchanged with Dwyer, we both expressed regret that the child leaving the care of the U.S. military was probably the worst thing that could have happened

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Haverhill, Mass.: I don't believe the picture that was taken by Warren Zinn had anything do with Dwyer death; I think its shows the compassion that our solider have. As a military veteran of 30 years, I'm deeply saddened by his death.

Warren Zinn: Thank you very much for this comment. I think that is what the piece was meant to show, as well as that in the end the photo is not what led to Joseph's death. It was what he saw over there, and his inability to cope with it over here.

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Arlington, Va.: How does your experience in the heat of battle affect your law-school studies?

Warren Zinn: It's funny, when I first got to law school, many of the students were much younger -- straight out of college. Law school professors love to use the Socratic method where they stand you up in front of the class and grill you about topics. Most students are scared out of their minds by this, but being in Iraq and Afghanistan put it all in perspective. It wasn't such a big deal to get called on -- worst thing that can happen in the safety of a classroom is that you are embarrassed. Worst thing that can happen out in the field is a lot worse!

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Washington: Mr Zinn, I really don't have a question at this time. The photograph you took is famous -- we have an enlarged, framed copy of it where I work. In fact, there are several. I am a physician at Walter Reed Army Center. That photograph exemplifies the best in all our medics -- we have the best medics in the world, and I am proud of them and proud to work with them. You did not cause this young man's death, nor is he the only one who chose to end his life as he did.

That is an unfortunate reality of war, the deaths that are not counted in the official death toll. So many of our men and women are walking wounded. They refuse the help they are offered and deny that they have a problem. We are trying very hard to change this culture of denial, but it is an uphill battle, most unfortunately. I think every time a warrior's "story" is told, it helps both them and someone else. Thank you for telling us your story, and a little bit about Joesph's.

Warren Zinn: Thank you for the nice comment. I agree, the medics -- as all of the soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines out there -- truly do a tremendous job.

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La Porte, Texas: With the insurance privates receive, why wasn't he able to get medical help? It seems that, because they fought in war, they should be able to get psychological therapy as soon as they are relieved of their duties.

Warren Zinn: I don't really know the answer to this question -- however, I did speak with an Army psychiatrist who used to be at Walter Reed, and one of the things he told me was that a big problem is that much of post-traumatic stress disorder can be delayed-onset. When the soldiers come home they are screened about any symptoms, but those symptoms might not appear for months/years.

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Herndon, Va.: Can you provide a link to the other picture you mention from BWI Airport?

Warren Zinn: The other photograph I mention from BWI Airport is on my Web site. The image after it I also really like -- I think both pictures are better photographic images than the shot of Dwyer.

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Arlington, Va.: Do you think enough is being done to treat PTSD? This soldier is just one of what seems like thousands who need our assistance. My friend works as a therapist for the Army, and in her office alone there are many PTSD cases, and the number is rising weekly. What is a good solution?

Warren Zinn: I don't know the answer to this. I think there needs to be better training in preparation for the return. Soldiers are trained to go to war, not come home from war. As a result, I think there are tremendous amounts of PTSD cases walking around that are going untreated. Also, the sheer numbers of troops going back and forth overseas creates a problem with diagnosing.

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Myrtle Beach, S.C.: This was a beautiful story, so well-written. I do remember the story in 2003, and at that time was touched by it. Even today I am touched with sadness and thankfulness and many other feelings. Any time one is feeling low they should consider what are soldier are going through for our country. Many never will receive the honor they deserve. Thanks.

Warren Zinn: Thank you for your comments.

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Anonymous: Hi. Didn't we see the same picture following the Oklahoma City bombing and experience the same pain when the fireman who rescued a child eventually killed himself? Is it the publicity, the trauma of the entire experience, or other causes? Does this tragedy also occur without the publicity, and we just don't learn about it?

Warren Zinn: A very similar shot. I do not know what happened to the fireman in that photo; if he did kill himself, that is tragic. I think it is more than the image that does it, it is what happens leading up to that image -- what the subject saw before and after that image was captured.

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Miami: Hi Warren. Your op-ed was very moving. I was wondering if you plan to do any photojournalistic work in the future. Also, are your photos (other than the ones used for this story) available on the Web?

