Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

War Deserves a Midlife Crisis

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

War Deserves a Midlife Crisis

Article excerpt

There's no cure for the pettier aspects of midlife crisis than picking up a newspaper with a cover photo of a man in T-shirt, shorts--but with one leg only, the other a skinny metal pole planted in a sneaker.

Yesterday I worried about extra pounds and gray hairs. Today I sifted through alternative weeklies at a neighborhood cafe. On the cover of me Albuquerque, N.M.-based Crosswinds Weekly was a photograph of Pfc. Tristan Wyatt, of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment.

The 21-year-old lost his leg in a fire fight in Fallujah. He clings to a rail, apparently learning to walk again. The photograph was taken at Walter Reed Military Hospital by Nina Berman, one of many such photos in her new book, Purple Hearts: Back from Iraq (Trolley Books).

The newsweekly included more of Berman's images: a 21-year-old who lost his sight and a leg during a munitions disposal operation; a 20-year-old who lost his right hand and the use of a leg when a grenade was thrown into his Humvee, and another who was badly burned when his Humvee hit a land mine.

The body, the temple of the spirit. Recently Amy Goodman on "Democracy Now" reported that white phosphorus was being dropped on Fallujah. Reports are coming in about Iraqis whose skin is melting off of them, she said. This sacrilege was perpetrated by a president who can't seem to get enough of his Jesus Christ, the "philosopher" he once said had most influenced him. The crime occurred in the city known not for its weapons of mass destruction but for its mosques. …

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