Warren Zinn: No more photojournalism in the future for me. I think my parents would disown me at that point. Other pictures from that day are on my Web site.

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Washington: Mr. Zinn, I read the comment which you wrote, letting the cementers on your article's discussion board know that you were reading the comments. Please forgive the cruel and ignorant comments that were posted. I wish I could say "forgive them, for they do not know what they do," but I can't. My anger burns deeply within me at the people who do not understand or support the military, much less the hearts and minds of a warrior. Please know that among the cementers, you had supporters. Your article was heartrending to read and absorb, but it was a story that needed to be told, and I appreciate that you told it. I am quite sure it was difficult for you to tell it. Thank you.

Warren Zinn: Thank you very much. Yeah, the funny thing is that I received more than a hundred e-mails, and almost all were positive, yet the commenters were not as much. I guess it is easier to anonymously scribble harsh words than to eloquently compose a letter to someone.

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Anonymous: How is it possible, five years after the attack on Iraq, to write without your comment to the reality? At the time, it represented hope -- hope that what we were doing as a nation in Iraq was the right thing, hope that our soldiers were helping people, hope that soldiers such as Joseph cared more about human life than anything else.

Warren Zinn: This piece is not meant to be about the decision to go to war. This piece accepts the facts as they are -- that we are in war and that the soldiers are affected by it. I did not seek to write a policy piece about United States foreign relations, to use a military term that is well outside my pay grade. Those discussions are important, though -- I just don't think the article I was writing was the forum for them.

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Albany, N.Y.: I have two co-workers who served in Iraq; one recently revealed to all of us that he is being treated for PTSD, and I suspect the other was or is as well. My brother-in-law is serving with the New York National Guard in Afghanistan, and I worry for him and his young daughters. What statistics are there available on how many of our soldiers are diagnosed with PTSD? How many are treated and how many succumb to the trauma?

Warren Zinn: I don't know, but here is a link to the National Center for PTSD.

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Silver Spring, Md.: Hi Warren. Your photograph and story definitely caught my eye and interest in yesterday's Washington Post. Thanks for sharing your story about how a click of the shutter can make a lasting impression, whether for the photographer, the viewer or in your case the subject. I can recall one such famous war photographer who has been much-discussed for the moment he clicked the shutter -- Eddie Adams' photograph of Nguyen Ngoc Loan executing Nguyen Van Lem on Feb. 1, 1968.

I was a photojournalist for 20 years with the Labor Movement in the U.S. I wanted to have one "famous" photograph that would be forever remembered, but deep down I was afraid of what it would be. Could I live with that shot for the rest of my life? Would I have to make a decision to click the shutter or "save a life"? I may have come close to that one photograph, but nothing is like war and combat. I think that your photograph is a great one. If anything, it shows strength, courage and hope. What happened, happened ... you did what a true photojournalist is trained to do. Take care.

Warren Zinn: Thank you, though I shudder to even think that my image would be referenced in the same comment as Eddie Adam's image. That truly was an iconic image that forever will be embedded in the mind's of Americans.

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Southwest Washington: Warren, I certainly hope you hold no guilt over Joseph Dwyer's passing. The picture spoke volumes, just like that one of the firefighter holding the little girl (Baylee?) from the Oklahoma City bombing. Photographs are memories -- some good, some bad, some great -- and memories (hopefully) are what sustain us all. A well-written article, and I wish you good luck in all that you do.

Warren Zinn: Thank you for the comment, I appreciate it.

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Washington: Mr. Zinn, are you planning to practice a specific type of law -- for example, military law and working in the Judge Advocate General's office? Did your experience being embedded with a combat team influence your decision to study law, or the area in which you are planning to practice?

Warren Zinn: A couple of people asked about this. I don't think I am going to work for JAG, though I have to write a paper right now for graduation and I am working on a topic involving the Uniform Code of Military Justice and whether in times of conflict it can be applied to embedded journalists. So if there are any JAG reading this, please send me an e-mail -- I need help on the research!

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Crescent City, Fla.: I was in Iraq for the invasion in the 3rd Infantry Division as a medic. I really appreciate the article about Joseph. It was succinct and really touched on the reality of the lives of the soldiers who have served in war. It is not something that I like to talk about, but fortunately I am not bothered as much as other soldiers. I have friends that are suffering from the affects of PTSD and cannot function well in the civilian world.

I have been very fortunate in my life and service overseas -- I saw terrible wounds, and will never forget the civilians I met and treated. I also never will forget the constant fear that was always with me when I was in uniform in the desert. The only things that now bother me are the sudden loud noises that sound like gunshots -- fireworks and cars backfiring. I am able to function and can reason through the noises, whereas some of my friends cannot. Thank you for presenting the story of Joseph -- maybe it will remind others of the high cost of the war on the ones who have survived and returned to civilian life who are unable to leave the war in Iraq.

Warren Zinn: Thank you for your service and comments. I hope that your friends who are suffering are getting the help that they need. I think that is also one of the unfortunate effects of the "warrior culture" of the military -- it isn't always accepted to seek mental health help. I hope that the military now or soon ingrains this in the training as much as any other topic.

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Coral Gables, Fla.: Hi Warren. Have you had any direct contact with the soldier's family?

Warren Zinn: I have spoken with the family a few times in the past week; all have been very positive conversations. His mother called me yesterday and let me know that she read the piece and enjoyed it and hoped that this news cycle would last more than a week and continue to bring attention to the issue of the wounded warriors coming home.

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Washington : Do you ever wish you could go back and take more photos?

Warren Zinn: I do, but I think I am happy where I am at. I had a good run, saw some amazing things, watched two governments replaced, was at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Sept. 11, and I think it is just time to move on with the next part of my life.

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Fairfax, Va.: This was a very moving article, with a touching photo. It seems to me that you and Dwyer had a connection, and that you were a link to that particular point in time in Iraq. Hopefully the military will work to decrease the stigma of mental illness and better address those who truly need help. Your article was fantastic and I wish you much success in law school. Any idea what you want to do with your degree? By the way, I believe the Oklahoma City fireman is still alive and well...

Warren Zinn: Thank you. I agree, the stigma of mental health and mental illness needs to be changed. Until that happens, there will be many more Dwyers.

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Detroit: Thank you for your moving and poignant article. It brought tears to my eyes and hopefully will bring attention to what needs to be done to help returning vets with PTSD.

Warren Zinn: Thank you.

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Lyme, Conn.: I do hope you will not consider blaming yourself. The emotional distress of returning veterans is a complex issue. Some have faced more days of combat or potential engagement with an enemy than other soldiers of other wars. This is a stressful war, as the enemy does not wear a uniform and engage in defined battle. I am sure the whole experience causes any emotional distress, and not a particular noninjury event. If anything, you gave this soldier moments of recognition in a job where few realize the extent of that with which they are coping. Thank you for your photograph.

Warren Zinn: Thank you. Yes, that was one of the big things when I was with the Cavalry -- the fighters attacking them were not wearing uniforms. In fact, before this photo was taken they were hiding behind the village, launching attacks at the Cav. This then lead to the bombing which hurt the boy.

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Arlington, Va.: Your pictures are wonderful. Why do you think so few have been published? Your pictures humanize the war ... they are special.

Warren Zinn: Thank you very much, though many of them were published all over the world.

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Washington: Mr. Zinn -- great article. I was wondering what you plan on doing with your law degree. Are there any plans for you to potentially advocate for soldiers and/or for better access to mental health services? Seems like although Joseph Dwyer's death now reminds you of the great suffering that our soldiers go through, it could also be an opportunity for you to help them in a different way. After the Walter Reed story ( Washington Post series) last year, I imagine it's growing obvious how much psychological support our soldiers need when they return to the states. What do you think you can do as a civilian or a lawyer to advocate for these brave men and women?

Warren Zinn: I think that any attorney is in the unique position to be able to advocate on behalf of those who can not advocate for themselves. The military constitutes a very large group of people who can not advocate for themselves -- not because they don't have the ability to, but because the rules prevent them from doing so. Soldiers are not in a position to question their leaders. Thus, attorneys -- or the general public as a whole -- must advocate on their behalf.

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Cary, N.C.: You did not mention who wounded the Iraqi child. If it was our troops, then your picture does not inspire hope -- only a disgust with the inhumanity and absurdity of war.

Warren Zinn: I did. The fighters were using the village from which to launch attacks; the military responded by trying to suppress the fighters' attacks, and inadvertently injured the boy. The military did not choose to attack that village -- the fighters chose to use that village as cover. What choice does a commander have who is watching his soldiers getting shelled by enemy attacks?

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Baltimore: I was just looking at the photos on your Web page, and I have a question about this one: http://warrenzinn.com/fun.php4?myimg=7 Where is this?

Warren Zinn: That photo is the famous parade grounds in Baghdad. Saddam had that commissioned, and the hands actually are modeled after his own hands. The helmets were taken from dead Iranian soldiers. If you look carefully, some have bullet hole in them. The street also has the helmets molded into the asphalt like little speed bumps.

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Alexandria, Va.: The job of the military is to win wars by overpowering. We train the best killers in the world, but they are folks like you, me and my brother currently in Iraq, and of course J. Dwyer. We are not psychopaths -- we can be trained to morally kill another human being -- but more emphasis needs to be placed on what causing and seeing death does to otherwise normal people. Great photos by the way -- thank you.

Warren Zinn: I agree -- as I said before, the military trains soldiers to to go war, not to come home from war.

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Washington: Hi Warren. I really enjoyed your piece -- it was extremely well-written and very moving, and was a story that needed to be told. The photo is, of course, wonderful and moving too. I was really surprised to read that you left journalism to go to law school. Can you explain that choice? (I'm a new reporter myself, so there is some self-interest here.)

Warren Zinn: I was supposed to go back to Iraq for my third trip and just decided that I had enough. Too many people were getting killed, and it was just too risky. I moved back to Miami. I always wanted to go to law school -- I had applied in 2000 and never ended up going -- so a few years back I applied, was accepted and haven't look back since.

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Manassas, Va.: Hi Warren. You didn't kill Joseph Dwyer -- you did your job well and so did Joseph. Those of us in public affairs wanted to show the great compassion of U.S. soldiers, just as you did. I agree with your statement that "U.S. soldiers perform courageous deeds daily, deeds that go undocumented -- and unrecognized ... if a camera could follow U.S. soldiers in action around the clock, newspapers would be flooded with images of their valiant actions."

I wish that U.S. newspapers would invest more in good overseas photojournalism, although I know the industry is tanking and overseas bureaus are the first to go. You were one of many of a great corps of photographers embedded with 3rd Infantry Division, along with Pulitzer winner David Leeson of the Dallas Morning News, John Moore of the Associated Press, Jack Gruber with Gannett, Nuccio DiNuzzo of the Chicago Tribune, David Gilkey with Knight-Ridder, John Carrington of the Savannah Morning News and photographers from the Orlando Sun-Sentinel and Agence France-Presse whose names escape me right now. You folks accurately chronicled the horrors and the heroes.

Warren Zinn: Thank you very much. I actually hung out with most of those guys in Kuwait before the war, and you are correct -- they are all great shooters, much better than I ever was.

Also, I do think overseas coverage is suffering right now -- the budgets are being cut, and it is very expensive to have a photographer overseas, especially if you are not embedded.

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New York: Your picture has been called the iconic picture of the war and has been compared to the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima. How do you feel when you hear a statement like that?

Warren Zinn: Embarrassed. The image is not even close -- Rosenthal's shot is on a different level.

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Rockville, Md.: Hello Mr. Zinn. I was very touched by your photo and the article you wrote. I remember when the photo first ran in the media. You captured the compassionate side of our servicemen and women. I think it's important that we see that side. I also think that you have opened up an important aspect of the casualties of war. My heart goes out to Dwyer's family. I hope that your article will remind people that we need to do all we can to care for our servicemen and women when they return from war. Thank you for all you've done to bring this to our attention.

Warren Zinn: Thank you.

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Bethesda, Md.: Warren, has it ever occurred to you or to The Washington Post that the most significant message from Joseph Dwyer was neither the heroism nor fame he attained from your photograph, but the sufferings and horrors of war, as conveyed by the tragedy of his own life? In my view, his sacrifice(s) should live on once again; and your photograph of Joseph Dwyer again should be featured on the front page of this paper.

There are literally hundreds of thousands of U.S. soldiers who are suffering or will suffer PTSD from this war. Dwyer's death remains the ultimate sacrifice -- for his "buddies" and for his country -- to fight aggressively for them against this "inner" war call PTSD. Rest in peace, Joseph Dwyer. And to his family and friends, I wish to convey my deepest condolences for their loss. But I also wish to share my profound appreciation for his heroic service, then and now.

Warren Zinn: It did occur to me -- that was the one of the main points of the story. Maybe I didn't do a good enough job conveying that, but that is the point that I was trying to make.

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Arlington, Va.: Sorry for the technical question, but what did you shoot with (frame/lens)? Were you embedded? Were you wearing a matching uniform to blend in?

Warren Zinn: Shot with a Nikon D1 80-200 f2.8 lens. At that point in the war we were wearing the chem warfare suits, which were camouflage, and then I had a bulletproof vest over that. I never wore a uniform, though -- always dressed in muted colors, but never a uniform. I was embedded for the first trip, and the second time I was unilateral. I drove with the reporter I was with, Christian Lowe, from Tel Aviv to Baghdad.

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Herndon, Va.: Has the story of Joseph Dwyer changed your view of war?

Warren Zinn: I don't know that it change my view of the war at all. All wars do awful things to people; some wars are necessary and some are not. Who knows where this war falls in that spectrum? iI's not for me to say, that is for our presidential candidates. But what it did change for me was the view of those who come home from war, the injured soldiers who are flooding our VA hospitals. When the ticker goes by on CNN and lists the number of killed soldiers. I am way more conscious of that after going to Iraq.

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Washington: How do you think that photojournalists better can get the message across of what is happening in the war?

Warren Zinn: By encouraging American's to tell their newspaper editors that they can handle seeing the truth. American's are afraid of seeing gruesome images. We write letters to the editor if there are gory images in our newspaper that upset us when we have our morning juice and toast. Photojournalists send back thousands of images that never make the cut, because people are not comfortable seeing those images. This picture (gory, so don't click if you don't want to see it) doesn't show up in newspapers...

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Harrisburg, Pa.: As a former reporter/photographer, I was struck by your reference that the camera shields the photographer from what was going on at the moment. That may be true, but it doesn't shield you from the reality of what is happening. The magnitude of what you saw through the viewfinder may not be evident at that moment, but it will at some point. Members of the media like to think they are detached observers, but in those circumstances, that is impossible. You are still human, you still react and still feel. Your photo showed the world the reality of that moment, and you should be thanked for that.

Warren Zinn: I agree, and that is exactly what I went on to say -- that the camera has a big hole in it right where your eye goes, and you see right through that shield. Also, it does not shield smells or sounds.

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Washington: Mr. Zinn, I thought your article was extremely touching. In reading it I found it very courageous that you went back to find the little boy in the photo. It also got me thinking about how hard it must be to make a picture that says so much and most likely affects you just a much as any viewer. I wondered, as a war photojournalist, how you dealt with this, and whether you found yourself wondering about all the individuals whose lives and service you captured during your time in Iraq and Afghanistan? Also I just wanted to thank you for your expression of respect for the men and women in service. We often forget how important it is to recognize these individuals who are fighting for our country and our freedom.

Warren Zinn: Thank you. Yes, I do wonder about the subjects, and it is great to get random e-mails every couple of months from someone who I photographed or who is affected by my photographs. Also, my respect and appreciation for those who serve could not be greater -- even those who are not deployed overseas do unbelievable work. Just go visit any machine shop on any army base at 7 a.m., and you will see soldiers who have been at work for two hours, after doing PT at 5 a.m. They will stay late into the night and work weekends to get their job done. No overtime, no glory, just hard work and a sense of pride in what they do.

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Washington: I wrote a statement earlier, I am the physician at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. I have PTSD -- a pretty severe case of it. My life has been very disrupted by it. I have sought help, which I liberally receive, and I take liberal amounts of prescribed medications -- never anything more than prescribed, I might add. I speak frequently about what it's like to have PTSD and live with it. Ironically, I started out wanting to be a psychiatrist, and then changed my mind and specialty. Sometimes I wish I'd stuck with psychiatry, especially with the severe shortage we have.

PTSD is no fun to have. I have more trouble with anxiety and sleep disturbances versus the depression -- depression is not an issue for me at all anymore, although it was initially. In addition to my primary PTSD, there is the secondary PTSD from taking care of grievously wounded warriors every day I work. I assume every warrior who has been deployed has PTSD until proven otherwise. I can't honestly say every coworker of mine agrees with me.

We are becoming better at recognizing PTSD and we're still working on finding the best ways to treat it effectively and better. Getting warriors to come forward and admit they are having problems is the hardest part. The help is there for them, but they are denying they have a problem and refusing the help that is offered. We still have a long way to go to change the military mindset and culture about PTSD. We're making inroads, but I feel we still have a long way to go before we arrive at anything near a solution. Keep telling your story -- every story told helps the cause.

Warren Zinn: Thank you for your work at Walter Reed, and hopefully you can help others who also suffer with PTSD.

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Portland, Maine: In your article it said you were in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Can you describe some of the differences between our forces in each of those places, how were things handles differently?

Warren Zinn: The forces in both places were the same, the same U.S. troops that you get to know anywhere in the world. In terms of how things were handled, the battlefield in Afghanistan was different, the terrain is different and as such the operations are different. It's more mechanized in Iraq and more air-based in Afghanistan (at least when I was there). Many of the battlefields in Afghanistan are remote mountain areas, while Iraq is villages infused with fighters.

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Washington: I imagine making a choice to go over to these war zones not one but twice was incredibly difficult for you. Did your parents support you in this venture, and did they and the rest of your family have an effect on your decision not to go back again?

Warren Zinn: My parents and family did support me, though they were very happy when I decided to no longer go over there anymore. Hi, mom and dad.

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Delray Beach, Fla.: Warren, the photo you took captured the "human" side of the war that is often forgotten. Though fame came for this soldier without his request, you were able to share not only this touching moment, but hundreds of others. I am sorry that you are being haunted by that moment on the riverbed, but please know that you are an American Hero -- you risked your safety to capture images just like this one for the world to see, and for that I and my family are grateful.

Thank you for being there and taking this photo for the world. I hope you find peace and comfort in knowing that what you did was noble. You are not the photographer that we compare to paparazzi -- you are a photographer who is to be compared with famous artists and historians.

Warren Zinn: Thank you for the kind words, though I don't know about the last line -- there are way better photographers out there doing a much better job than I ever could do/did. Go look at some work by James Nachtwey or any one of The Washington Post's photographers. Those photographers are on a different level.

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Boston: Warren, Beard here. This photo brings back a lot of memories. For those of us that were in 3-7 CAV in 2003, this photo reminds us of so many things. I've yet to run into anything remotely as difficult as that year of my life. It's is a shame Pfc. Dwyer never made it back. Drop me a line and we'll catch up.

Warren Zinn: For those who don't know this writer, I spent two months of the war riding with him in his truck, eating food from care packages his wife sent from home and sitting side-by-side transmitting most of my images back home.

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Manassas, Va.: Warren -- wasn't Joseph a late attachment from Fort Bliss? It must have been tough having to return to a post by himself where there was little shared experience at that point with his fellow soldiers.

Warren Zinn: Yeah, he was a late attachment I think -- that is an interesting point you make about returning home without a large group to share his experiences with.

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Arlington, Va.: Do you know where Dwyer was buried? Did he have a family (wife/kids)?

Warren Zinn: I think Pinehurst, N.C. Mother, father, wife and child.

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Washington: As an embedded photojournalist you saw many things. Is there something that you would like to tell about?

Warren Zinn: Wow where to begin. I am thankful for all of the things I saw, good, bad or ugly. I saw a presidential inauguration, Sept. 11 at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Afghanistan, Iraq and of course Michigan winning their first national championship in 50 years. Each was an amazing event in its own right, and it was truly special to document them all.

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Baltimore: If you get a break from all of that free time at law school (wink), you should slap some captions on the shots on your Web site. Nice work.

Warren Zinn: Thank you. That is a big if!

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Portland, Ore.: Has your view of the war changed in the past five years? How did your two trips to Iraq shape that view?

Warren Zinn: In terms of the war, I prefer not to comment on the choice to go/whether we should stay, etc. ... I can say though that Gen Petraeus is probably the best person to have in charge. He provided the model for how the postwar was supposed to go with his 101st Airborne in Mosul. Hopefully he can do the same with the entire nation of Iraq.

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Warren Zinn: Thank you all for your comments. I really enjoyed this chat. Please feel free to contact me at photo@warrenzinn.com with any further comments.

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